Bottom line: It's a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle game that centers around the adorable Toad and Toadette. The difficulty level slowly increases as you make your way through the 80+ levels, and you can either play on your own or with a buddy.
- 82 levels
- Solo or co-op play
- Reasons to replay levels
- Fun art style and mechanics
- Camera is hard to control in co-op
- Story is very simple and repetitive
Puzzle games are one of my favorite go-tos after a long day. Being able to solve little riddles or experience a brightly colored world helps me relax and, perhaps more importantly, helps me feel like I have a little more control over something during these crazy times. One of the games I prefer to play is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Now, this game has been around for quite a while now. In fact, it originally released on the Wii U back in 2014 and then came to the Switch in 2018 with some additional levels.
The gameplay is very simple. Toad and Toadette are out hunting for stars when a giant crow named Wingo swoops in to steal the prize and Toadette. Now it's up to Toad to make his way through various levels until he can confront the evil bird and save his friend. Each level is cube-shaped and requires that the player collect as many of the level's three gems as possible before making their way to the star. And don't worry, once Toadette gets saved, things get flipped around; a new chapter is uncovered where Toad is kidnapped, and it's up to our pink mushroom girl to rescue him.
Whether you're unwinding on your own while collecting stars or opting for the two-player mode to solve these puzzles with a buddy, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a thoroughly enjoyable game. There are some camera issues when it comes to co-op play, but other than that, this title offers a fun experience that Nintendo Switch owners should check out.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker What I like
|Title||Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker|
|Players||Up to 2|
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker exposes me to vibrant colors and adorable characters at every turn. When you're playing as Toad, he starts off each level by saying, "time for adventure!" in his darling high-pitched voice, and I find myself smiling each time he says it. The levels and enemies can be challenging, but they are all so beautifully rendered and pretty to look at that you continue to get sucked in by just with how pleasant everything looks.
Difficulty level Steady challenge increase
When I first started playing Captain Toad, I was worried that it wouldn't be challenging enough. True, it starts off really simple to help you get the hang of things, but the difficulty level increases with each level until play becomes challenging. This is partially due to Toad and Toadette's limitations. For example, these two cannot jump, they only go so fast, and typically their only way of defeating enemies is by dropping on a foes head, throwing turnips, or getting lucky enough to find an axe.
Puzzle variety 82 puzzles to unlock
As I progressed, I experienced several different themes like beach, swamp, haunted woods, the desert, and more. Some of the levels feature unique elements like Double Cherries or the Super Pickax, which must be used properly in order to reveal all of the hidden secrets in a given area. Otherwise, you'll need to play the level over again to obtain everything. Aside from the boss battles which reuse some of the same elements, I never felt like the main courses were repetitive. There was plenty of variation to keep me interested until the very end.
You start the game off with Episode 1, which contains 18 levels. Upon beating this first book, you'll discover Episode 2, then Episode 3, and finally, some bonus levels bringing the game to 82 stages total. Every once in a while, you'll uncover a Coins Galore mini game, which allows you to gather up a large number of coins in a very limited amount of time. These rounds were super satisfying and help add a little excitement to the normal flow of the game.
As far as game length goes, it took me a little more than 10 hours to play through every level in Captain Toad. I did repeat several levels along the way in order to 100% it. So, if you're just interested in getting stars, it won't take as long. But if you tend to be more of a completionist, you'll get a decent amount of time out of the game.
Full disclosure, I did not test out the VR section very thoroughly seeing as how I don't own a Nintendo Labo headset (opens in new tab). However, from what I can tell there are only a handful of courses from the main game offered for this viewing experience. It seems a bit gimmicky, but if you have Labo and want to check it out, it's there for you to explore.
Replay value New things to do
As mentioned previously, the goal for each level is to try and acquire three gems before reaching the star. After playing through a level at least once, a hidden objective will appear on the main menu. Sometimes you might have unlocked this objective the first play through, but a lot of the time, it gives you another reason to play through a course again. Hidden objectives include things like locating the Golden Mushroom, not taking any damage, or defeating all of the level's enemies.
Additionally, players can choose a special mode that has them looking for Pixel Toad, an 8-bit variation who can stick to walls and hide in places 3D objects cannot. These extra features provide a decent amount of replay value since there are different goals to achieve. If that wasn't enough, you can play levels in solo or co-op mode, which definitely changes the experience up. In the case of 2-player co-op, player 1 takes charge of either Toad or Toadette (the character you get is determined by what episode you're in), and then player 2 controls a purple Toad. There are no advantages or disadvantages to playing with any of the three playable characters.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker What I don't like
Co-op camera Power battle
I played through about 22 courses before I asked someone to play the game with me. Turns out that both player one and player two can move the camera, but this can prove problematic at times. I often ended up fighting my friend for control of the camera, or else one of us would move the camera at an inopportune time for the other player leading to the other person falling down or even losing a life.
We finally determined that only one of us could be in control of the camera during each level and switched off who was in charge, which helped immensely. But, if you're playing with two strong-willed people who don't want to give up camera control or who keep accidentally fighting over camera usage, then this might just end in a fight.
Simple narrative Very repetitive
Considering this is a simple puzzle game, it isn't too surprising that the plot is incredibly simple and that several animations get reused and reskinned throughout the game. However, it does seem a little cheap. In each of the three episodes, you'll see the same sequence of either Toad or Toadette getting carried off by Wingo, and then you'll always encounter the Draggadon mini boss once in each episode. While the locations surrounding these animations do change a little bit, the repetitiveness gets to be a bit monotonous.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Should you play it?
Nintendo has released several hits on the Nintendo Switch through the years, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is definitely one of them. It's a lighthearted puzzle game that you can enjoy on your own or with a friend. I love how the levels gradually became harder to complete and offered me more chances for replay value than I initially expected.
I did only get about 10 hours out of this title before completing all 82 levels. However, considering that it costs less than many other AAA Switch games, it features a beautiful art style, and it offers so many satisfying moments, this really ought to be a game you check out.
It's a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle game that centers around the adorable Toad and Toadette. The difficulty level slowly increases as you make your way through the 80+ levels, and you can either play on your own or with a buddy.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.
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