If you make a purchase after following a link on our site, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Review – Shining Bright Like a Diamond

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (1)-min (1)

Bet you’ve always wondered what goes on with the Mario universe sidekicks when they’re off duty.

Turns out that none other than Toad himself, has a bit of a side job. Treasure hunting! Originally released on Wii U, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a puzzle game now available for Nintendo Switch and 3DS. It tells the story of Toad and Toadette and their adventures hunting for treasure in their wacky, exciting, and dangerous world.

A fowl plot

Toad and Toadette’s adventure starts on a beautiful, sunny day. While exploring, the loveable duo find a shiny star, but they aren’t the only ones with their eyes on the prize. The giant bird Wingo tries to snatch the star from them but Toadette holds on to it for dear life.

Before Toad has a chance to react, Wingo flies away with not only the star but Toadette as well! As Toad, players must fight through levels of challenging puzzles and dangerous enemies to claim back the stolen treasures of Wingo and save Toadette.

With over 70 courses to play, including brand new levels from Super Mario Odyssey, players should expect to enjoy several hours with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. After beating the first episode of the game you’ll even be able to play as Toadette with Toad as the honorary “damsel in distress”.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

Pretty painless puzzles

The first few levels of Treasure Tracker are pretty easy to figure out. Your main goal is to get the star. In order to this you must manoeuvre around the level dodging enemies, pulling levers, pressing buttons and more. Each stage also includes a number of coins, mushrooms, and three diamonds for the player to search for – but these are mostly optional. I say ‘mostly optional’ because, when you reach different points during the game, you’ll need to have collected a certain number of diamonds in order to progress. So you don’t have to get every diamond, but it’s worth collecting as many as you can.

Once you complete the first episode and begin playing as Toadette, the levels grow in difficulty exponentially. The touch screen controls feel clunky at times; you spin a wheel and it may not spin at the proper speed, or it sometimes gets stuck, despite frantically rubbing the screen – and this added an unnecessary, frustrating level of difficulty. With practice and determination you’ll get used to the more complicated trials and tribulations, but trust me, you’ll miss the simplicity of episode one.

Camera non-obscura

The only real game mechanics that Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker use involve moving your character around and moving the camera around. It reminds me of the puzzle platformer Fez in that you can see almost all of the level at one time. Imagine a hollow cube filled with hallways and staircases: you can see everything at the front of the cube. Then, by turning the cube around, you can see what’s hidden behind. Treasure Tracker is just like that, at least for many of its levels. This mechanic allows the players to see where many of the items in the level are all at once and make it possible to plan their strategy.

There are exceptions to this, of course – such as a diamond that’s hidden behind a secret doorway that is only revealed by hitting a certain button – but most of the time the player can see everything contained in the level at a glance. It was an ingenious choice to make moving the camera around a key element of  puzzle solving, not least because it saved played from a frustrating fixed angle.

Mines, bosses and slides, oh my!

In and among the beautiful puzzle levels, players will come across even more fun and creative challenges. There are few levels where Toad or Toadette rides in a minecart and the players, in a first person point-of-view, must try to collect coins and hit enemies while the cart is continuously moving. There are also levels where the character slides down a slide and has to avoid falling off while keeping up with their forward momentum. Additionally, in some of my favourite levels players must tap their Switch screen (or use one of the triggers on the controller when playing in TV mode) to move portions of the map around.

Best of all, though, are Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker’s boss battles. The first battle you’ll come across is The King of Pyropuff Peak where you must complete an entire level collecting diamonds, coins, and the star while dodging attacks from an angry dragon. You may see this fella more than once during your adventure. Another great boss battle is that blasted bird Wingo herself, which is broken up into two separate parts. The diversity of the levels with the addition of the boss battles to break up the puzzles really rounds out Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker nicely.

Another round, Please!

Unexpectedly, where Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker shines most is in its replayability. If you gun for the stars first in every level, you can probably complete the game is just a few hours. But the real fun is in going back to levels a few different times to collect all of the items, find the Pixel Toad (a pixel version of Toad hidden on the map somewhere), and finish those optional objectives. If you rush through levels, you miss a great deal of what makes Treasure Tracker really stand out; it’s incredibly rewarding to go back and scope out a level and figure out where everything is and what everything does.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker also has the option to add a second player. In two player mode one character plays as Toad moving about the level while the other throws turnips at enemies in order to protect the other player. Just another reason to go back to Treasure Tracker a second or third time if you’re stuck and think you might fair better with a friend.

Overall then, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a diamond of a game and a welcome addition to the ever growing titles available for the Nintendo Switch. The puzzles are fun and challenging as well as diverse and creative. If you’re a fan of puzzle/platformer games, then Captain Toad on Switch comes highly recommended. Recruit a friend for even more fun. Just makes sure they’re ready for an adventure!

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is available on Nintendo Switch and 3DS. We reviewed the Switch version.
Becca knew that she would be addicted to video games for the rest of her life when she saw the first pixelated zombie shambling across her TV screen while playing Resident Evil 3. She particularly enjoys being scared, laughing until she cries, or just plain crying while experiencing games. When she isn't playing games she loves spoiling her cat Usagi and eating any kind of sushi she can find.