Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Preview
Kalvin Martinez / Nov 10th, 2014 No Comments
Nintendo laid down its plans for 2014 and beyond at E3 2014. The majority of the company’s plans for the rest of the year revolved around previously announced titles, but there was one surprise — Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
The game, starring frequent Mario side-character Toad, is an expanded version of the mini-game offered in Super Mario 3D World. However, Captain Toad is much more than a few mini-games. After having the opportunity to experience Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, it is clear that the game distinguishes itself on its own merits.
Don’t Stop Running
The basic mechanics in Captain Toad are not dissimilar from its Super Mario 3D World counterpart. Toad cannot jump, but he can run, and pick things out of the ground and throw them. In a similar fashion to Mario, he can be hit twice before it is game over. Acquiring a mushroom will restore Toad’s health.
When playing through the demo’s three episodes, one thing becomes clear: never stop running. While Toad can walk, it is always in your benefit to keep running through a level. In one of the episodes, Toad scampers through a level full of donut blocks. The blocks functioned similar to their previous appearances; once Toad steps on them, they will start to give way. To avoid a long fall into oblivion, run across the donut blocks while dodging enemies and collecting as many coins as possible.
The other dynamic at play is the camera. Players will always need to move the camera around. Much like in 3D World, different camera angles reveal secrets and additional information hidden throughout levels. For instance, Toad walks through a garden in one level. Large hedges throughout the garden are disconnected from each other, but moving the camera around will reveal a set of switches that can be pressed to raise platforms and connect them.
The goal is to create the proper route to the star high above in a tower. This involves hitting switches in the proper order to connect the right hedges and lower the door blocking the tower. In order to get a better view of each switch and path, the camera must be rotated constantly.
Toad is not the sole star of the show. Toadette will give a go at levels occassionally. In one level during the demo, Toadette rides a moving platform while avoiding flying hammers from several Hammer Brothers. Toadette can use turnips pulled from the ground to her advantage by blocking incoming hammers and throwing them at Hammer Brothers.
This level also shows off Toad’s (or Toadette’s) new powers. A mole running around underground can be picked up to earn a coin, but doing it a second time causes the mole to drop a new power-up, the Super Pickax. This gives Toadette the ability to break through special blocks and rack up some serious coinage by striking at a turnip patch.
And the Beep Goes On
Beep blocks make a return in Captain Toad. The timing-based block levels from Super Mario 3D World are back, but they are more challenging in Toad’s world, mostly due to Toad’s inability to jump. Timing, running and camera angles all are important in when passing through beep blocks.
As with the original beep blocks, music plays a role in these areas. Timing movement with the beat is a good way to be successful, even if it takes some time to get in step. And just to make sure things aren’t too easy, a Fire Bro. throws fireballs at Toad from the middle of the stage. All of these obstacles coming together at once make for a quite a challenge.
Shinin like the Finest Diamonds
Toad has a simple goal in each level: make it to the end and collect a star. Collecting coins is important (because Mario), but there are additional goals to keep in mind when playing, including avoiding Shy Guys. For those looking for an even greater challenge, players can locate and collect diamonds hidden throughout each level.
In general, diamonds range from the obvious (i.e. hanging in plain sight) to the hidden, which require some careful maneuvering of the camera. Attempting to collect diamonds will put your success in the level at risk, whether it’s trying to grab it before a donut block falls or place Toad in harm’s way. Collecting diamonds is not necessary, and those who collect all of them are overachievers.
An Intrepid Explorer
Toad has been a fixture of the Mario universe for a long time, but this is the first time he gets the spotlight. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is every bit as charming as Super Mario 3D World, maybe even more so. The game features more than 70 stages. If the short bit we tried is any indication, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is much more than a collection of mini-games.
tags: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker , nintendo , preview , Super Mario 3D World , wii-u