Nobody has a grasp of the original and simple ideas that work so beautifully and magically like Nintendo do. From a simple puzzle introduced in Super Mario 3D World, Treasure Tracker places Captain Toad and Toadette in a multi layered square world where you must navigate your way to the goal, which is of course the eternal Mario Star.
Hidden in each level are three gems which are optional and you do not need to collect to complete each stage, but that kind of avoids the object of the game. Avoiding such tasks strips the sheer joy that the puzzles of this seemingly simple puzzle game offer. Each stage also has a challenge which will vary from easy tasks such as collect a designated amount of coins to harder tasks such as navigate your way to the end of the stage without defeating any enemies.
Sounds easy enough but this is harder than you may think when Captain Toad or Toadette cannot jump. That’s right guys, Mario character’s that can’t jump on enemies. This notion makes it difficult to put your finger on where this game really sits. Is it a platformer? True that you move from level to level but you do not jump to do so.
So how do you defeat your enemies? By using your wits and Toad’s favourite food – Turnips.
Many Mario fans and players may remember Super Mario Bros. 2 where jumping on enemies was removed in place of picking up objects and even enemies and throwing them to vanquish your foes. Well, digging up turnips and throwing them at your enemies is one way to defeat them but also falling from a higher platform in a perfectly timed manner is another way to do it.
To manoeuvre through each stage, Captain Toad must simply walk and climb between the levels to reach his goal but the real twist in this game is that you must alter your perspective using the Gamepad, to move the stage around and see what lurks around corners and behind walls. Also by doing this you will find hidden tunnels and areas which will advance further and help you find the hidden treasures in each level.
The game is presented to you as a book and each page represents a stage. There are 4 books in total for you to complete meaning hour’s worth of content that will leave you coming back again and again. The only down side I could pull out of the presentation of the game however is that it would be nice to have used the gamepad for some kind of summary/overview function so that you can see what treasures are missing from each book and what challenges are still left to be completed on each stage.
When it comes down to the visuals, the game is as pretty as can be and full of all of the Nintendo charm that no-one could hand on heart say isn’t adorable and impressive. The simple and small worlds are expertly crafted and you can’t help but marvel at the sheer amount of care and ingenuity that has gone in to designing such puzzles. It is only the minds at Nintendo that seem to have such a firm grasp over giving simple concepts such as these, long lasting appeal and plenty of addictive game play.
The game manages to hold its appeal right the way from start to finish, you’ll constantly find yourself thinking “just one more” as you complete each stage. The boss battles are also expertly designed and although nothing incredibly taxing, they will give you the run around if you want to make sure you collect all of the treasures in each stage. Boss characters are lush with colour and design and the larger boss stages are just as awe inspiring. One particular level was the boss battle at the end of the first book where a large bird intends to blow you off the stage by flapping its wings from different angles of the stage.
This stage is very clever and must have taken some time and a team of people much smarter than I am (although that’s not especially difficult) to design, as blocks move back and forth depending on the direction of the wind and taking shelter in a tunnel will only work if the wind is not blowing through, otherwise you won’t be staying in there for long.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is an incredible game and needs to be played for people to realise just how much fun is to be found in titles such as these. It is a shame that all the while FPS titles and others which are similar, titles such as Captain Toad and many of the Nintendo titles on the Wii U will be overlooked. People will never know what they are missing out on. In the case of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, people are missing out on an incredible, fun-filled brain teaser that is more charming than Bruce Willis in Die Hard!