Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is the latest in the line of recent ports from the Wii U to the Nintendo Switch.  In many other cases, with a console so early in its life cycle, most would come under heavy scrutiny for having so many re-releases already.  However, considering that the Wii U was such a flop in various regions, despite featuring some fantastic  games that many would have overlooked, titles such as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker gets a free pass and I’m grateful that such an array of great Wii U ports are getting a second chance and the commercial recognition that they deserve.

Originally featuring as a mini-game in 2013’s Super Mario 3D World (I’d love a port of that on the Switch by the way) and then getting its fully-fledged release in 2014 for the Wii U, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is just as charming now as it was four years ago as it finds itself a new home on Nintendo’s hybrid console.  The story of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a simple premise, Captain Toad and Toadette must work together to stop Wingo, a giant evil crow from stealing Power Star’s and taking over their kingdom.

To be honest, this game would still be just as fun to play, whether it had a simple story, something more complex or no story whatsoever, but it does what it needs to do by adding a little context to the subtle plot.  The reason this game shines so much, other then it’s charming characters and presentation, is the fantastically fun and addictive gameplay.  Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is essentially a series of mini-games spread over three chapters where you must navigate Captain Toad and Toadette from isometric levels, collecting coins, gold mushrooms and gold stars, all in the best time possible and if you can, beat the bonus objective that each stage has.

The levels are very cleverly designed and easy on the eye, but never take what you see at face value, because the game does a fantastic job at manipulating perspectives, because if you fail to manoeuvre the free-camera at a certain angle, you may miss some hidden treasures.  Some are even hidden in plain sight, which will have you rushing back to replay the level to mop-up all that you might have missed.  The camera manipulation must also be taken into account that Captain Toad cannot jump while he is carrying his backpack, but he can run to escape some oncoming dangers.  Just try not to be deceived by what you think you may see before you, because you might find Captain Toad falling off the stage and losing a life.  So remember to manoeuvre that camera!

Having played Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker in both docked and handheld mode, I noticed some differences in what each one has to offer from a gameplay perspective.  For example, while playing in handheld mode, you can manipulate and move some environmental object by use of the touch-screen controls.  However, if you play in docked mode with the Pro Controller, obviously you want be able to use the touch-screen functions, but instead, just like when using the Joy-Cons, those environmental objects are now manipulated via a cursor that appears on screen and moves around the screen courtesy of the built-in motion controls of the Pro Controller and Joy-Cons.  That cursor can get a little distracting at times, but it’s really a matter of preference as to what your preferred control method might be.

Visually, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a pleasure on the eye to behold.  Its full of vibrant colours and charm, its menu system is easy to navigate, the game also makes great use of manipulating its world and camera angles to offer a decent amount of challenge, and replayability.  From what I can tell, there’s not a whole lot of difference in terms of visual quality when comparing the Wii U and Switch version, other than the Switch is at 1080p when docked.  In handheld mode, the game puts out at 720p, regardless on whichever way you choose to play, both looks and runs gorgeously.

I must also add that the game does feature two-player co-op and depending on which chapter you’re playing, duties will be shared between controlling the characters, working the camera, manoeuvring environmental objects and firing turnips.  However, it seems you can only play two-player by splitting the two Joy-Cons; the two-player mode is exclusive to the Switch version of the game.  Another exclusive to this re-release is that it also includes four new levels, inspired by Super Mario Odyssey.  However, the Switch version no longer has levels inspired by Super Mario 3D World, as seen on the Wii U, which is a shame.

It’s quite mad to consider that despite releasing and being designed for the Wii U in mind four years ago, with its hybrid handheld and docked features, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is the perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch, even more so then when it released for the Wii U.  It’s a fantastically fun game to play for which you can easily loose several hours having “just one more go.”  Due to some commercial failures on its previous console, this was a game that was much overlooked, but now in 2018, if you’re a Nintendo Switch owner, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a game that should not be overlooked.