Condemn O.R. Condone – Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)

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Remember those Captain Toad levels from Super Mario 3D World where you maneuvered around obstacles on a cube-shaped level to get to a star? Did you ever think to yourself, “Man, I would SO buy a game that was just all of these little mini-games”? Me neither! However, after playing this game to completion I came to two simple conclusions: 1) Nintendo are wizards 2) Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is one of the most purely fun games I played all year.

What I like most about Treasure Tracker is that it does not beat around the bush AT ALL. The game starts and you are immediately in a level to collect your first star. You make your way towards it and you and Toadette get your groove on in celebration, all before the evil bird Wingo swoops down and poops on everyone’s parade. Wingo takes off with the star, but the valiant Toadette grabs onto it and is swept away to God know’s where. This leaves Toad in a rather unfortunate scenario, as he lost the treasure AND the girl.

Luckily, that’s really all there is to the story. The few cutscenes that are in the game only last like 20 seconds, as this game is first and foremost a puzzle game. You use the Wii U gamepad to navigate the level, using the camera to get a view of all angles, tap to stun enemies, blow into the mic for certain platforms and so on. Even though the concepts aren’t revolutionary, everything is executed¬†well and never results in you tapping a hole through your gamepad screen or fainting from blowing into the mic.

While pretty much every level in Treasure Tracker is small in scope, they contain hidden goodies and challenges that make them much more interesting than the base objective. Other than collecting the star at the end of the level you also have the optional objectives of collecting three hidden Super Gems and completing a level-specific objective like collecting x amount of coins. The level-specific objectives are definitely the toughest parts of the level, as many instances you will need to master the level to achieve it. These start off simple enough at the beginning of the game, but by the end of it all it is completely rage-inducing. Completionists, I’ve just given you a fair warning.

As far as how Toad controls, he’s definitely not as quick and nimble as Mario and he can’t jump due to his backpack being full (wimp). However, he has full access to power-ups like hammers and double cherries so that he can take down the baddies if need be. The types of obstacles that you come across are pretty similar to what is found in 3D World, but they’re used in interesting ways to keep the experience feeling fresh while also adding in some new twists. There are moving platforms to trek across, blocks that need rotating to reveal new paths and items and locked doors that are opened by switch or key. There are even minecart levels where you go into a first-person view and chuck an infinite amount of turnips at anything in your path, which is a ton of fun seeing as it utilizes the gamepad’s screen and motion control. Boss levels are sprinkled throughout the game that basically require you to make your way to the end of a level without being burned to death, which is a nice little change of pace when they pop up every now and then.

It’s worth mentioning that even though the game has a simple aesthetic, the graphics are absolutely gorgeous and the stages themselves are beautifully designed. There’s a lot of variety packed into the game’s 70+ levels, and everything from the design to the vibrancy of colors are always eye candy. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that this more of a leisurely game where you can kind of take it easy and just do the main objectives without much fuss, but the potential is also there to make the game really challenging if you’re up for it. The game does cut you some breaks, though, as if you collect a Super Gem and then die you won’t have to collect it again even though you didn’t finish the level. Basically, this game is incredibly accessible no matter what mood you go into it with.

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While there are a solid amount of levels in this game, you can complete many of them in just a few minutes if you know what you’re doing. The game acknowledges that fact by coming in at just $40, making this a much more reasonable purchase for what is on disc. Even though the game won’t take you long to beat, there’s plenty of replay value to keep you coming back for more and a final level that is unlocked if you 100% complete every other level that is so difficult it may just leave you questioning your life. Nintendo did a pretty cool thing by unlocking bonus stages right at the get-go for those who have 3D World save files on their system, though these stages are unlocked for everyone else once the main game is completed. These are remakes of 3D World levels, though there are some slight modifications to the designs so that jump-less Toad can make it through them.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a solid puzzle game that I recommend to anyone who got a kick out of the Captain Toad segments in 3D World. Many of the concepts that were shown in that game have been fleshed out a lot while also adding in some new bells and whistles that make it a worthwhile companion to the main game. It definitely doesn’t have the same level of awesomeness of 3D World, but that is due to the fact that Toad can’t do nearly as many things as Mario can. Even still, the¬†generally simple mechanics are more than made up for with the game’s consistently solid level designs that are engaging to trek through from start to finish.

RESPECTABLE

Author: Mike Guarino

On the internet I am known as the one who operates everything on Condemn (OR) Condone. Some have questioned whether or not I am a wizard, but trust me, dear reader, I am but a man!

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