Starring the lovable Mario franchise sidekick, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker answers the long mysterious question: what does toad do when he’s not spending time with Mario? The answer, apparently, is adventuring and gathering stars with Toadette and friends. Treasure Tracker puts you in control of Toad as you explore various worlds, collecting coins and stars.
Treasure Tracker is very much a puzzle game with an adorable bow on top. There are three objectives to aim for in each level: gather coins, collect all three hidden “diamonds,” and gather the star at the end to beat the stage. Throughout each stage you will find various obstacles along the way, including familiar Mario universe enemies, blocked passageways and other wacky elements.
Nintendo platforms as a whole have continued to provide different and unique control methods throughout the years, but still struggle finding the perfect balance between novelty and accessibility. Treasure Tracker is no exception. Almost all levels are slow paced and provide the player ample time to explore every nook and cranny and collect the requisite items, and puzzles usually don’t require quick reflexes and precision. However, one of the biggest elements of the game is manipulating the camera around the 3D world in order to weave in and out of building, pipes and ladders. While the camera rotate speed is in a good place for all intents and purposes, it would be nice to be able to raise or lower the sensitivity as needed. Camera aside, Toad can only perform one action, and that is to grab/throw. Both actions only require a single button press, though throwing does require a decent amount of precision. Playing one handed is possible on some stages, but others present a real problem.
The most egregious thing about the controls is that there are no options whatsoever. The camera can be controlled by the bumper buttons, the right joystick, and by moving the Wii Pad around using the controller’s motion tracking. The latter option I found to be more obstructive than helpful, and it would have been wonderful if the game allowed the player to shut it off completely. Aside from controlling the camera, the Wii U GamePad is used in other interesting, yet inaccessible ways. The touch screen is used to tap highlighted blocks to move them and turn levers. In one instance, the game required you to blow into the Pads microphone to move a platform in the game. While even the softest blow will trigger the platform, offering no alternative control methods can be problematic.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, like most games in the Mario universe, has no speaking characters, thus not requiring subtitles. Ambient noise is never used as puzzle mechanic, so sound isn’t necessary at all to play the game.
The one flaw Treasure Tracker has visually, besides the wonky camera, is that stages can get quite crowded. Doors, enemies and switches can be hidden throughout the level in small, hard to see places. Fortunately the game allows you to zoom into the area immediately surrounding your character, but often times it takes a little while of fidgeting with the camera to be able to see what you need to.
Being a game with no subtitles or options menu, reading isn’t at all required. Nintendo also does a fine job at avoiding any color blind issues. The font in the rest of the game is pretty large and easy to read, even if it isn’t important information.
Adorable presentation, short and sweet, stress free gaming for adults and children alike.
Manipulating the camera can be tricky, no options.