So when I found out that there was going to be a Toad game on the Wii U, I wasn't exactly doing backflips through the streets. I knew enough to know that it was going to be a 3D puzzle game of some sort, but that's about it. I proceeded to file it away in the back of my mind. Then I saw it in a local game store. Well, the demo version anyway. And I gave it a try. Even from that demo version, I knew Captain Toads Treasure Tracker was going to be something special. How special? Well Let me tell you...
First off, let me just say that I have only completed the first episode of the game, but I have seen enough of it to at least pretend to know what I am talking about. So what is Captain Toad Treasure Tracker? Well, like I said, it's a 3D puzzle game.
It starts out simple enough, you play through a VERY easy course, just to get used to the game mechanics. It really is quite simple, and before too long you get the hang of how it all works. After completing this initial stage, you get your first cut scene, and the storyline for the first episode unfolds. The gist of it seems to be that after collecting that first star, some giant bird swoops in and takes it out of your clutches. Toadette, the stupid whore, doesn't let go in time, and is also snatched away by this flying asshole, and wisked away to who the hell knows where. You must now travel through this strange land of 3D cube environments collecting treasures of all kinds, all in hopes of rescuing Toadette from this flying menace...or at least I think that's the point. Honestly, who really cares, the game play is fun, and you soon find yourself forgetting all about it.
In each level, you must explore an expansive 3D environment in search of diamonds, coins, extra lives, various treasures, and finally a single star. On the surface this sounds simple enough, but each stage gets progressively larger and more complicated. You can flip and rotate the "cube environment" in whatever way you see fit so that you can reveal hidden paths, tunnels, rooms, and items that were otherwise blocked or hidden from view. The good news is that there is no time limit to these levels, so you can take your time exploring every square inch of them. And believe me, you will want to take as much time as you can in order to find all the secrets and required items hidden throughout in each course. There are also an ever growing variety of enemies from the Mario universe out to stop you in your tracks. They can be a little tricky at times, but with patience you can defeat them, or otherwise avoid them all together.
Each stage also includes a single bonus task to complete. Unfortunately they don't tell you what that bonus task is until after the stage has been cleared once. You will find yourself replaying levels just to complete that single objective and earn the crown. The good news though, is that it's a progressive level system, so you won't need to collect the diamonds again on those additional runs, they are replaced by ghost diamonds that you can technically collect, but you don't get additional credit for doing so. While that's kinda nice, it does prevent you from going back to relive a level from scratch, and that somewhat kills any replay ability for me.
The only gripes I have found with this game are that sometimes adjusting the camera to just the right angle can be difficult at times. You can also zoom into make life a little easier, but even with the zoom it can be difficult to find the right angle to see where you need to go next.
When all is said and done however, this is a really enjoyable puzzle game. The graphics are amazing. The textures and colors are all rich and vibrant, and really bring each course to life. Speaking of witch, the stage designs themselves are all unique. I never once found myself thinking that they were getting repetitive in an way.
The game also makes use of the Wii U's game pad tablet, and you are sometimes required to tap, swipe, and even blow on the screen in order to activate or interact with Toad's 3D environment. It's actually quite innovative, and I felt that added to the game's overall enjoyability.
And last but not least is the music. I like it. They use the same song for multiple levels, but there are also enough variations, and unique scores to go around. Overall, its very satisfying.
Highlights from the first episode of the game can be found on my YouTube channel. The link below will take you right to it. Enjoy!