Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker originally launched on the Wii U in 2014, although admittedly, I never played that version. When Nintendo announced that the game would come to Switch, I knew I’d buy it on day one. From the opening moments, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is an adventure full of whimsy, heart, challenging puzzles, and most of all, fun.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker takes players through three stories, complete with a handful of individual puzzles. Each level takes Toad (and Toadette) through a unique puzzle where you must find a star to progress. Additionally, there are three other objectives to complete. The first task is to find the three hidden gems on the map, the second is a secret objective that will be revealed after completing the level, and the third is a hidden-object mission that also unlocks after finishing a stage.
Having more things to do adds to the replay factor. I found myself going back to levels so I could achieve 100% completion. Gems become challenging to find, and the secret missions can test your skills. Some objectives can be “collect 100 coins” while another might have you complete the level without being detected by enemies.
What I love about the game is how deceptive the puzzles are. The first few levels are easy, but as you progress, the difficulty spikes unexpectedly. While moving Toad is simple enough, being cautious of your surroundings is the key to success. Players can completely rotate the camera, revealing new areas, collectibles, and platforms that can be used.
Sometimes walking up to an obstacle is not good enough. By touching the screen, you can move specific fixtures on the map. Occasionally, you will have to rotate your finger around the screen to shift slides. When it comes to attacking enemies, you can pick up turnips on the ground to throw, or you can tap the screen to stun them.
The story in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is minimal but charming. Cutscenes throughout each book provide context to what’s going on in the adventure. Additionally, each story ends with a boss battle that mixes puzzle-solving and combat. Is the story forgettable? Sure. But the cutscenes are so delightful that I didn’t mind the lack of a narrative. The creativity within the self-contained puzzles was enough to keep me playing for hours.
Visually, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is beautiful, with the vibrant colors and eye-popping graphics that Nintendo fans have come to know and love. The character models look fantastic, the environments are detailed, and it’s one of the best-looking games on Switch. From a technical standpoint, the game runs perfectly. There wasn’t a single instance of slowdown and the load times were excellent.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker highlights one of the best secondary characters in the Super Mario universe, and gives him a stellar adventure. Fans of the Wii U version should pick it up for the portable experience and extra levels while those who didn’t play the game in 2014 will find a lot to love. It’s another fantastic addition to the continually growing Switch library, and I can’t wait to see what Nintendo does with Captain Toad in the future. I had a blast with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Hopefully, this is not the last time we see the titular hero. He can easily go on more adventures, and I’d love to be along for every single one of them.