News Article

First Impressions: Solving the Puzzle of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Posted by Morgan Sleeper

Toad Captain! My Captain!

Sometimes games play host to smaller experiences so fun they could easily stand as full-fledged titles of their own. Kirby games are famous for this, of course, with Kirby Fighters & Dedede’s Drum Dash on offer in the pink puffball’s latest outing, though Mario’s also been known to get in on the act — Super Mario 3D World’s Captain Toad stages, for example, were a delightful diversion from the main platforming quest. Apparently Nintendo thought rather highly of them as well, as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker — a full game based on the mini-maze concept introduced in those bonus levels — was announced as part of the Digital Event at E3 this year. After spending some time with Toad’s first marquee title, we think Nintendo has made an excellent choice — Treasure Tracker looks set to be a great expansion of the concept, and a fantastically fun puzzle game in its own right.

We were able to try three levels of Captain Toad in our time on the floor, and each one felt unique. The first stage was most similar to the Captain Toad levels we were familiar with from Super Mario 3D World — we made our way deliberately around a small, self-contained, cube-shaped maze, hoping to collect coins and three shining gems (in place of the green stars of 3D World) before reaching the star which signifies the end of the level. There were spinning platforms, trap floors, rotating rooms, and patrolling enemies along the way, and as in the original mini-game stages from 3D World, the fun comes from working within the limitations of Toad’s abilities — he can’t jump or attack — and exploring the environment from different perspectives. The TV and GamePad show slightly different views (with the GamePad giving a closer look at the stage), and you’ll need to use both, as well as manipulate the camera with the right stick and peer around with the GamePad’s gyroscope, to spot all the coins and gems hidden within each world. In a sense, reading the stage becomes the puzzle in and of itself; rather than manipulating elements within the level, as in most puzzle games, you’re tasked instead with manipulating the level until you can figure out its layout and secrets - an incredibly satisfying process.

The second stage we tried switched things up entirely: from the start, we waddled Toad over to a waiting mine cart, and then the real fun began. Hopping in the cart took us on an on-rails ride in and around the field, where the TV gave a zoomed-out, third-person perspective of the action, and the GamePad provided a full 360° Toad’s-eye view of the world, as well as the ability to toss turnips from the relative safety of the cart. Here the differences between the TV and GamePad displays were even more pronounced than in the first level; we were constantly shifting our attention between the two, and constantly discovering gems and coins on one screen we’d missed on the other - often just in the nick of time. Despite some difficulties in freely manoeuvring the GamePad as a result of its demo-unit tethering, this stage was great fun; it reminded us of a slightly sped-up Pokémon Snap — exchanging pelting Pokémon with fruit for trying to hit Piranha Plants and gems with vegetables — and the one-shot nature of the on-rails run meant we were itching to replay it and do better the second we reached the finish line.

The third level we played was a haunted house-style stage, which added another mechanic: moveable parts. There were several doors on the outside of the house which could be moved by tapping or dragging them on the GamePad’s touchscreen, and in order to get Toad to all three gems (and the exit, of course), we had to work out multi-step puzzles using these doors. Once again, panning the camera and looking around with the GamePad was key, and the final move evaded us for what must have felt like an eternity for poor Toad, doomed to enter and exit the same two doors over and over again until we got a better view of the situation and were able to work it out. It was tricky, fun, and rewarding in the same way that Pullblox puzzles are, and even though we didn’t manage to find all three gems before the exit, the big finish of Toad popping out of a door suspended in the air and crushing a stack of six Goombas with a gloriously fortuitous butt-stomp made us feel like winners anyway.

The Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World were already beautiful, but Treasure Tracker improves on their visual legacy considerably. While the 3D World stages were marked by pixel-like configurations of blocks and a 3D grid aesthetic, Treasure Tracker’s courses are more organic looking, with the type of varied terrain and settings you might expect in a mainline Mario game. Sharp and varied textures, bright colours, distinctly charming animations and gorgeous lighting effects — including the beam from Toad’s head-mounted lamp — bring the art style to life, and the compact, cubic, Escher-esque stage designs make the game feel like an collection of lovingly rendered dioramas to be picked up, twirled around, and explored one by one. The sides of each stage are particularly appealing, especially when water runs off the angled edges like Mushroom Kingdom-themed infinity pools.

Due for release before the year is out, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker seems sure to satisfy fans of the original stages in Super Mario 3D World as well as puzzle-loving Wii U gamers in general. While we don’t know exactly how many stages will make it into the final game, a Nintendo rep assured us that there would be plenty of content, and that we’ll learn more about specifics and further features in the coming months. In the meantime, we certainly enjoyed our time with the Captain; Treasure Tracker takes the wonderfully unique gameplay concept of the 3D World bonus stages and runs with it, improving on and expanding the idea into what already feels like Toad’s first chance to truly shine.

Be sure to check out our other hands on features from E3:

From the web

Game Screenshots

User Comments (99)



Octane said:

I've said it many times, but I'll do it again, I'm really looking forward to this, it looks very promising.

@Dark-Luigi What do you mean by ''Luigi U''?



Plutonian said:

Yep, I was incredibly happy to see this announced. This is a definite buy, but I do wonder about the price point.



XFsWorld said:

I'm slick mad that they made this a full retail game. Nobody asked for this! So this and Smash is our only 2 holiday releases?!



Goginho said:

Like Nintendo read my, and many others', mind with this
Although, I honestly was leaning more toward a 3DS version, you know, the 3D and all. Woulda been perfect for that reason alone.



sillygostly said:

@XFsWorld A lot of people asked for this via Miiverse (including my little brother). I was surprised that they actually went ahead and did it though. I love the idea of Toad finally having his own game.



C-Olimar said:

Question is, will the concept last for 60 levels? I trust Nintendo to deliver a quality experience but there's only so far they can go with the basic gameplay. So far we have seen a shooting level so I'm sure Ninty have more up their sleeve. I'd like one where Toad auto-walks, it a March of the Minis type level.

As a side note, is there a reason Shy Guys only appear in spin offs?



Nik-Davies said:

@XFsWorld What do you mean nobody asked for this? TONS of people asked for this. This was one of the biggest surprises at E3. Granted I only went as far as asking for an eShop title and I'm worried about if it's enough to cover a full retail game, but still. CAPTAIN TOAD!



Cav44 said:

I'm certainly looking forward to it. This is the sort of title I'd like to have installed so I can drop in whenever, as with NES remix etc. Has it been confirmed as retail disc and E-shop? Or have my lazy eyes missed the info somewhere?



OorWullie said:

I'm really looking forward to this,looks great.I bet in years from now this will be remembered as a classic in the same way the original Luigis Mansion is,just you wait and see



NintyMan said:

Besides Smash Bros., this is my most anticipated game, believe it or not. I enjoyed the Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World and wanted more, and I also thought they were a bit too easy, which will hopefully be remedied this time. I have no doubt there will be more than enough stages in this. This will be Toad's biggest game since Wario's Woods when he was the hero for the first time.

I wonder what the story will be, if there is any.



Cav44 said:

Hah, MIssed that, Thanks!! Trying to watch Moto GP, have a beer and keep up with all of the excellent Nintendo/E3 news is proving too much...



Fazermint said:

Any word on pricing? I liked the Captain Toad levels in SM3DW but I'm not sure if I'd pay full retail price for this game.



FragRed said:

Out of all the games that Nintendo revealed at E3, this is the only one I have yet to pre-order and am still on the fence about it. It just didn't do anything for me at the reveal in the digital event.



Warruz said:

@XFsWorld If you are talking purely Holiday as in end of November-December then Sonic Boom and and Watch Dogs should also be out around then. But we have a few good ones while we wait like Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2.



zool said:

I thought months ago that sort of game would be ideal on the 3ds.



Action51 said:

While this obviously recycles a lot of the art assets from Super Mario 3d World, it's good to see they added more "organic" design elements and expanded upon the visual and thematic styles.

Don't get lazy Nintendo! Make us really want this game by adding some cool features and game modes!



jariw said:

In addition to the 3 levels discussed in this article, 2 others (the dragon boss and the level on the train) was shown on Treehouse Live. The level on the train was considerably larger than the other 3 levels. I think a full-featured release in terms of content is possible.



dinosauryoshi said:

Just started playing Super Mario 3D World a couple of days ago and I absolutely love it. I've very much enjoyed the toad levels so far and this'll almost certainly be a day one purchase for me like so many of the other games Nintendo showed us at this year's E3. I'm a very happy Wii U owner right now! Can't wait to hear more.



BrownGamer4 said:

So excited for this game! It's amazing to me how some people who don't like the concept of this game expect everybody else to share their limited opinion-people want this title(people like myself)..get over it.



DarkCoolEdge said:

The game looks great. I enjoyed Toad's Super Mario 3D World levels a lot despite them being quite easy. I'm certainly going to get this one. Mini-carts! Trains! BOSSES!
Well done Nintendo. It doesn't sound like a heavy hitter but it surely will be very fun.



Blackleg_sanji said:

So we got
Super smash brosU
Hyrule warriors
Bayonetta 2
Sonic boom
And captain toad...lookimg good this year guy's



Meaty-cheeky said:

This game look so much fun, Its the great Captain Toad mini games from Super Mario 3D Worlds but on a larger scale plus some old Super Mario 2 game play in the mix. Cant wait!



IRNBRU115 said:

Looks pretty good, nothing that makes me go "OH MY GOD" but I'm absolutely sure this will do a SM3DW and the next ad we see will be MIND-BLOWING



Dpishere said:

Hmm I was under the impression that this was an E-Shop title and am quite surprised to hear that it isn't. I still need to get around to purchasing 3D World!



0utburst said:

This game, Yoshi's WW, and Splatoon are my favorite on Nintendo's E3 reveal/lineup this year.



ricklongo said:

You guys think Dedede's Drum Dash could be a "full-fledged" game? Really? More like a cheap mobile game (which isn't meant as an insult, by the way).

But yes, I'm cautiously optimistic about this one. Wouldn't pay full retail price, though.



Giygas_95 said:

Personally, I can't wait for this. I absolutely loved these levels in 3D World but felt that there weren't enough of them so this is quite welcome.



daveh30 said:

Really excited for this. I loved the Captain Toad levels in SM3DW and was hoping we'd get more. I kinda expected we'd see them as DLC for SM3DW, but this is even better!



ikki5 said:

Shy guys were initially introduced Mario bros 2. Also if you look at the RPG series, they are in those as well



Jarod said:

these levels were actually my favourite part of 3d world this is great



Savino said:

I want this game, but if they go in the retail price point, I am all out!

I pay gladly 20$ for a downloadable version, but retail is just a rip-off!



sinalefa said:

I won't lie if I say that whenever I beat a World in 3D World, I would immediately rush to the next world and look for the Captain Toad stage.

I still think they should have the option of a DLC download if you own 3D World, preferably at a lower price than retail to reward early adopters and as an extra incentive to take the plunge for those who haven't played the Cat Mario adventure. I also want to know the length of the game and the retail price.



erv said:

I'm buying. This has the polish we need, and of course I loved the toad levels in the first place.

It's an extremely pleasant surprise from a wonderful e3 if you ask me.



LtAldoRaine said:

If they expand the concept way beyond the levels seen on 3D World, which seems to be what they're doing, it would be a great puzzle game.



Alucard83 said:

They might flatline with this game. Hope they won't milk people by charging a lot of money. Once you're through you're through kinda looking game. But that's my opinion



jrob23 said:

I don't understand people either pissed that this game was made or that it could be full retail price point. This looks every bit as good as SM3DW but with vastly different mechanics. People are always asking for new IP and new experiences and this gives both. Why should this be an eshop game? If it has 40-50 levels it is worthy of being viewed as any other game. Personally it's games like this and Wooly World that really set Nintendo apart and shows their talent. We all want more games for this year and this is one of them. Be happy and thankful



WanderingPB said:

Since i first played the Capt Toad level in SM3DW i thought to myself this is pretty kool i actually wouldnt mind more of these levels…maybe even its own game…

But a full game based on Capt Toad would have to offer more than just clever puzzles & designs to merit a full retail release especially full retail price.

Like when SM3DW was introduced last E3 everyone didnt really feel the magic until they finally got their hands on the finished product. I believe there's more to Capt Toad then meets the eye and Nintendo is holding back something whether its multiplayer or a new dynamic to Capt Toad which we haven't seen yet. But thats jus my assumption and we all know what happens when people assume things right?

Regardless im looking forward to how Capt Toad first game will end up and wonder if this might be the beginning of a new franchise that will find its way into the greats or dare i say Smash????



Kirk said:

Super Mario 3D World's graphics really are lovely for the most part and they look just as good here, if not even slightly better for whatever reason(s).

The lack of any real geometry in the distance also actually works much better with these little floating puzzle type levels than it did with the actual Mario levels imo. In Super Mario 3D World I had a small issue with fact that the levels didn't really feel like proper full levels set inside an actual living and breathing world but more like floating obstacle courses, which to me kinda lessened the overall quality of the experience slightly (in that one particular way). Here it looks totally fine imo.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker looks like a simple fun little game, probably more of a digital download title or worthy of DLC than a full retail product in this day and age but it looks very solid for what it is.



DarkLloyd said:

I didnt even ask for thos yet I want it lol name your price and its day one physical release for me



JaxonH said:


Well, it's not. It's $60, which is the cost of video games nowadays. But yeah, maybe you shouldn't buy any new video game unless it's free, or $7.



JaxonH said:


Since when did new games announced have to only be things you asked for? It's not Nintendo's perogative to take a list of everything people ask for and only make those games. It's their job to make what THEY think will be fun, and allow us to discover why it's so fun. Besides, everyone asks for something different. You might just want Metroid, while guy over here wants Star Fox, and dude over here wants a new IP. Everyone doesn't want the same thing. And for two, gamers don't really know what they want- alot of times they "ask" for something only to see it and say "I didn't want that". And for three, what they do ask for is always the same group of stuff.

Nintendo are the artists, not us. We wouldn't presume to tell Picasso what or how he should paint, right? Let them do their thing, and just enjoy the end result. It's Nintendo, the games are always good.

***But for the record, there actually were people who wanted this. Pretty much everyone who played Super Mario 3D World said they should make a Captain Toad game.



JaxonH said:


Full price. But rest assured, Nintendo said it will be a full game's worth of content. They're not gonna be selling us a half game for $60. I think people just have it in their mind that it won't be a lot of content because Super Mario 3D World Captain Toad Stages were small and few. But evidently, this will indeed be a fully fledged game, probably just as big a game as Super Mario 3D World was.



Fazermint said:

@JaxonH Hm, all right. I was on the fence about this game, and still am. I'll be consulting reviews to see just how much content it'll end up having.



Captain_Gonru said:

As far as how being retail will affect price, I'd look to NSLU. You arguably get a "full game's worth" of content for $30. For $60, I'm hoping for some kind of multiplayer and/or board creator. Imagine something in the vein of Lost Vikings for starters.



Williaint said:

This game looks like fun, But I'm kind of expecting it to be less than the price of a full game. If there are over 400 puzzles, I would say it would be worth full price. My guess is it has under 100 puzzles, including the boss fights.
Super Luigi U gave people a full games worth of content, at half the price. I can imagine it could be sold for $30.

I don't think that's the final Box-art... It's releasing in the "holidays", isn't it?



unrandomsam said:

@Williaint The levels were shorter than normal and you could only play as Luigi. (Contrast that with Super Mario Bros 2 (Lost Levels) which is a full game - Easy is with Luigi - Hard is with Mario).



unrandomsam said:

A full games worth of content is :

Kirby's Adventure (Return to Dreamland) Wii
Super Smash Bros Brawl etc
3D World

Not enough content is :
Any Mario Kart

I suspect this to the closer to a NSMB game than one of the ones deserving of full price sadly.



Yoshis_VGM said:

I'm really happy that Nintendo decided to develop this game. I loved these levels in 3D World and I'm really glad they decided to flesh it out. Looking forward to the next trailer where they'll hopefully show more new concepts. As for the price, I doubt it will be a full $60. That's just a placeholder price on Amazon. $40 or $50 sound more likely. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to it!



DRL said:

Thanks for the report, @zipmon! I'm crazy excited for this one. It's funny, about a year ago I was telling my wife that it would be nice to see Mario, Luigi, Princess, and Toad all with their own distinct 3D series — looks like we're just about there! Now we just need a Peach game that plays like a cross between an RTS and Animal Crossing, allowing players to oversee and assist with the problems of the Mushroom Kingdom. Man, that could be rad.



Yoshis_VGM said:

@unrandomsam The thing that makes Mario Kart games worth the full price is the replay value. Mario Kart games have some of the highest replay value because of online. Because of the replay value, Mario Kart is worth the full price. That and the fact that the courses are impeccably designed and the gameplay is perfect.



zipmon said:

@DRL You got it! I can't wait for this to come out! And that would be awesome haha! I'd love another Peach sidescroller like Super Princess Peach too, one of my fav DS games!



Mahemoth said:

There is no game I won't be buying that Nintendo showed at E3, They all looked like unigue gaming experiences.



TobiasAmaranth said:

Price will make or break this one for me. This is NOT a full-price game, it's barely even an indie-price game no matter how much 'shiny' they put on it or how many levels they stick in. I'd already cringe at $20, personally.



Samurairu said:

@TobiasAmaranth Having heard Reggie say this is a full featured game had me cringe. It looks like fun, but I'm not willing to pay more than $15 for it and even at that it may be too much. It should be DLC imo.



XFsWorld said:

@JaxonH Captain Toad. Should have been an eShop title or even better, DLC. Based on the replies I received from my comment, I'm expecting this to do well.



JaxonH said:


I'm glad it's not an eShop title. We got a little taste of Captain Toad in 3D World, and an eShop title would just be another tease. I'm ready for a full game's worth of Captain Toad puzzle gameplay, nothing less. I mean, it's like saying you want Bayonetta 2 to only be an eShop title, or Xenoblade X, or Star Fox, like, who would want a great game to have less content as opposed to more? Just sayin, ya know?

Out of curiosity, did you play Super Mario 3D World at all? Did you play any of the Captain Toad levels, particularly the ones later in the game? It's a brilliant concept, and it's fun to the point it leaves you thirsty for more after every level. I could play an entire game of Captain Toad, and still beg for DLC to keep the good times rollin. It's just a fun gameplay premise, and I love fun games.



Mr-X9000 said:

the captain toad segaments were my least favorite part in mario 3d world, so i dont think this game derserves to even EXIST!!!



JaxonH said:


That's gotta be the statement I've disagreed with most in recent memory.

So let me get this straight. Because YOU didn't enjoy the Captain Toad segments, the rest of the human race shouldn't be entitled to this game? That's gotta be the most self-centered thing I've ever heard. Doesn't matter if millions of people loved figuring out the puzzles in Captain Toad because YOU, the center of the universe, didn't like it. Therefore it does not deserve to even exist.

What if someone says they don't like you? Does that mean YOU don't have the right to exist?
Please watch the insults — TBD



AshFoxX said:

I'm glad that Nintendo went with the special toad stages from 3D world as the standalone game as the only other game I played where the bonus stages were so addicting was Sonic 3's 'blue spheres' special stages, which was also a stand alone game if you put sonic and knuckles with a game that wasn't sonic 2 or 3 and hit the right buttons.

Imagine if Nintendo released the bonus 'match card' and 'roulette' special stages from Mario 3 onto a retail cartridge. 'just imagine.'



electrolite77 said:

Funny things on this comments thread:-

1) People saying it should be DLC when they have no idea how much content is in it or how long it will last
2) It should be free, or $7
3) I don't like it so it shouldn't EXIST
4) No one asked for this. When they did, and that isn't how Nintendo (or most other companies) decide what games get made.
5) No Mario Kart deserves to be a full price game

This is some really 'special' stuff. Solid Monday morning giggles there folks, well done



ZurrrrBlattTron said:

Well I'm happy this game is here I think it has potential to be a great game! I think the only reason people are knocking it is because it's a game that is based of a mini game, however I think that is unfair as we don't even know how many hours of content is in the game it could probably even be just as many or more hours of content as SM3DWorld



XFsWorld said:

@JaxonH No it's not the same thing. The Captain Toad levels were just bonus modes.

But yeah, I do have Super Mario 3D World, love it. And yes, I did enjoy the Captain Toad levels.



WaveGhoul said:

Amazing visuals are amazing, i'll definitely be picking this one up. looks like fun!



BassLostie said:

I'm totally getting this game too! But I wonder if it would come as a standalone game, or as Downloadable Content for Super Mario 3D World and its price would be lower......



AdanVC said:

I'm willing to pay the full $60 for this game if that's the price they set. Since the first Captain Toad level I played in SM3DW I totally fell in love and I wished this concept could be made into a full game, AND HERE IT IS! Now is one of my most anticipated games of 2014. And it's going to be even more awesome because this will also support Amiibo figures.



Kirk said:

I think this game looks great but the fact Toad can't jump kinda bugs me because we all know he usually can so this feels a bit off. Maybe if they'd either made it look like there's some convincing reason why he can't jump, like he's carrying a really heavy object or something (another character for example), or they'd went with another character entirely that can't normally jump, then I'd be at full peace.

Other than that one little niggle this game really does looks very solid.

Also, after seeing the mine cart sections where you use the GamePad to look around and shoot things I really think Nintendo should be working on a new Pokemon Park game that's done similarly. That would just be cool and would be a great showpiece for the GamePad which is obviously something Nintendo is particularly focused on right now.



RickyWill said:

It's most likely going to be $35-$40 in retail.

Or have over 300 puzzles, some going to a much larger scale (like the train), sure, I'll cough up $60.



IronMan28 said:

Can't wait to see how this pans out. I think if it isn't really awesome and Nintendo charges $60 USD, people will grab their pitchforks because it's perceived as lazy. I'll probably get the game, though, tbh.

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