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E3 2014: Captain Toad Treasure Tracker Review

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There weren’t a lot of things that excited me about Nintendo’s showing at E3 this year. There normally isn’t. For years now, Nintendo has been giving fans more of the same thing, and I’m getting tired of it. One of the games that caught my eye was a little game called Captain Toad Treasure Tracker.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker isn’t an entirely new IP (Intellectual Property). It’s actually a spinoff of Super Mario 3D World (which was released for the Wii U last year). Originally, the Captain Toad levels were meant to be a palette cleaner. After completing many hectic levels, you needed something that was a slower, single player experience. Well, fans wanted more than the few levels in the game and they got it.

In Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, you play as the titular character. He’s small, slow, and can’t jump so it’s up to the player to help him out. You need to make use of the Wii U gamepad to help him navigate the level by rotating the entire stage, moving some platforms using the touch screen, or even using the gamepad to get Toad’s first person view. Sometimes perspective is everything.

Captain Toad’s gameplay structure and story fit well with each other. He’s a treasure hunter (tracker) and he visits anywhere and everywhere he can to find some rare diamonds. This gives enough reason to put in him all kinds of wacky situations. Toad often finds himself surrounded by ghosts outside a haunted house or walking over obviously unstable bridges.

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It may seem weird that a spinoff of a Mario game would feature a player that may be the exact opposite of Mario, but it works very well. You begin to learn Toads pace. He’s slow enough that you can change the camera angle while he’s walking but not too slow where you can’t avoid enemies. It feels nice.

I was able to play two very different levels. The first one was a haunted house where I could move the tiles that held the doors around. I would need to learn how I could move these blocks then fall right out onto the floor and find the exit. But that wouldn’t be good enough. I needed all three starts so I moved a doorway to position itself over a stack of enemies. Toad cannot jump or attack for the most part but what he can do is fall out of a door and land on each of those baddies.

The second level centered on a mine cart at the top of a hill. Once I hopped into the cart, I needed to change my perspective because the only thing showing on the TV was Toad riding a cart. When I looked at the gamepad, I found it was showing Toad ride the cart in first person. As I rode down the hill, I had to throw vegetables at targets to get the diamonds. It sort of turned into a small first person shooter on rails.

It was at that point I realized I wanted more. The game was a lot of fun, the mechanics didn’t feel stale or overused. Most importantly, it showed off potential in the gamepad. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker will release for the Wii U this holiday season.