With the lacklustre Wii U release still fresh in our memories, Nintendo appears to have but one mission this time around when it comes to their latest console, the Nintendo Switch. That mission is to give all the brilliant and highly underrated Wii U games a new home and a second chance at life, and I for one won’t complain. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is the latest Wii U title to find its way onto the Nintendo Switch and it’s a fungitastic romp not to be missed.
Before you dive right into playing Captian Toad: Treasure Tracker here’s some interesting information that might help you understand the game a little better. Miyamoto and some of the other Nintendo developers are crazy about Rubik’s Cubes. You know the coloured puzzle squares that drive most people crazy? Yeah, those. Whilst this bit of information might seem odd at first glance, it’s not just an out of the blue, trivial fact. The world’s most famous cube just so happens to be the basis of Toad’s very own first adventure. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a colourful, challenging and above all addictive puzzle game. Just like the Rubik’s Cube.
As always Captain Toad is looking for treasures and does so together with his pink girlfriend Toadette. That is until both his shiny treasure and Toadette are snatched away suddenly in the claws of a huge bird. Setting out to save his beloved from the clutches of the beast, Toad’s quest takes him on a journey through more than 70 levels all based on the premise of Japanese garden boxes and the infamous Rubick’s Cube. Finding diamonds, stars and eventually saving Toadette, he’s quite the little hero. Unlike other games, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is all very small, close and intimate. The levels can often be displayed in a single screen and the game is more about discovering secret hidden paths than exploring vast open worlds.
In its essence Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is exactly the same game it was back in 2015, with only a few new bells and whistles being added to the mix. But regardless of having only a few new tricks up his sleeve, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on the Nintendo Switch looks simply amazing. All of this is thanks to the slightly boosted resolution allowing the colours to splash off your screen and everything to run wonderfully smooth. But its not just the pretty graphics that make this version so necessary on the Nintendo Switch…
“…the smart little Shy Guys at Nintendo have placed a cursor in the game, so you can control the interactive elements. Is it useful? Not really, but it’s not annoying either.”
The answer to that question can be found in two other places, game mechanics and bonus content. Starting with game mechanics, Captain Toad feels uniquely at home on the Switch. Where previously it felt like a great game sold short by the Wii U, here on the Switch the short levels lend themselves perfectly to the console’s portability and touch screen capabilities.
“But I don’t use my Switch on the go and prefer to play in docked mode” I hear you say. Well fear not! Captain Toad is not totally sold short here either. Sure, as soon as you start playing the game on a TV a (small) disadvantage raises its ugly head. After all, touch screen mechanics won’t work on your TV. But the smart little Shy Guys at Nintendo have placed a cursor in the game, controlled via the joycon, so you can control the interactive elements. Is it useful? Not really, but it’s not annoying either.
The other change in the Switch version of Captain Toad that makes this game a must get is its increase in scope. Whilst it does come at the sacrifice of some much loved Super Mario 3D levels, you can now enjoy a bunch of Super Mario Odyssey levels in Treasure Tracker. Looking for moons instead of stars as you puzzle your way through the game. And it’s made even better by the 8-bit sprites now found in Treasure Tracker. I’m a huge fan of 8-bit and seeing it used here is a nice touch for me. Every time you complete a level you’ll get the opportunity to play it again, but with an 8-bit Toad. You play the level as before, but with a different purpose in mind, to find the 8-bit Toad. And believe me that sneaky little Toad is pretty good at playing hide and seek!
For the most part I found that the majority of levels were able to be played out in around five minutes, with the first credits coming roughly after about a half hour or so of gameplay. Nevertheless, the game does scale in difficulty and each level offers up four challenges: reach the star, find all three jewels, complete a secret challenge and set a time limit goal. Jewels unlock new levels, even after completing the story and bonus episodes. Mini-games and more are also available to unlock and discover, so I didn’t find myself short of things to do once those first credits rolled past my screen.
Whilst the levels themselves are fun it’s those optional objectives I mentioned before where Treasure Tracker’s true fun and challenge lies. Treasure Tracker isn’t a particularly difficult game, you aren’t going to be applying to space camp in the coming months because of your puzzle solving abilities. But it’s the game’s many hidden objects and objectives that are diabolically hidden within the plethora of Japanese box designed mazes that gives the game a level of complexity worth playing. I’ve completed the game on both Wii U and Switch, and I still occasionally found myself bamboozled.
Bonus content aside, the big question when it comes to games these days is does it have a co-op mode and the answer here is yes. Unfortunately the one thing I need to say is that Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is primarily a single player game. Whilst it’s true that there is a 2 player mode on offer, sadly I found it to be no more than a gimmick, with one Toad running around and the other getting the ungrateful task of moving only a few platforms.
Hang with Toad, he's a real fungi!
This 2015 game looks simply stunning on the Nintendo Switch and despite being a port it still manages to captivate. The challenges never seem unfair and the puzzles aren’t particularly vexing to solve, but as the jolly Captain Toad or Toadette, you’ll always have your little mushie eyes on that golden prize. Where the game was once limited by its console, it’s now freed by it. The touch-friendly Nintendo Switch in handheld mode is truly the perfect home for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and regardless of if you have played it before or not it’s definitely worth picking up and adding to your growing Switch collection.