Video Game: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

"Ready for adventure!"

Taking the Captain Toad levels from Super Mario 3D World to their logical extreme, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a Puzzle Platformer spinoff of the Super Mario Bros. seriesnote  that puts you in the shoes of the Captain of the Toad Brigade, making this the first game where (a) Toad was the primary player character since Wario's Woods. While out adventuring with Toadette, the pair come across a power star, but just as they are about to claim it, a giant bird snatches it, along with Toadette, and flies off. It's now up to the Captain to get Toadette back, while collecting treasure through various levels.

Sounds easy, right? Well, there's the tiny fact that some of the levels can get rather complicated. You see, unlike Mario, Captain Toad can't jump (his backpack weighs him down). There's also the fact that the usual mooks from the Mario franchise aren't just going to let you make off with their coins, gems, and stars. As such, players will have to use their wits to navigate Captain Toad through breezy plains, haunted mansions, enemy filled trains, and dragon infested volcanoes and stranger locales in his quest for treasure, while making sure to grab as many valuable gems along the way.

The game has amiibo functionality, whereby scanning a Toad amiibo will unlock a hide and seek mode where the player has to track down 8-bit Toad sprites. Other figures can be scanned to get 1-up mushrooms.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Gender: Wingo is pretty androgynous, and has been referred to as both male and female by different Nintendo sources. Neither the manual nor the game itself elaborates on Wingo's gender. A Miiverse post by Shinya Hiratake, the game's director, finally clarified the matter: Wingo is male. And that isn't even the only official source that confirms Wingo to be male.
  • Ascended Extra: While Toadette was seen in Mario spin-off games such as Mario Kart and Mario Party, this is the first non-Mario game where Toadette along with Captain Toad are the main characters as well as being playable.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The game centers around Captain Toad, a recurring NPC in Mario games on Wii and beyond. Not since Wario's Woods (1994) did the Toad character manage to get a game for himself.
    • Toadette gets this treatment as well, while she was mostly an unlockable character in the majority of her appearances in Mario spinoff games. This is the first game where she is a main character and gets focus alongside Captain Toad.
  • Action Survivor: The titular Toad himself. Without the occasional (and rather rare) power-up, Captain Toad is almost completely defenseless against enemies that normally wouldn't pose any problem for the likes of the Mario Bros., Peach, or even Mii characters. Even a basic Goomba is a serious threat to him.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Though Captain Toad is still quite a ways behind the usual Mushroom Kingdom heroes, compared to his debut in Super Mario Galaxy where he was regarded by his crew as a General Failure, in here he manages to sneak way past and occasionally take out many hordes of enemies while making off with their loot, as well as (if somewhat unintentionally) taking out a giant lava dragon without even being able to perform the most basic Mario action of jumping.
    • Similarly, Toadette has mostly appeared in spin-off titles or in an NPC role. Here she's able to do all the things that Captain Toad can do, and she's only a Damsel in Distress because she wouldn't let go of the Power Star after it was stolen by a giant crow. Even then, this is only temporary.
  • Badass Adorable: Captain Toad can defeat a dragon without jumping. We also have Toadette.
  • Balloon Belly: When you defeat Wingo, the final turnip you throw at him will be caught in his mouth. It is then swallowed whole and Wingo becomes too bloated to fly.
  • Battle in the Rain: The second part of the final level in the main story, Wingo's Whackdown, takes place during a rainstorm.
  • Big Bad: Wingo.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: These types of levels appear in the game, complete with Big Boos. Boos are actually one of the few enemies that Captain Toad can easily defeat (by using his headlamp).
  • Bookends: An almost literal variation. The prologue in the first episode contains clear blue skies, as does the battle with Wingo at the end of that book. The beginning of episode two contains pink skies, and so does the final battle with Wingo in episode three.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Mummy-Me Maze Forever, the final level unlocked. You have to navigate 50 floors of randomly-generated mazes while hounded by Mummy-Mes that follow your every move. Good luck!
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Applies to the game as a whole. There are no checkpoints anywhere except in the levels you face Wingo.
  • Continuity Nod: In Conkdor Canyon, Shadow Play Alley, and Clear Pipe Cruise, you find the green Star at the same place you find Captain Toad in Super Mario 3D World. In Shadow Play Alley, Captain Toad is still afraid of Bowser's shadow.
  • Controllable Helplessness: The Toads can't jump with their heavy backpacks, but you can press the button to try anyway.
  • Cosmetic Award: Beating Mummy-Me Maze Forever gives Toad a nifty Mushroom crown to wear.
  • Damsel in Distress: In Episode 1, Toadette gets herself captured by Wingo while being overly zealous of her pursuit of Power Stars, and it's up to Captain Toad to get her back. She becomes playable in Episode 2 after being rescued, and this time, the roles are reversed: Wingo captures the captain, and now Toadette has to save him.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Toadette is only captured for a very short time, and she becomes playable in the second book.
  • Dark Reprise: Wingo's final battle theme contains an evil-sounding version of Captain Toad's theme. It's heard about 57 seconds in.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Toadette is a fellow explorer and playable character, seeming to function the same as the good captain.
  • Distressed Dude: The second book has Toadette trying to save Toad from Wingo, in a reverse of the first book.
  • Easter Egg: Just like in Super Mario 3D World, an 8-bit Luigi is hidden in each level.
  • Edible Bludgeon: The turnips from Super Mario Bros. 2 (U.S.) make a reappearance as one of the very few means Captain Toad can attack enemies.
  • The End... Or Is It?: At the end of Episode 1, the "The End" title appears, but then it suddenly shakes and finally tilts sideways after what can only be heard as Wingo's vengeful squawking.
  • Escort Mission: The chapter "Toad Brigade, Move Out!" in the bonus book: you have to find the other three members of the Brigade and lead them to the Star. If one of them is hit once by an enemy, you lose a life.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Or at least zombielike enemies, as the Mud Troopers behave awfully similarly to zombies, moving very slowly with their arms outstretched and all.
  • Excuse Plot: Wingo kidnaps one of the Toads, and the other needs to rescue them.
  • Fake Difficulty: The Mummy-Me Maze bonus levels and, by extension, Mummy-Me Maze Forever level, which spans 50 floors, all have randomly generated layouts for each floor.
    • The gyroscope camera. It can't be disabled and causes the camera to shift upon moving the gamepad. Most of the time, it's not a big deal, since the gamepad can usually either be held still or the player is doing something that requires the touch screen or microphone that can be done at their own pace. In Magma Road Marathon, however, the Dash Panels from Super Mario 3D World cover the stage and, in this game, you can't jump. This wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact that this stage also requires using the microphone to move the panels for 100% Completion, which means moving the gamepad, thus triggering the gyroscope, which leads to a sudden change in control and very easily death.
    • The camera in Mummy-Me at Pyropuff Peaks. Normally, the angles that the player is locked to in the Draggadon stages doesn't greatly impact their ability to safely navigate the volcano, as they can sit still and observe the stage and boss without any distractions. In this version of the first Draggadon stage, however, a Mummy-Me, which functions exactly like a Cosmic Clone from the Mario games (For those unaware, they mimic the characters' every movement and harms them upon contact), is constantly on your tail and the camera angle makes it unnecessarily difficult to simultaneously avoid both obstacles and the Mummy-Me.
  • Fake Longevity: In this game, the player must not only collect all three super gems, but must complete a secondary objective as well...which isn't revealed until after completing the stage the first time. Some stages actually have to be played twice in order to fully complete them. Unless you're using a guide (or are extremely lucky), the player will likely have to otherwise play many levels twice in order to fully complete it.
  • Feathered Fiend: The main antagonist is a large black crow-like bird named Wingo, who stole the power star that Captain Toad and Toadette found. He kidnaps both Toadette and the Captain, as well.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look closely during the cutscene in Captain Toad's Trials, you can see a spire or two rising from Peach's Castle.
  • Genre Throwback: To the more puzzle-heavy Mario games of the pre-Super Mario Bros. 1 era such as Donkey Kong (indeed one level is designed to look like a Donkey Kong stage) and Wrecking Crew. As in those games, the player cannot kill enemies except with special items or under special circumstances, so the best option most of the time is to dodge enemies while trekking toward the goal.
  • Holler Button: The jump button acts as one. Toad or Toadette attempt to hop with their heavy backpack and make cute little noises while doing so.
  • I Have Your Wife: Before the final battle, Wingo kidnaps Toadette again in order to bait Captain Toad to his final castle.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Draggadon, who appears as one of the bosses in this game.
  • Irony: One of the few enemies that Captain Toad and Toadette can easily defeat without additional items are Boos, who are normally very difficult to defeat in standard Mario games. It's all thanks to their headlamps.
  • Kaizo Trap: In Mummy-Me at Pyropuff Peaks, be sure to grab that Star as soon as it lands or, at the very least, be constantly moving. If not and you don't notice the Mummy-Me reappearing right over you because you were focusing on the Star as it was landing...
  • Light 'em Up: While headlamps are good for illuminating dark places, they're also effective at defeating Boos, an enemy that even gives Mario trouble.
  • Locomotive Level: Several of the stages take place on a moving train, requiring the player to explore inside, outside, and on top of the cars.
  • Marathon Level: Mummy-Me Maze Forever has 50 floors.
  • Market-Based Title: In Japan, the game is called "Susume! Captain Kinopio (Onward! Captain Kinopionote )"
  • Minecart Madness: Mine Cart Tunnel Throwdown in Episode 1, Sundown Mine Cart Rundown in Episode 2, and Mine Cart Ruins Rumble in Episode 3. These levels are rail shooters as Toad or Toadette throws turnips at their foes while riding a mine cart.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The turnips from Super Mario Bros. 2 make a reappearance as one of the very few means Captain Toad can attack enemies.
    • Shy Guys return as enemies for the first time outside of a Yoshi title or a Mario-branded RPG.
    • Wingo has a feather on his turban which resembles a Cape Feather. He's also defeated similarly to Wart in Super Mario Bros. 2; by stuffing vegetables into his mouth.
  • Nerf: Toad can't sprint like in 3D World.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Bonus Episode's first chapter, Expedition to the Sprixie Kingdom, features four levels from Super Mario 3D World: Super Bell Hill, Conkdor Canyon, Shadow Play Alley, and Clear Pipe Cruise. With the exception of Super Bell Hill, these happen to be the levels where Mario can come across Captain Toad in 3D World. The Green Star is even located in the same places where you can find Captain Toad in the level.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you have Super Mario 3D World save data on your Wii U, the first chapter of the Bonus Episode will be unlocked automatically.
  • Powerful Pick: One of the few power-ups in the game, in a similar vein to the hammer from Donkey Kong or Super Smash Bros.. It even uses a remix of the same musical cue.
  • Prequel: Surprisingly, to Super Mario 3D World.
  • Projectile Pocketing: One of the things to keep in mind is that items, including Super Gems, can be collected by throwing things at them.
  • Puzzle Game: Hope you can get through a ''Mario'' game without jumping!
  • Rail Shooter: The minecart levels, which use the Gamepad to hurl turnips at enemies.
  • Reconstruction: Of the threat of standard Mario enemies. When you can't jump high enough to crush them, suddenly enemies that can kill you in two hits become a much bigger threat. Maybe that's why they're so good at conquering the Mushroom Kingdom over and over.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: This game reuses a few tunes from Super Mario 3D World, such as the train theme. Subverted in Mummy-Me Maze Forever, which reuses the music from the Color Panel sections in that game, but instead of the Super Mario Bros. theme or the Legend of Zelda theme at the end, it plays Captain Toad's leitmotif.
  • Retraux: The level Retro Ramp-Up is a homage to the first Donkey Kong title. The music is an 8-bit remix of Captain Toad's theme, with the bass riff from 25m.
  • Scenery Porn: Every level is gorgeous, and sometimes there are cutscenes and controllable screens that do nothing but show off how good the game looks.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Some levels require you to cause friendly fire among the enemies. For example, your path is blocked by a horde of enemies and there is simply no available means for you to dispatch them yourself... other than a Chargin' Chuck who will not let anyone else get between him and his mission to destroy you.
  • Ship Sinking: A preemptive one. The producer has stated that Captain Toad and Toadette are not romantically involved and are just "adventure pals".
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: After Toadette is freed from Wingo, she falls into the bird's treasure hoard headfirst and gets stuck. Toad then has to pull her out like a turnip.
  • Spin Attack: Toad and Toadette can spin and attack enemies with their backpacks. It's hard to do so though because you must calculate the timing and not let enemies touch you until they're dizzy.
  • Spin-Off: A full game based on the Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: There are a few levels that work like this. Being unable to attack, you'll spend most of the level sneaking past enemies.
  • Stealth Sequel: Actually a stealth prequel. The Stinger shows the intro to Super Mario 3D World, placing Treasure Tracker before that game's events, and by extension, the Captain Toad levels in 3D World.
  • The Stinger: After the credits scene, Toad sees a Green Star flying through the sky and chases after it, leaving Toadette behind. We then see the opening to Super Mario 3D World, only ending with Captain Toad chasing the star into the clear pipe.
  • Super Strength: Captain Toad and Toadette, they can't use it to fight hand to hand but they can lift really big objects.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Ghost Gallery Gambit screams this trope. Oh look, there's the star right in front of you! This is too easy... PSYCHE! The actual level begins when you try to collect the star.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Wingo would be pretty much unbeatable if he didn't summon those giant turnips.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: When Captain Toad shivers in fear, he'll say "s-s-scared..."
  • Thick-Line Animation: In Retro Ramp-Up, everything but the star and the diamonds has purple outline.
  • Thieving Magpie: All Wingo is after is the Power Star. Why? Because it's shiny.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Captain Toad can not only defeat a giant lava dragon, but later ride on it, as well as having a number of ways to take down regular enemies granted the proper circumstances, such as with turnips and a pickaxe. It's not enough to elevate him to the level of most Mario characters, to whom the same situations would be infinitely easier thanks to their jumping abilities alone, but it's a step up from the Captain Toad who was afraid of the shadow of a wooden cutout of Bowser. Toadette applies even more, because she hasn't appeared outside of spinoff titles, where the most dangerous threat is losing a round. Of course, both of them still shaking in their boots at the prospect of entering a haunted house — but in the Mario franchise, who hasn't?
  • Try Everything: Subverted, as the hidden objectives could literally be anything. Do you try one objective? Maybe it's some other one instead. Indeed, trying one could even result in failing another (e.g.: trying to defeat all the enemies, when the actual objective is to not defeat any enemies). It doesn't help that, even with a guide, some stages require playing them twice in order to fully complete them...
  • Unexpected Character:
    • People weren't expecting a Toad to star in a Mario spin-off, much less Captain Toad.
    • In case Captain Toad wasn't enough, Toadette is playable alongside him.
    • People certainly weren't expecting the Mario Bros., Princess Peach, and Bowser to show up in the ending, with this game being a spin-off and all.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Before entering Stumpy Springs Sanctuary, Episode 3's book shows an illustration of Wingo accidentally dropping Toadette, as indicated by his shocked expression. But entering the level, he doesn't look phased by it in the slightest, implying that dropping Toadette in there was indeed intentional. Whether he did this to get her killed or to make her find more treasure for him is up to debate.
  • The Voiceless: Mario and Luigi don't utter a sound in their cameo at the end. Even though the cutscene is almost exactly the same as the intro to Super Mario 3D World. Blue Toad, Peach, Bowser, and the green Sprixie Princess are voiced though (though in the case of Peach and the Toads, it's mostly because they're all voiced by the same person).
  • Weak, but Skilled: The Toads manage to sneak way past and occasionally take out many hordes of enemies while making off with their loot, as well as taking out a giant lava dragon without being able to jump.