Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a spin-off from the Captain Toad levels found in Super Mario 3D World. In the game, the player, as Captain Toad, must navigate a series of puzzling environments in order to collect the star at the end of each stage. It is set for release on December 5, 2014. The events in Treasure Tracker take place right before and lead into the events of Super Mario 3D World.
The goal of the game is to navigate Toad around the environment and collect the star at the end of each stage. Each stage also has three diamonds to collect, as well as gold coins. Toad is unable to jump and must depend on objects in the environment in order to climb elevation. He can also pluck turnips from the ground and throw them at enemies, and run when the B button is held. In addition to plucking turnips from the ground, Captain Toad can also unearth coins, golden mushrooms, 1-UP Mushrooms and diamond gems.
A number of power-ups exist in the game, as well. Collecting double cherries will create a duplicate of Toad that moves in tandem with the original by the player's input. A pick-axe can also be acquired to smash through rocky terrain.
Captain Toad is not the sole player character in the game. Toadette is unlocked after the first book.
The game concept was originally pitched by director Shinya Hiratake as a game starring Link. The team experimented with the idea of making a game set in small, diorama-like worlds in which the player character couldn't jump and navigating to the exit would require panning of the camera. They thought that setting it in the Mario universe would not be a good fit since its characters are known for being able to jump so they set their eyes on Link from the Legend of Zelda series.
During a pitch to EAD's top brass with a working prototype, Shigeru Miyamoto assumed they wanted to create a physical product out of these dioramas and asked Hiratake how they would go about getting these into production. Ultimately the original pitch starring Link was shot down but Miyamoto noted that the concept had potential and the team went ahead and incorporated the idea as a mini-game into Super Mario 3D World.
Looking for a new character to star in the game, the team was initially at a loss but Hiratake remembered the captain of the Toad Brigade from Super Mario Galaxy who wore a big heavy backpack that weighed him down and thus Captain Toad became the star of the game. After the release of Super Mario 3D World, Miyamoto again approached the team and suggested they turn the Captain Toad levels into a full-fledged game.
The Amiibo functionality for the game was announced as being a special hide-and-seek challenge in each stage of the game, unlocked by tapping the (soon to be released) Toad amiibo on the Wii U GamePad. The challenge itself consists of an 8-bit Toad (Pixel Toad) being hidden in the level and players are tasked with finding the location of the hidden Toad.
Both the amiibo and the functionality are set were released March 20th 2015.