Does Link’s Newest Adventure Stack up, or is this Merely a Case of Quantity Over Quality?
Link, the Hero of Time, has always been at the ready when it comes to defeating evil. Regardless of place, time, or incarnation, Link has never hesitated to do what needs to be done in order to keep peace throughout the land, and the golden Triforce out of the hands of those who seek to use its power for sinister means. While the Triforce is seen as the pinnacle of power and revered with the utmost respect and awe, there is a kingdom known as Hytopia that answers to an even higher calling; fashion. That’s right, fashion, and this is just the introduction to the newest title in the “Legend of Zelda” series; The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes begins in the foreign land of Hytopia, where fashion reigns supreme with the princess of the kingdom, Styla, receiving a mysterious present. Though it seemed fishy to her, Princess Styla decided to open it anyway and, to her dismay, found herself stuck inside of an all-black bodysuit that refused to come off no matter what was done. Styla had been cursed to wear unflattering clothing! Not wasting any time, the King of Hytopia quickly began calling for heroes to come forth and defeat the evil entity, known as The Lady, that dared to condemn Princess Styla to the most unfashionable of outfits. Hytopia needed heroes, but not just any heroes you see. They needed to look a certain way. Heroes had longer, pointed ears, you see. Heroes also had their hair comb to the side. And, perhaps even most important, was the fact that heroes needed rugged sideburns. Just as the search for heroes was beginning, a young man happened to stroll into town… and thus began Link’s newest adventure.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a top-down action/puzzle/game for, and this is important, one or three players (we’ll get to that in a minute). Being a game intended for multiple people to play together, gameplay is a bit different from normal games in the “Legend of Zelda” series and largely mimics the gameplay of the ‘Four Swords‘ sub-series for the Game Boy Advance, Gamecube, DS. Rather than roaming freely, players are given a set of areas from which to choose such as the Woodlands, Ice Cavern, or Fortress. Within each area are four levels, all of which must be completed (although the order in which you play them apparently doesn’t matter). Within each level are, say it with me, four sections, with the last section being either a boss or swarm of enemies. To get from section to section, players must use teamwork with one another (or yourself) to get through each section. The sections themselves usually have some sort of theme, and are generally divided pretty easily amongst puzzles, combat, and exploration.
The other major mechanic change in Tri Force Heroes is a bit of a doozy; players share health. That’s right, there’s only one health meter between all players. Players are given three fairies, which act as lives. Each time player run out if health, they are put at the beginning of the section that they were in with all progress being reset (although you do get to keep your Rupees). While this seems intimidating at first, it really is not so bad. Rather, it helps to facilitate cooperation and teamwork, and effectively put an end to people greedily attacking one another. On top of that, players also share a wallet; each player will get the full amount of Rupees collected throughout the level.
Those who wish to play alone are in luck, for there is a single-player mode! Rather than having three live players, single-player mode allows players to take control of Link and two Doppels, creatures that (sort of) take the appearance of Link, also wearing a resembling those of a Shy Guy or certain ReDead incarnations. It is explained in the game that these Doppels, when active, share the soul with the one using them. Because of this, Link is freely allowed to switch between his own body, and those of the Dopples at any time. Naturally, only one Link may be active at a time. While Dopples and actual players are quite similar, there are a few differences. For starters, only the active Link can take damage, meaning you can strategically switch between Links in order to avoid damage. The only exception to this rule is dropping a Doppel into a pit. Secondly, Doppels share Magic. Just as in ‘The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, items consume energy out of a Magic Bar with each use. A player’s Magic will recover over time, but only if no items are being used. In multiplayer, each player gets their own Magic Bar. The rule is one Magic Bar per player. Sorry, Doppels! Finally, Doppels can’t change outfits.
Onto the outfits themselves! Hytopia is tres fashionable, ergo one measly outfit just won’t do. Fortunately for Link, fashionista extraordinaire Madame Couture is there to help. Making outfits is a relatively simple and straightforward process. At the end of each level Link is given the option to open one of three treasure chests, each containing a material. Different materials are, of course, needed for different outfits. Each outfit comes with its own abilities such as starting with 3 extra hearts, or doing more damage with boomerangs. Outfits may be switched in between levels, but you’re stuck in those duds once the level begins. Unfortunately while putting together outfits can seem a bit imposing at first, it actually becomes rather easy.
Graphically, Tri Force Heroes follows the same art style as A Link Between Worlds, using 3D models and environments. They aren’t bad, but it really doesn’t seem as though too much effort was used in terms of improving the look and feel of the game.
The soundtrack of Tri Force Heroes does a little better, on the other hand. While nothing fantastic, the music is still well-done and even contains a few gems.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is fun, but honestly falls a bit short of feeling like a “whole game”. Each time I see the title screen, I expect it to say something like “Adventure Mode” and “Tri Force Heroes” and am always hit with the realization that this is it. The levels in themselves are fun, and there are even challenges for every level, but the game’s short lifespan just makes it feel like extensive DLC as opposed to being its own thing. The game does have its share charms, and is still worth checking out, but you certainly wouldn’t be accused of a faux pas if decide to pass up this accessory to the Legend of Zelda series.
Final Verdict 3 / 5
Available on: 3DS (Reviewed) ; Publisher: Nintendo ; Developer: Nintendo EPD, Grezzo ; Players: 1-3; Released: October 23, 2015 ; ESRB: E for Everyone ; MSRP: $39.99