Nintendo / Nintendo EPD Tokyo
Switch, 3DS, Wii U (Switch version reviewed)
Visit Nintendo Life for my review of the 3DS version!
By this point, the intros for reviews of Switch games like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker write themselves.
“Despite the Wii U’s poor sales,” they begin, “it continues to offer a fruitful source of material for new Switch releases.”
They then list a load of other Switch games that are ports of Wii U titles, along with links so you can read those reviews too and get the site more hits.
You know: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Bayonetta 1 & 2, Pokken Tournament DX… that sort of thing.
Captain Toad is the latest in this now tried and tested process, and it’s proof that if it still isn’t broken there should be no attempts made to fix it just yet.
For those who missed out on it back in 2014, Captain Toad is a puzzle platformer based on the fun Adventures of Captain Toad bonus stages in Super Mario 3D World (another game that could do with a Switch re-release, incidentally).
Over the course of around 80 stages – 79, if you want to get picky – the aim is to guide Captain Toad (or sometimes Toadette) around, collecting diamonds and coins before finding and grabbing the star at the end.
This is one of those games where the difficulty depends on how fully and comprehensively you want to complete each stage. Simply collecting the star at the end is enough to consider the level ‘beaten’ so you can move on to the next, but getting the three hidden diamonds is a little trickier.
Each stage also has a unique optional challenge to make things a little more interesting: this could involve something general like finding a secret gold mushroom or killing all the enemies on a stage, or could be more stage-specific tasks like beating a level without triggering its collapsing bridge, or doing it by interacting with the scenery a limited number of times.
Speaking of which (that’s a segue and a half), Captain Toad lets you physically manipulate enemies and certain parts of the stage. Wheels can be turned, platforms can be moved, Piranha Plants can be forced to recoil back, Thwomps can be stunned in place and so forth.
The Wii U version of the game handled this with the touch screen on the GamePad, and when playing the Switch version in handheld mode it’s pretty much the same process: simply tap the screen where you want to interact with it. It works as well as you’d hope, and the world is all the better for it.
It’s when you’re playing docked that things start to feel a little less intuitive. Because you can’t exactly be smearing your Nando’s-soaked fingers on your 52” telly, the game instead makes use of motion controls, with either your Joy-Con or Pro Controller’s accelerometer used to control a pointer on the screen.
It’s a decent enough solution to the problem, but certainly nowhere near as straightforward as just tapping the screen, and as such you may have a few situations where quick tapping is needed and playing docked is a little more difficult as a result.
The only other major change here is the addition of four new stages based on Super Mario Odyssey. These can be unlocked through normal gameplay or you can get them right away if you scan one of the wedding amiibo released for Odyssey.
They consist of two standard stages set in the Sand Kingdom and Metro Kingdom, as well as a mine cart ride set in the Cascade Kingdom and a boss fight set in the Luncheon Kingdom.
They’re a nice little touch and should keep you entertained for a good half-hour, but bear in mind that they replace the four Super Mario 3D World themed levels that were in the Wii U version, so if you own that and were thinking of trading it in for whatever reason you might want to make sure you’ve had your fill with those stages first because they aren’t in here.
And that’s it, really. If you’re one of the roughly 1.4 million people who bought Captain Toad on the Wii U you may want to have a long think about whether to make the switch to Switch: since it has fewer additions than most of the other Wii U ports – a few new stages and a native resolution of 1080p instead of 720p are about it – it’s practically a case of buying the same game again.
No, this Switch version is clearly aimed at those who missed out on Captain Toad the first time around. If that’s you, then there’s no better time to fill your boots: even four years later it remains an absolutely charming adventure and one that’s still a treat to play.
In particular, it’s a real joy in handheld mode, with the Switch touch screen complementing it well and its short stages proving perfect for little 5-minute bursts in bed.
Get your mind out of the gutter, you know what I meant.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is out on Switch and 3DS on 13 July for £34.99 / $39.99. You can also buy the physical version for £34.99 (at the time of writing) from Amazon UK.
In order that I could write this review, I received a free copy of the game from Nintendo. The content of my review and the opinions therein were in no way positively influenced by this.
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Check out my review of the 3DS version over at Nintendo Life.
Looks like a great time to play in short bursts. I had never even heard of the WiiU version until the remakes were announced, but I loved the demo. The whole premise is really cool and seems super relaxing to enjoy at the end of the day. In particular, handheld mode feels the most appropriate for some reason – maybe because you’re tracking by looking at a map, it feels more natural to hold the Switch in your hands? I don’t know! But I’m looking forward to trying this one for the first time. 🙂