Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Micro-machinery of 'Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker'

Captain Toad's bringing the kerchief back.
This week on PopMatters, it's "time for adventure!"

No one adventures like Captain toad.  Actually Toadette probably adventures just as much, if not more based on how difficult some of her levels are to traverse.

I remember thinking to myself that Nintendo should make an entire game out of the Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World.  I must not have been the only one, because that's exactly what they did with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

It's a good reminder that while Nintendo can slowly labor away at a Zelda game for 5 years or more, they can also turn out smaller scope games that are still highly polished and inventive.  With all the huge open world games and bombastic Call of Duty-esque experiences, it's a great change of pace to see a high-budget game with a more restrained implementation.  Instead of trying to wow you with massive worlds, Captain Toad chooses to impress you with the depth and intricacy of its small environments.  What appear to be limited arenas end up being complex three-dimensional mazes with hidden items and optimal solutions.

Captain Toad reminds me of Monument Valley, another puzzle-heavy 3D exploration game I played late last year.  Like captain toad, Monument Valley used an interesting art style along with multilayered levels to provide surprises up until the very end.  Captain Toad leans more heavily on direct action instead of optical illusions, but both games are great examples of how carefully examining a limited environment can be just as rewarding as traversing a huge open world.

I say bring on the Toadette amiibo.

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