Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a family-friendly puzzle-platformer for Nintendo Wii U. The game stars Captain Toad and Toadette, two enterprising mushroom people from the universe of the Super Mario games. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is fantastic. Though it’s a single-player game, I cannot recommend it enough for your next family game night.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is broken up into three main “episodes.” At the beginning of episode one, Captain Toad and Toadette are exploring the wilderness and collecting treasure when suddenly a giant bird called Wingo comes and snatches a golden Power Star from right in front of them. Toadette grabs the star and is carried away by Wingo. Toad must then complete a series of puzzles, all the while chasing after Wingo, in order to rescue his companion.
This may sound like your standard Nintendo fare: girl is kidnapped, boy rescues girl. However, something cool happens after the end of episode one. After Toad has rescued his companion, the two are once again seeking treasure when Wingo returns. This time, Wingo kidnaps Toad. Now, Toadette must rescue him.
I wouldn’t call Toadette a paragon of strong female protagonists, but I see this game as a pleasant step forward for Nintendo, which has always been a bit old-fashioned in terms of gender roles.
In any case, the story has a relatively small impact on the player’s experience; Toad and Toadette are functionally identical.
This is where Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker really shines.
The goal of each level is to collect the Power Star. In order to find the star, the player has to move platforms, traverse bridges, battle enemies, and more. Above all, the game relies on perspective. Using the GamePad, the player must constantly alter the angle of the camera in order to figure out where to go next. It’s kind of like looking at a diorama. You need to see each level from every angle if you want to find all it has to offer.
Reaching the star is never too tricky. If you fail a level multiple times in a row, the game will even make things easier for you by giving you an invincibility mushroom, which (should you choose to accept it) makes you impervious to attack. It’s a great way to help out beginners without holding back the more advanced players.
In addition to a star, each level has three hidden Super Gems and a bonus challenge, which varies from level to level. This not only makes Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker really fun to replay, it also creates yet another way for advanced players to have fun without forcing beginners to struggle.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a single-player game; however, I had fun taking turns on the GamePad with my friends. Those who weren’t playing could shout solutions at the screen, and overall it was an incredibly fun and cooperative experience.
I could also play the game pretty easily on just my GamePad if someone else wanted to use the TV for a movie, though it was nice to have both screens. The GamePad’s features were incorporated really well into the basic game mechanics. I could blow on the microphone to make panels slide around, I could tap on blocks to make them move, I could swipe across hidden coins to make them appear, and I could spin wheels to make sections of the level rotate.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is rated E for Mild Cartoon Violence. There are numerous cartoonish bad guys throughout who can be defeated by being squished, thrown, or bonked on the head with a turnip or a bright blue pickax. Captain Toad and Toadette do occasionally make sounds of fear or or surprise, but these sounds aren’t frightening. The game’s violence is all incredibly mild.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is super fun. With incredibly clever puzzles, an adorably family-friendly exterior, and a ton of bonus collectables, it’s a must-have for any family with a Wii U.