A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a puzzle adventure game for the Nintendo Wii U and Switch. It features simple controls and a very easy learning curve for players of all ages. There's no inappropriate content, although it has some light violence, such as throwing turnips at creatures who disappear in a puff of smoke when hit. Some levels are based on older Mario titles and could possibly raise interest in purchasing these games.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In CAPTAIN TOAD: TREASURE TRACKER, you must navigate trap- and enemy-filled worlds to collect items (coins and other gems, gold stars and power-ups), take on enemies who stand in your way, and figure out a way to solve each maze-like level. The story follows Captain Toad and Toadette, who are out treasure hunting. When they climb to get a Power Star, it's nabbed by a giant Wingo bird, who also grabs Toadette. Your job is to find Toadette and retrieve the Power Star. Players can swing the camera around 360 degrees, which can offer a closer view of upcoming dangers and hidden items. The game fuses platforming elements, light combat (from third- and first-person views), collectibles, and lots of puzzle solving. The Nintendo Switch version includes four new Super Mario Odyssey-themed levels, as well as a sharable experience with the Joy-Con controllers, where one player controls Toad while the other handles the camera and tosses turnips at obstacles.
Is it any good?
This clever puzzle game will keep you playing for hours, and it's great to see a new character step out of Mario's considerable shadow with a fun adventure of his own. Even though Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is based around the outdated "damsel in distress" premise, that's not what you're buying this title for; instead, you're really investing in a significant number of brainteasing puzzles. As they work to retrieve the Power Star and rescue Toadette, gamers will encounter many worlds to navigate to collect precious items, combat enemies and bosses, and figure out how to bypass environmental obstacles. For example, you might need to pull a switch or step on a plate in a given order, which will extend a platform to walk to the end of the level. You have limited mobility -- you can't run or even jump -- but by studying the task at hand along with some trial and error, you'll figure out what's necessary. Puzzles, levels, and extra challenges are varied and rewarding.
The Nintendo Switch version of the game vastly improves gameplay as well. It removes the need to blow through the microphone to move platforms or rely on a touchscreen in the Wii U version, instead giving tighter, more responsive controls thanks to the console's Joy-Con controllers. Families can help each other through this new control scheme, with one person controlling Toad and the other handling the camera -- this is perfect if a younger player gets stuck and needs help from an older sibling or parent. It's also nice to see four levels based off the wildly popular Super Mario Odyssey game get a puzzle makeover. The New Donk City level is especially fun to navigate through, with its town and skyscraper-themed stage. Although younger gamers might get frustrated trying to figure out all of the game's puzzles, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a charming puzzle/platformer hybrid for the whole family to enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. Do you think the violence in this game is any worse than cartoons found on TV? Could Toad avoid committing violence during his adventures, or is it completely unavoidable?
Do you think that Toadette needs to be saved by Toad? Should she be able to save Toad at times? Why does this type of storyline persist in games, movies, and other media?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: July 13, 2018
- Genre: Arcade
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.