Nintendo We Series 2 Volume 5: Captain Toad Treasure Tracker 2
This latest edition of Nintendo We concerns one of the most interesting new games Nintendo have released in recent years; the Captain Toad series. Spawning from a minigame that first featured in Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was released in 2015 to much critical acclaim from gamers and critics alike. The game has since been re-released on Nintendo’s latest hardware, the Switch, with additional content, and more on the way. As of yet, there has been no word on whether a sequel may be planned for this game or not, but in my opinion, the first has shown promise for a potential new series of games from Nintendo, as well as scope for expansion on gameplay ideas.
From my own personal experience having played through and reviewed the game myself, one of my biggest concerns about it was how criminally short it was when it first came out on the Wii U, and although this has since been rectified to a certain extent with it’s re-release on the Switch, I still feel that there would be more than enough scope to improve on this aspect where the future of the potential series may be concerned by adding new gameplay elements. And in recent years, there has been an exciting new indie developer to emerge who I think Nintendo could work with in order to expand on the game’s core ideas, whilst also introducing new ones, in order to release an even better game.
Image and Form games are an indie developer based in Gothenburg, Sweden, who nine years ago began to pioneer the highly successful SteamWorld series. The series began in 2010 on Nintendo DSiWare, with the release of SteamWorld Tower Defence, and since then, they have released three additional games; SteamWorld Dig, SteamWorld Heist and SteamWorld Dig 2. There is also another SteamWorld game coming later in 2019 called SteamWorld Quest. The SteamWorld series, for the most part, perpetuates a very similar theme to that of Captain Toad; digging for as much treasure as possible. Although the gameplay in the SteamWorld games is drastically different to that of Captain Toad, relying more on elements such as 2D side-scrolling, RPG-style character development, and turn-based combat. But this, in and of itself, is a big part of the reason why I believe both companies could work famously together to bring something new and exciting to the Captain Toad series, since as the SteamWorld series has developed, so to has it’s gameplay, with each new game generally being drastically different to one another, but with Image and Form managing to make each one work extremely well by the same token.
Namely, elements from SteamWorld Dig and Dig 2, such as that of 2D open-world exploration, could be incorporated into the Captain Toad series to counteract the feeling of linearity that came with Treasure Tracker. It could also offer scope to give currency in Captain Toad a lot more purpose than what it has in the original game, similar to what Nintendo tried to do with New Super Mario Bros 2, and what they successfully did with Super Mario Odyssey. Currency in the SteamWorld games is used to level up the character, as well as to buy upgrades to equipment. So something similar could be incorporated into a potential new Captain Toad game too.
Another element that has been handled very well in both Captain Toad and the SteamWorld series is combat; the designs of the bosses in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker are extremely unique, and the SteamWorld series has had numerous different combat element throughout its lifespan, including tower defense in SteamWorld Tower Defence, turn-based combat in SteamWorld Heist and the card-based combat that is set to feature in SteamWorld Quest. Another idea would be to possibly for Nintendo and Image and Form to experiment with and combine elements of these different combat styles, bringing them together to further add to the overall experience. For example, if there were to be a hub world in a new Captain Toad game, tower defense combat could be used in order for the player to defend it from enemies, whereas outside the hub world, traditional 2D side-scrolling combat or turn-based combat could be used similarly to that of SteamWorld Dig or SteamWorld Heist. Or if the game was to be rendered in 3D, tower defense combat could still exist, but outside a possible hub world, the concept of Captain Toad’s unique approach to combat could be further expanded upon instead.
However way it can be viewed, I believe there is indeed a great deal of potential that a Captain Toad game developed by Nintendo in collaboration with Image and Form could have on offer. The two companies already seem to have a great working relationship with each other from an outsider’s point of view, taking into account that fact that the SteamWorld series originated on Nintendo hardware, and each new released is most often than not made available for Nintendo hardware first before being ported to different systems. But it would be interesting to see what both companies could possibly come up with if they did choose to work together. Though one may be mainstream and the other independent, the thing they have in common is that they are both inventive, and unafraid try out new ideas; and if they decided to work on a new idea together, I believe it would make for something particularly special.