I confess, LusiGems, I adore Super Mario 3D World. It might have a few camera kinks that show up when multiple people are playing, but that is the only major negative is what is otherwise a creative, tight, visually beautiful and (eventually) challenging game. Therefore I jumped at the chance to download Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker a few days early. I am a little over halfway through the game, so I cannot provide a full review yet, but everything I have played so far has been a complete delight.
While it is true that I am only now starting to find the levels even remotely challenging, it is a testament to Treasure Tracker that I am not really bothered by that fact. Like Super Mario 3D World, I am happy to simply experience the creativity of the design and the joy of the game’s visuals which are yet another example of Nintendo’s ability to create a bright, colourful world that is brimming with life. The key is in the details, with both playable and nonplayable characters bursting with personality from both their design and their animations. Captain Toad shivers with fear around certain enemies, and he runs on the spot in anticipation if the player is holding down the “run” button without moving the control stick. It is a little detail like that which adds yet another layer to the charm of the game.
The puzzles are imaginative extensions of what was found in 3D World although after a long time with Treasure Tracker, I expect the original mini-game to feel flat to return to. But with over 70 levels in Captain Toad, there is not really much of a reason to return to the game’s point of origin, and as I mentioned earlier, after the halfway point, challenge starts to show itself. Up to that point, the biggest challenges come from the optional objectives which are not revealed until after at least one playthrough of the level. While I found this annoying at first, I understand the reason behind the decision. Not only are some of the challenges impossible to achieve while also chasing the three optional gems found in each level, but in other cases attempting to pursue the challenge would take away from the innate sense of discovery built into the levels.
Less clear is why the optional objective cannot be viewed within the level after it has been revealed. While it is clear that Nintendo wanted a very clean look for its pause menu that closely resembles the one from 3D World, it is less obvious why there is not a small button somewhere dedicated to a few more options that – from my view – would do nothing to take away from the design of the game. Another of these options should have been to disable the gyroscope camera controls. While it temporarily disables itself while using the control stick to operate the camera, it switches back on fairly quickly and it can be irritating to have the camera spin in an unwanted direction just because of natural adjustments in playing position. Not that the gyroscope camera controls are all bad. It is generally a good idea to take a look around the level at the onset, and I was surprised how much more immersive it was to physically move the gamepad to check out the levels from different angles. Well, it was immersive at first anyway, but a full 360 degree look at the level requires the player to do the same with his body and after the novelty of the first time, there becomes little reason to use the gyroscope to look around; Captain Toad is not really a game that calls to be played standing up.
But aside from that strange oversight, I am having a great time with the game and it certainly has that “just one more level” quality to it that makes it hard to stop playing. In fact, instead of writing about it, I think I am going to go back to playing it. The levels are just getting challenging! I have more to say, but wait for my full review next week.
Until then, LusiCaptains, let us talk. Are you looking forward to Treasure Tracker? Will you be like me and find it a nice compliment to the blockbuster hits of Super Smash Bros. and the Pokémon remakes? Or perhaps it is just not something that interests you. I will not know until you tell me in the comment section below!