July 12, 2018

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker - Switch Review

Another Wii U game has received a second lease at life on the Switch, and while Captain Toad was a great game on the Wii U, does its move to Switch help make it better?

The story here is simple, Captain Toad and Toadette are out looking for Stars, they discover one sitting atop a little stone structure and once they collect it, a giant bird appears and attempts to carry it off, Captain Toad is knocked down and Toadette for some reason grabs onto the Star and is carried away by the bird. It is a simple story and gives Captain Toad a reason to be pushing forward, of course, just being an explorer would have worked as well.

The levels, inspired by Hakoniwa, are where the games shines though, not only are they fully contained within a small space, they can be tricky little things, especially once you start looking to find all the secrets. The opening levels are pretty straight forward, usually only requiring you to rotate the camera around, but pretty quickly things can ramp up, with moveable platforms, switches and more. What makes them all interesting and challenging is that Captain Toad is unable to jump, due to the very heavy bag that he is wearing, he also has no attacks of his own, he is able to pick up turnips and hammers, but that is it, if you are without them and are seen by any enemy, your only course of action is to run.

The combination of exploring these puzzle filled worlds, without the ability to handily defend yourself is what makes the game interesting, however the game has a major issue and that is with the controls. The game can of course be played in both Docked and Undocked modes, but the controls can change quite a lot, depending on your selected method and it becomes a little confusing. When docked, the game uses motion controls to reflect a pointer on the screen, which allows you to interact with the world, you can press the right trigger, to actually interact, using this method does take a bit of effort to learn, as you will still be moving Captain Toad around at the same time.

The issue comes forth when you swap to Undocked, now instead of using an onscreen icon controlled by motion, you just touch on the screen what you want changed. In theory it sounds like it would be ok, and the touch part works fine, the issue is that you have to let go of one side of the Switch, in order to access the screen, so for me it was the right-hand side, cause I never wanted to stop moving, but holding a Switch by one hand, is a little dangerous. My biggest concern is that the Switch with Joy-Con supports motion control, so why not offer it like they do when docked, instead of swapping it around. There is no option when you pause the game, to let you swap it around, but for some bizarre reason, you can use motion to tilt the camera around.

Outside of some odd controller choices, the game is identical to the one from the Wii U, except it does add a few new levels, based on content from Super Mario Odyessy, in fact it is the first game to really add new content, from Nintendo’s Wii U ports. The new levels are fun and will challenge most players, but if you are worried about how to unlock them, if you have already played the game, fear not, drop a Super Mario Odyssey amiibo and they will unlock right away. Sadly, the new levels have a downside, I want more now, given how well these were done, I would hope the team has plans to release more levels as DLC in the future.

Presentation wise, the game looks and sounds the same as it did on the Wii U, of course the new levels are the exception to that, perhaps the funniest part is the menu’s and style is very much based from the Wii U and now seeing it on Switch is odd. Not to say the game looks bad or anything, but it has a very specific look, based on 3D World and seeing that on Switch is just not something I would expect, unless Nintendo decide to bring Super Mario 3D World to Switch as well. The music fits into the Mario world fine, no single tune stands out, the audio is basic and again matches the tone of the world, Captain Toad and Toadette both sound like you would expect.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a great little game, like most Nintendo ports, if you have already played it on Wii U, you are not gaining a lot by doubling dipping, but if you do or are new, then get ready to enjoy a charming little puzzle game.

Review code provided by Nintendo

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