Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

As a way to turn the precepts of the Mario games upside down and inside out Captain Toad is a work of genius - though there are flaws.

Key events

One of the loveliest thoughts about games that I have read in ages came - and this was not surprising to me - from Tom Senior, the online editor of PC Gamer. "I feel like we should run Into the Breach scenarios in PC Gamer like newspaper Chess puzzles," he wrote. "ie. "Two mechs are webbed in a tide zone. Save both and protect the factory.""

Nintendo announces new Smash Bros. and Mario-themed Amiibo waves

Nintendo announces new Smash Bros. and Mario-themed Amiibo waves

Captain Toad, Mario Party 10, Code Name: STEAM support detailed.

Nintendo has announced another two waves of Amiibo figurines for use with 3DS and Wii U.

The figures include a further batch of characters from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, plus the first set of Amiibo figures not centred around Smash.

20th March will see the launch of new Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Bowser and Toad figurines with red bases (rather than the usual black).

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Wii U-exclusive Captain Toad enters UK chart in 16th

Wii U-exclusive Captain Toad enters UK chart in 16th

Nintendo's latest fails to frogmarch the top 10.

Wii U-exclusive Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker has launched in 16th place within the New Year UK all-formats chart.

But its launch sales may not be completely representative. Nintendo set the game's official European release date as last Friday, 2nd January, though this was pre-empted by UK retailer GAME to get the title on store shelves before Christmas.

Legitimate copies were therefore floating around from at least the 19th December, although it is unclear to what extent this will have affected UK sales (and it is worth noting that the game has not popped up in the chart before this).

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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker review

Nintendo's Tokyo studio seems to have a thing about making miniature worlds. Since Super Mario Galaxy's wraparound planets, the team has loved to create game levels as if they were tactile, toylike pocket universes that you could pick up and turn over in your hands. This urge is expressed in the level designs, with their meticulous, playful, tightly condensed explorations of 3D space. It's present in the games' toothsome aesthetic, too: the shiny, candied surfaces, the plump solidity of the little characters scurrying about, the pleasing metallic clicks and clunks of their snap-to systems and clockwork mechanisms. Nintendo has always conceived of video games as toys, but seldom so literally as in EAD Tokyo's games, which it's so easy to imagine coming in large, colourfully illustrated boxes with assembly instructions included, their components packed neatly together in little cellophane bags.

So it is that the greatest pleasure in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is the moment you load up each cuboid level and spin the camera around it, studying it from every angle, looking for windows on secret chambers and piecing its puzzles together in your mind's eye. It's a pleasure the game offers up exactly 64 times: not too few, but certainly not too many either. Based on the Captain Toad bonus levels from last year's Super Mario 3D World, this is a modest and none too difficult puzzle-platformer that offers half a dozen hours of amiable and adorably presented problem-solving. Its UK street date of 2nd January having now been widely broken, it would make a fine Christmas treat - if a slightly disposable one for its Ł30 price tag.

The idea is just the same as it was in 3D World. Captain Toad - an unusually adventurous specimen of Princess Peach's cute yet cowardly mushroom proletariat, as evidenced by his head torch and backpack - must solve spatial puzzles and avoid hazards to reach the star in each of the compact levels. There are gems and coins to gather too, as well as additional challenges to beat, such as finding a hidden golden mushroom or completing a level without taking damage.

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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker goes on sale two weeks before official release date

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is on sale in the UK two weeks before its announced release date.

The Wii U exclusive has an official, Nintendo-announced release date of 2nd January in the UK, but reports indicate GAME is selling it in-store today.

Nintendo Life first reported the news. It appears GAME is shipping out Captain Toad orders, too.

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Digital FoundryDigital Foundry vs Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

In a market dominated by broken software, Nintendo's latest is polished perfection.

In retrospect, 2014 has been a particularly disappointing year when it comes to properly finished game releases, with plenty of AAA releases hitting the market with show-stopping bugs. We've reached the point where original retail copies of new games have become almost useless without copious amounts of patching. Last year we praised Super Mario 3D World for bucking that trend, yet following this year's parade of unfinished software, we feel it's more important than ever to recognise the great games that get it right on day one. While Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker may not be a particularly ambitious game, Nintendo still deserves serious credit for continuing to release such finely tuned work. It's Nintendo doing what Nintendo does best.

VideoVideo: Let's Play Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Power-ups! Levels! Lack of co-op!

Greetings Nintendo fans - if today's launch of new Pokémon and Smash Bros. wasn't enough for you, we're here to look ahead at the company's next release: the utterly charming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

Nintendo's Tokyo EAD has long been cherished for the abundance of ideas in its games, for the little novelties that bubble up in single levels of Galaxy and 3D World before being gleefully tossed aside as the developer tirelessly works its way through a bottomless toybox. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a little different, though. Here's a game with one big, very bold idea at its core: let's see what a Mario game would be like with the ability to jump completely excised.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Code Name: STEAM get new release dates

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Code Name: STEAM get new release dates

Hyrule Warriors Amiibo support detailed, Splatoon single-player shown off.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker's UK release date is now 2nd January, Nintendo has revealed, a week sooner than the previously-announced 9th January.

The game will feature more than 70 stages, with extra levels unlocked when you complete fiendish optional objectives.

Code Name: STEAM - the new 3DS strategy title from Fire Emblem and Advance Wars developer Intelligent Systems - will meanwhile launch in May 2015.

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Talk to people about the superlative Super Mario World 3D World and ask them what they love. It's often a long conversation, but Captain Toad's little puzzles always seem to come up. The mini-levels were designed as quick distractions - brief breaks from Mario and co.'s main platforming adventures - and yet amongst 3D World's inventiveness and capacity to surprise level after level, their simple concept still stood out.