It's always nice when Nintendo creates a new IP and even better, you always know that it'll be of high quality when you finally get your hands on it. In this respect, Captain Toad may have started life as a bit part player, but thanks to the upcoming release of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker he's about to become a star in his own right.
What's great about Captain Toad is that it is a very accessible game to play. The idea of the game is to manipulate the camera around the 3D world in order to view all parts of the level. Since you can basically navigate around the entire level, this will then reveal areas which are otherwise hidden to you. The main premise is to use Captain Toad or Toadette to collect one star before moving on to the next level, although as you can imagine, there are also many bonus items to collect too, generally hidden within plants which need to be pulled up form the ground or in those hidden areas you are yet to uncover.
Since Captain Toad can be hit twice before dying, bonus items include the likes of mushrooms to restore his health, although he can also find objects which can be thrown at the enemy to stun them or even objects that transform him into a drill, allowing him to make his way into otherwise hidden areas.
It's really fun spending time to explore every aspect of each of the 70 odd stages of the game, using the GamePad to check every angle. It's also great trying to get past enemies, working out their movements in order to sneak around them, or just getting behind them and taking them out with the object your just pulled from a plant. There's a lot of challenges to be had within each level and a lot of very clever puzzles, but you never feel rushed since there is no time limit, which is a fantastic design decision that allows you to explore without the pressure.
While most stages only require you to find one star to move on, in order to ace the level you'll need to grab three gems and complete the unique bonus objective for the stage you are currently gracing. Finding all of the hidden secrets is the real challenge in Captain Toad, so just flying through and grabbing the star without taking your time to explore will not give you as much pleasure out of this game. I highly recommend that you spend the time needed to find every single secret, as only then will you see the magic that is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
One of my favourite things about Captain Toad is that it is built with the Gamepad in mind. You are always in control of the camera using the right stick, while the touchscreen can be used to interact and manipulate certain objects within the levels, be that turning a wheel in order to move a platform or using your finger to raise and lower said platforms. You can also use the gyroscope to look around the level instead of using the stick.
Of course no game is perfect and what I'd really love to see next, if there is a sequel, is for Nintendo to fill it out a bit more. Adding more information such as your stats to the end of each level would be nice. I feel it was the right decision not to include a timer, but perhaps it would be nice to at least know how long it took you to find everything in a level so that you could do it quicker next time. It'd also be nice to know if you found every secret and it'd be nice if there was a few more of them.
As I mentioned, there's no story, not even any text, yet somehow Captain Toad seems to come across as a charming, challenging game which will always keep you coming back for more. I really hope this is a successful title for Nintendo, because I'd love nothing more than to see a more fleshed out sequel or perhaps even the Captain take part in another title of his very own.
Words by Joe Anderson.
Twiter: @_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta
(Version Tested: Wii U)
+ Challenging and fun
+ Looks Charming
+ Great use of the Gamepad
- Menus are a little basic / not enough stats etc..