With our puzzle powers combined, we are Captain Toad!
Captain Toad is an anomaly. A full-on retail puzzle game delivered by Nintendo on the heels of the busiest time of the year. Yes, it is a full retail disc, yes it is selling for $40, but once I dove into Captain Toad’s world I was amazed at how much content is really there. The core game can be powered through in a handful of hours, but like most Nintendo games the end-game content is some of the most challenging and satisfying puzzle game play I have experienced in ages. Don’t write off Captain Toad and risk missing out on one of the hidden gems of the year.
Treasure Tracker will be familiar to anyone who played Super Mario 3D World. The little diversions starring Captain Toad are now fleshed out into a full release. The game pad is used to rotate and tilt the camera, as well as touching the screen for various functions. The objective is simple: collect gems, coins, and a star to complete the bite-sized levels, with the real challenge coming in the form of side objectives and perspective.
Platforms: Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
It is simple to comprehend, and the pacing is perfect. Just when I thought I had everything under control, the game tosses another clever obstacle to overcome.
At first glance the game feels a bit light on content. The main path is comprised of three chapters consisting of around 70 stages. They are all extremely small though, taking only a couple of minutes to complete. I powered through that content in no time, even collecting all the gems (which are not required to complete a stage) and the bonus objectives.
Where it opens up though is the end-game content. There is a ton of stuff to do once the core experience has been picked clean. Some of it is brutally difficult, and when all is said and done, there is easily over 20 hours of puzzle goodness packed into Captain Toad’s adventure.
The later levels add in new mechanics, such as tapping the screen to distract enemies, ghost characters that followed my every move, making backtracking an extreme challenge and even new puzzle mechanics. Nintendo has done an outstanding job of taking a simple concept and fleshing it out over a perfectly-paced game.
If there is one area to pick apart Captain Toad, it is the presentation. The game feels generic on multiple levels, including the menus and title screen. My biggest complaint though, is with a game hosting so many challenges and collectibles, there is no easy way to track them. There is no stats screen showcasing what I have and haven’t completed. That would go a long way at keeping me interested in achieving 100% in all levels.
Like other first-party Wii U titles, Captain Toad is a great looking game. The simplistic art style and fantastic design combine for yet another slick-looking experience on Nintendo’s hardware. The bright colors and rock solid frame rate make it stick out amongst the sea of realism flooding the market. The music and sound effects also scream Nintendo charm, making this pleasing to nearly every sense.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a marvelous puzzle game that stretches its initial value well beyond what I had anticipated. It will take players a hefty amount of time to master it all, and the game does a fantastic job of making you want to see and do everything. It is rare for a puzzle game to see this kind of release, and especially one of this quality.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.