I have to give it to Nintendo. They seem to always push the boundaries of their intellectual properties far more than any other game developer. They’re not afraid to take chances with their beloved franchises, and seeing Zelda be one of those risks usually scares me. When I first saw Tri Force Heroes, I wrote it off completely. “Another multiplayer Zelda game I don’t care about.” I said to myself. Then I played it. Then I played some more. Now I realize that while not what I was looking for, it works and works well for what it does, and once again proves to me that Nintendo has still got some decent tricks up their sleeves.
Tri Force Heroes is a cooperative action adventure game where players take on the role of one (or many) heroes of time as they brave the dungeons of Hytopia to save the princess of fashion from a witch. First, that sounds nothing like a traditional Zelda, and this game embraces it. Fashion plays a large part in Tri Force Heroes, which we will hit on a bit later.
Price I’d pay: $39.99
The game is divided into different worlds or areas, with levels in each of them. Each level holds different objectives and puzzles the players must complete in order to make it to the end. These could be platform puzzles, switch puzzles, or some kind of combat puzzle. Making it to the end of a level will reward the players with materials they can use to craft new outfits for their character.
Same classic feel.
The actual gameplay feels much like the other 3DS Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds. It’s a simple button system with sword attacks and grabs for picking up vases, rocks, and other Links, as well as using the special weapons. It feels very familiar, just like any classic Zelda game should.
Co-op dungeon crawling.
When playing with other players, they must work together in order to pass the levels. Picking up Links allows players to stack them, to make a tower to reach higher grounds or attack a taller enemy. The entire team shares a health bar, so being coordinated is very important. Since there is no voice chat for online play, players must resort to simple emoticons to communicate.
Playing single player is viable, but usually not recommended. When in single player, the player has two other Links with them, but when not controlling them, they become dolls that can’t move or be harmed. Players can switch control of them at anytime by hitting their profile on the touchpad. The game then becomes a balance of switching between the other Links and navigating them appropriately. It’s interesting. I found that solving puzzles and standard levels to be easier in single player, while playing multiplayer was more fun and more manageable during the boss fights.
Fashionistos and fashionistas heaven.
As stated above, at the end of each level, players are rewarded with a material they can use to craft new outfits for their character in town. Each level has a chance for rarer materials, but in order to get them, players will sometimes have to replay the level. The new outfits provide special attributes that can modify special weapons, add buffs to the team and player, and many other things. It can get addicting when trying to get that one material for that specific outfit I had my eye on in town. In this sense, it feels almost like a simplistic Monster Hunter game, where redoing the same missions to get different and more materials is part of the game. It’s handled very well, and is really one of the more fun parts of the game.
The game supports local play as well as download play, which is pretty fantastic. When playing online, I had no lag at all, and the few random players I did play with were actually helpful and patient with me. While the most fun can be had online, it still feels like it can be somewhat viable as a single player game, although players will be missing out on how the game is really meant to be played.
I went into this game thinking I was going to completely dislike it, and in the end enjoyed my time with it. It may be a bit overly simplistic at times when traditional Zelda fans come into it, and the single player can be a bit boring with micromanaging each Link, but if players can find some friends to play either online or locally, there’s some great fun to be had, especially if you allow the crafting bug to bite you.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.