When I initially played through Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on the Nintendo Wii U, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel that it’d be better suited to a portable console the whole way through. Nintendo has obviously realised this too, and in addition to wanting to sell more copies, they obviously believed that it’s a great fit for both the 3DS and the Nintendo Switch, and they were right.
I play the Switch in portable mode for most of the time, which better suits Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. It’s really the only first-party Wii U game that Nintendo has ported to the Switch needs the touch screen. The game literally relied on you using the touch screen in the Wi U version to solve puzzles and stun enemies, and the same is necessary here (and works really well in portable mode), but obviously Nintendo had to come up with another solution to make the game work in docked mode.
They’ve done a pretty good job at this to be honest. When you’re playing in docked mode, you’ll need to use the Joy-Con seperate, with the right Joy-Con acting as a pointer. You’ll be able to spin the on-screen wheel to move the staircase, or point at your enemies Mario Galaxy style to stun them. It works a lot better than the Wii pointer ever did, as it’s using the gyroscope rather than the unreliable sensor bar.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a great fit for the Switch. There’s 70 or so levels, and I’ll be honest in saying that most of them use similar puzzle mechanics, have similar enemies and feel quite similar in the way they look, so this game is best played when you’re going through a level or two at a time, rather than smashing through the whole 70 or so in a few sittings. This was my major issue with the Wii U. Turning on my Wii U was a lot more effort than quickly jumping into the Switch, so the game never reached its full potential on the platform. The game obviously looks fantastically vibrant on the Switch too, both in portable mode and docked mode. From the outside, Captain Toad looks like any standard Mario game, but once you get your hands on, you’ll realise it’s completely different. The main difference (which is jarring at first) is the fact that Toad can’t jump. You’ll be playing in levels that are familiar with enemies that you think you know how to handle, but because Toad can’t jump, you’ll need to use your wits to solve puzzles and defeat (or avoid) enemies.
The game is a budget title at almost half the price of other first-party Switch games, and it honestly suits that price point near perfectly. It’s not so much the length that bothered me, but more-so the repetitiveness the ensues through the game. Going into the second and third chapters, I was expecting the game to throw more and more at me, but it would tease me with a new level, before quickly taking me to what felt like a re-skin of other levels that I’d played before. Nintendo is still to be commended with the creativity in this game, which must have been tough with the design constraints they had placed on themselves.
As with all games that Nintendo release these days, you’re able to let a second player jump in for the first time. As with previous Mario games, they won’t get to play as another character, but will rather take the role of unleashing turnips upon the many enemies that roam each level. It’s a great way to get non-gamers involved.
As far as new content goes, there’s four new levels that are based on four Kingdoms from Super Mario Odyssey but they come at a cost. Nintendo has cut the four Super Mario 3D World levels from the game, but these weren’t that good to begin with, so it’s not a huge loss. As with most of the Switch ports, I can’t help but feel that Nintendo could have done a little more in terms of providing new content to the Nintendo purists that had previously picked up the game.
THE NINTENDO SWITCH VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is another great Wii U game that is made better by the Nintendo Switch's portability. It's a fun experience that doesn't overstay its welcome, but definitely does feel repetitive in certain areas.