Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Platform: Wii U
You wouldn’t expect the first calendar release of 2015 from Nintendo to be a puzzle platformer and star Toad as a main character. I’d have thought they would have played it safe and stuck to something more ‘mainstream’. With Smash Brothers and Bayonetta 2 being released a month or so ago Captain Toad would appear to be an after thought from a busy 3014 for Nintendo. However let me a sure you, it’s not!
What started as a mini game in Super Mario 3D World has been fully conjured into something quite magical by Nintendo’s Tokyo studio. Unbelievably cute and full to the brim of everything you’d expect from a first party Mushroom Kingdom adventure, Captain Toad is absolutely brilliant. From the very first Level until the last some 10 hours or so later, I couldn’t help but fall in love.
In Treasure Tracker, you guide Toad in his quest for all things shiny. Coins, gems and golden stars are on the menu. Each puzzle is a perfect cube in which you guide the Captain around avoiding enemies and overcoming obstacles familiar to those found in the core Super Mario series. Some parts of the world can be moved or activated by the touch screen and this adds another layer to your treasure hunting an adventure. However of all the elements to this wonderful occasion the ability to rotate the entire level is the key to success in Captain Toad.
Toad cannot jump, this makes for more thought out and steady progression, unlike most other Nintendo productions. Just like in the original Super Mario Bros 2, Toad can hurl turnips that you pull from the ground, as a means to attack enemies, if your finding them tough to avoid. Each level has three treasures to find and an additional objective, some of which can be a bit tricky, but nothing too taxing, which some puzzle nuts may find a bit too simple.
My only gripe with Captain Toad a Treasure Tracker is that it just doesn’t justify a full retail release. At a slightly cheaper price (£29.99, which is the same price as Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2), Captain Toad feels like it would be more at home as an eShop download rather than a disc based game. The main campaign takes roughly six hours and the additional challenges may grab you a few more precious hours out of it. While it does make up for this in pure charm and style, I can’t help but think how many more people this would reach had it been half the price and digital only.
I love this game, it’s beautifully crafted, and an utter joy to play, but it’s not without its flaws. Unfortunately it is let down by its high entry price and you really don’t get much bang for your buck. What shout have been a no-brainer downloadable title is a brilliant, yet thinly stretched Nintendo creation.
Amazing? Yes. Masterpiece? No.