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Review: “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” for Nintendo Wii U

Brian Gaar

Toad is my least favorite video game character. The squawking, ostensibly genderless mushroom creature has unfortunately been a fixture of Nintendo games since the days of “Super Mario Bros.”

The problem with Toad is he never contributes to the main story. He’s just there to give you bad news about the princess being in another castle, or to shout helpful advice like, “HEY! LOOK OVER THERE!!”

Toad’s like the person who shows up to your house party 30 minutes early and your girlfriend’s like, “Who is this guy? He’s eating out of our fridge and the dog hates him.”

He’s also in everything. “Super Mario Bros.?” He ruins every castle. “Mario Kart?” Every single one. “Luigi’s Mansion?” He’s in there, probably annoying some ghosts.

Now Nintendo has released “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker,” the first game in 20 years to star Toad as a main character. Why did Nintendo think this was a good idea? No one knows.

The gameplay expands on the Adventures of Captain Toad minigame from “Super Mario 3D World.” And it has all the usual Nintendo polish — it looks great, especially on the Wii U’s HD graphics.

Toad stars a treasure-hunting spelunker who you must help navigate a cube-like world as he collects stars. The catch is, Toad can’t jump. He can definitely walk, though, and also pull up plants and clear obstacles with a pickaxe (but can he ever truly love?). As the player, you control Toad and use the touch screen on the Wii U GamePad to rotate the level (which resembles a big Rubik’s Cube) and reveal hidden areas.

Despite my burning hatred of the main character, “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” is good harmless fun. As in the “Super Mario World” series, there is a fair amount of clever design in the levels. But overall, “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” doesn’t feel like a fully featured game, just a series of quick puzzles to figure out.

Still, at least it’s not as annoying as its main character.

“Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker”

$45, for Nintendo Wii U

Rated E for Everyone

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