by Matthew Thompson (Images-Nintendo, this game’s E3 site can be found here)
(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I’m not there, just watching from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)
I’ve enjoyed E3 overall, but came away most impressed with Nintendo’s showing. During their short video presentation this year, they seemed to just roll out game after game that I wanted to play. One of the most pleasant surprises for me was Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. I am still without a Wii U (something I plan to remedy before the 2014 is over), so I have not had the pleasure of playing Super Mario 3D World. As a result, this new title caught me off-guard more than most. It is apparently inspired by some levels in Mario’s latest Wii U platformer. Short of new IPs (something Nintendo also introduced during E3 and I will get to later on in my E3 recaps), I love the idea of Nintendo exploring new types of gameplay with some of its slightly less famous game characters. Luigi got his chance to shine recently in New Super Luigi U and a sequel to Luigi’s Mansion. I also enjoyed playing Super Princess Peach years ago on the Nintendo’s original dual-screen handheld and the plethora of Yoshi games released over the years. And now the lovable Toad character will get to break away from some of the more famous Mushroom Kingdom residents to star in an original game of his own on the Wii U.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker eschews the traditional platforming style of Mario titles for a much more puzzle-focused affair. You’ll still be navigating the environments in search of a star like you do with the famous plumber, but you’ll do so without the aid of a jump button. Instead you will manipulate the world, shifting areas about to try to waddle your way through to the end collecting gems along the way (hence the Treasure Tracker moniker). They showed off a few different levels including one involving a mine cart ride, one based around a haunted mansion, and another featuring a boss fight against the magnificent looking dragon pictured above. The game also features familiar enemies like Goombas and Boos as well as a turnip pulling mechanic, something Toad has excelled at since way back in the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2. Based on the footage shown at the event, Toad is going to be faced with some real head-scratchers as he chases down treasure in his very first starring role.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker looks like an excellent way to explore some new ideas within a familiar universe. The graphics are beautiful and the lead character is quite charming. It looks like a great upcoming addition to the Wii U’s line-up, a system that is poised for a big 2015 in the software department.