Captain Toad ventures on his own

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First Posted: 1/5/2015

Since the early ’80s Mario has been the main Nintendo star, but what about his friends?

They live exciting lives too, especially Toad. Toad isn’t just a simply mushroom man anymore. Now he has his own game called “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” on the Wii U. For those who played last year’s “Super Mario 3D World,” you will remember the levels that featured the “Captain Toad” Mini-games. The toad levels where a great part of “3D World” so I am so glad he is getting his own spin off.

Toad is on his own adventure collecting stars and other power ups in a game that feels very different than the average Mario title. The first thing you notice is Toad cannot jump even though it is a 3D world. Besides the lack of mobility, there are no power-ups or transformations. “Treasure Tracker” feels very different then any other game set in the same world. Toad and Todette can only walk on the ground, climb ladders, throw turnips, and sometimes use their trusty pick-axe.

Most of the levels are small one screen puzzles and you must solve each maze while avoiding enemies and finding all of the hidden gems and magic stars. Similar to the rest of the “Mario Bros.” series the graphics are bright and colorful and the music is upbeat, cheerful and catchy. The gameplay uses most of the features of the Wii U. You can use the systems touch-screen, the microphone and even the tilt functions on the gamepad. Most of the time extra controls feel gimmicky and tacked on but not this time. Because of the small bite sized levels the different controls add to the variety of gameplay and constantly make the game feel fresh and fun. You don’t have to use the motion controls, you can use the thumb sticks to control the camera but you can’t shut the motion controls off so you have to be careful you don’t shift you weight because it can lead to the camera spinning in ways you don’t want. It can get frustrating but it can be avoided.

Each of the levels only takes a few minutes but there are many collectibles to find. You need to get the gold stars to unlock later levels. You only have to find one star to move on, but you are going to want to find all the stars and collectibles to unlock more levels and challenges later on in the game. There are optional challenges such as finishing a level in a certain time, defeating all enemies or not taking any damage. If you are a completionist and want to unlock everything you will want to replay the levels to finish all of the challenge modes.

Not every level is a maze, there are mine cart levels which are a fun diversion from the main game. They are fast moving and can be very exciting. There are a few level bosses that can are a fun challenge. You have to fight several of the bosses multiple times but the difficulty level rises each time so it doesn’t ever feel tedious to fight the same bosses again.

“Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” is one of the best looking and one of the most charming family friendly Nintendo games. All of the puzzles are clever and the use of Wii U gamepad is inventive and a blast to play. If you have a Wii U then you should check out “Captain Toad”, it is different then Mario but it is set in the same world and is just as fun. It is great to see more “Mario Bros.” characters getting their own games and it is nice to see new styles of gameplay. The Wii U had a great year in 2014 and “Treasure Tracker” is one of the best on the system right now.