Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker: The ultimate guide

Captain Toad Hero
Captain Toad Hero (Image credit: Nintendo)

Shoulder your pack, turn on your headlamp, and whistle that funny little theme tune, because Captain Toad is here and ready to roll! This whimsical puzzle game centered around an adorable explorer Toad who can't jump first released on Wii U, but was brought over to Nintendo Switch in 2019. While most of his (and his trusty friend Toadette's) adventure are the same as the original version, new courses and a new co-op capability make Captain Toad a worthwhile revisit even for those who have already collected all the original game's gems and coins.

Whether you're a fresh adventurer looking for a laid back puzzle challenge or a veteran explorer eager to start out again, here's everything you need to know about Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on the Switch:

Introducing Captain Toad!

captain toad treasure tracker (Image credit: Nintendo)

Captain Toad didn't make his debut in Treasure Tracker on Wii U. Our venturesome friend began as a supporting character in Super Mario Galaxy, and has made appearances in Galaxy 2 as well as Super Mario Odyssey since then. His chief characteristic in these games is his interest in finding places off the beaten path. In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, he gained another notable feature: the poor guy can't jump.

It's not for lack of trying. Captain Toad wears a very heavy backpack that makes it impossible for his tiny Toad legs to lift him off the ground. But fortunately, this lack of platforming ability is exactly what makes Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker tick. Each of the game's original 64+ levels is like a 3D diorama box in which Toad must make his way to a goal. Various enemies and obstacles stand between him and it, as well as three hidden gems to find per level and lots of coins. There's no time limit, and you can retry each level as much as you want to find all the secrets within.

Gems? Coins?

captain toad (Image credit: Nintendo)

Of course! It's Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Our little fellow is out for treasure! He starts off on a hunt for gems and coins, but is sidetracked when his friend, Toadette, is carried off by a big, mean bird. He must rescue her while collecting as much treasure as he can along the way. At certain points in the game, you can only proceed if you've collected enough hidden Gems!

For fans of Toadette, don't fret. She's far more than a damsel in distress. Without spoiling too much, at a certain point in the game, you'll be able to lead her on adventures just as you did Captain Toad. She has all the same abilities he does, but she's cute and pink. What's not to love?

So it's not a platformer?

captain toad (Image credit: Nintendo)

Captain Toad's levels are mostly cube-shaped environments with a goal located somewhere behind several obstacles and three Gems scattered throughout the stage. The cubes feature lots of verticality that our non-jumping Toad can traverse using ladders, doors, and other connective pieces. Obstacles may take the form of enemies which Toad must avoid (unless he has a special item to defeat them with), switch puzzles, hidden entrances, timed challenges, or other puzzles you'll have to exercise those brain muscles to bypass.

Some levels will include mine cart rides where Captain Toad mans a turnip cannon and busts down walls. Or perhaps he'll eat a Double Cherry, and you'll have to control two Captain Toads at once...or even more!

What's new in the Switch version?

captain toad (Image credit: Nintendo)

As with most other Nintendo Switch ports, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker boasts some special features to make it more appealing beyond sheer desire for portability. First, it includes even more levels than the original game. These new stages are based on locations in Super Mario Odyssey, such as New Donk City. We already know the Captain went to New Donk in Odyssey, so now we get to see the city from his adorable perspective.

This is, sadly, at a loss of old levels previously based on Super Mario 3D World. If you loved those games in the Wii U version, you can't play them on the Switch. Fortunately, the Super Mario Odyssey levels are far more interesting.

On the Wii U version, Captain Toad was a solo experience, but no longer. A second player can join in on Captain Toad either with another controller or simply by handing off one of the Joy-Cons, whether you're in front of a TV or out and about. The second player does not control a second Toad, but instead helps the first player in various ways. For example, the ability to shoot turnips at obstacles and clear the path, essentially allows the main player to bypass traps with ease. It's a great way to bring a friend along, or help a younger or less skilled player who might be struggling.

How do touch controls work in TV mode?

captain toad (Image credit: Nintendo)

If you're playing in handheld mode, you can use the touch screen in certain puzzle segments to move blocks around or interact with certain types of switches. But obviously, that doesn't work on the TV. Instead, a blue motion-controlled cursor will appear on-screen. You can move it around with your controller, then tap ZR to activate whatever switch or block it's hovering over.

The downside is that there's no way to toggle this control off, not even on stages where no touch controls are present. So you'll have to get used to the constant presence of a blue cursor mid-screen if you're playing in TV mode.

What's this Pixel Toad hide and seek game?

Pixel Toad was added as free DLC to the Wii U version of the game and makes a comeback with the launch version of Captain Toad on Switch. On any stage, you can activate Pixel Toad and send it off to hide in the level. In this mode, you cannot collect gems or coins, nor does the level end when you reach the star. Your only objective is to find Pixel Toad and use either touch controls or the cursor to tap him in the level, ending it. If you get stuck or can't find him, you can exit at any time.

Is there any DLC?

Captain Toad Special Episode (Image credit: Nintendo)

There sure is. The Special Episode content patch includes 18 new challenges spread out across five brand new courses. These new areas include maps with sunken ships or even a kingdom of sweets. It also brings a reason to go back and replay all of the old levels too, because you'll want to find the golden crown that's hidden on every existing course.

Help! I need a road map!

If you have any questions about Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker or its Nintendo Switch release, let me know in the comments!

Updated March 2020: Updated language to reflect that the game is out.

Reb Valentine