The Legend of Zelda is mostly a single player game, a game with an epic adventure, however, there are a few which like to stray a bit from conventions. Four Swords Adventures was the first to introduce multiplayer co-op into the mix, and the spin-off, Link’s Crossbow Training focused on the competitive.
Now there is TriForce Heroes. This game promises to bring the co-operative Zelda experience back and on the go, as well as online, on Nintendo 3DS. Does TriForce Heroes another legendary game, or do we just have some low-end heroes on our hands? Find out after the break!
The story of TriForce Heroes includes nary a Zelda, apart from the title, but rather a Princess named Styla of the Kingdom, Hytopia, sounds familiar, right? Most would assume this is a spin-off, though it has actually been placed on the timeline by the developers themselves. The Land of Hytopia prides itself on it’s style, that is until one fateful day, the most stylish resident of this land, Princess Styla, is sent a rather nasty fashion faux pas which is cursed and attaches itself to the Princess, never coming off. It it up to you, and two other heroes to explore the Drablands and to try and break the curse. The Legend of Zelda games are no stranger to bizarre plot lines, but I would have to say that this one definitely takes the rupee, but at the same time it’s kinda fun.
The game is very different compared to other Zelda games in which there is no overworld, or at least the overworld is very small. You’ll start off in the small town of Hytopia. There, there is a small material shop where you can purchase materials, a Treasure Chest shop where you can open one chest per day to try and win a rare material, a camera shy, where you can post pictures you take in the Drablands to Miiverse, Madame Couture’s Shop where you can pay to have new outfits made, and, most importantly, Hytopia Castle, home of Princess Styla, and the gateway to the Drablands. The way you progress through the game works very differently from usual, instead of having to explore an open world, you just have to go to the old guy manning the Drablands Gateway and choose where you would like to go to. First you choose the providence then you choose the stage. This system is great for if you want to play a quick 15 minutes or if you are on the go, however it does remove a lot of the feeling of a Zelda game. Personally, I prefer being able to explore a vast world and completing various side-quests.
Each stage is made up of four different areas to get through, some have puzzles, some have enemies and some have both. At the beginning of each level, you have three items to choose from, sometimes they are all the same and other times they are all different. There are some fantastic new puzzles, some of which were not possible without the brand new gameplay mechanic, Totem Time. This allows you and your fellow heroes to carry each other in a heroic totem poles. Some enemies and switches are only accessible from three different heights. Other puzzles will also require heroes to carry others in a specific order, for example, there are some tiles only certain coloured heroes can step on, so you will have to carry each other in a specific order and utilise the boomerang to get to the other side. Totem Time also attracts some very interesting and fun boss fights. The boss of the Forest Temple requires the heroes to lift each other up and throw a bomb into a deathly spiked spinner and then a hero to slash its weak spot.
Like I mentioned before, multiplayer is the largest aspect of Tri Force Heroes. You can set off into the Drablands with two other heroes through online play (with both strangers and/or friends), local wireless, or download play. Unfortunately there is no voice chat for online play, instead there are eight panels you can touch to display a little message and animation on the screens of other players, this could possibly add new puzzle opportunities, though other players may find it annoying as they can not give specific instructions to players less experienced than oneself, especially since you all share the same health meter. I personally enjoy playing the game via local and download play, it is much more fun being able to directly communicate to your friend that you are pissed off that he threw you into the abyss. If you do not have many friends or are lacking an internet connection, then you can still go at it alone. Instead of playing with other players, you can enter the Drablands with two doll like creatures, Doppels, and you can switch at any time who you are playing as. Though this is still quite fun, I would still recommend playing it with other people as it is much you get a much better experience.
One thing which definitely ruins the multiplayer experience is the fact that online play is region locked, meaning you can only play online with players from the same region, I’ve tried thinking about why Nintendo chose to do this, but I can’t really think of a good reason. Other online multiplayer games from Nintendo do not have this restriction, so why should Tri Force Heroes? Another massive drawback the game has is the fact that you are forced to play in a group of there or on your own. There is no option to go as a group of two! This is more understandable as there are some puzzles which are impossible to complete without three players and I could imagine that it would become a bit much to include a Doppel in the online mode.
One feature (or gimmick as a lot of people would call it) that the game hugely revolves around is how you can purchase and wear costumes which add abilities to your gameplay. These abilities range from simple effects such as adding extra health to your meter to more interesting effects like being able to swim in lava… HOT LAVA! Making the costumes is pretty easy, all you need to do is to just bring the materials and rupees needed to Madame Couture and select the outfit you want, getting the materials is the difficult part. The end of every stage will bring you to a treasure room with three treasure chests. Two have a piece of material, and the last one has a rare material, but you can only open one. It can be rather tedious to create every single outfit as you will be constantly replaying levels and their bonus challenges to obtain every single material.
Speaking of bonus challenges, every single stage has four of them. Bonus Challenges are essentially special challenges to complete for each level, each one offers different materials than usual. These challenges range from a Wallmaster following your everywhere you go, to only being able to use bombs. Though these challenges do add a fun twist to levels, it’s still pretty much the same level, maybe with a couple extra enemies, so after you complete a few, you may become bored.
The difficulty of the game starts off pretty easy and usually takes about five to ten minutes to complete a level however, this quickly ramps up as you progress and becomes more difficult later on, and some of the later levels can take up to thirty minutes to complete (give or take). If you do find a particular section too difficult, you can sacrifice a Fairy to skip an entire section of a stage, though be warned, the more skips you make, the lower the chance you will obtain a rare item at the end of the stage, this will also lower the amount of times you can die before a ‘Game Over’
If co-op isn’t quite your thing, there is a small competitive mode you can play around with too, though I won’t lie, it is pretty uninspiring. Here, you can play against two other people in a small arena to battle against each other for a couple minutes to see who faints the least. A Wallmaster is always present to ensure that you are always moving, if one slams into you then you lose all your hearts and faint. This mode is no where as exciting as competitive modes from previous Zelda games, so it is very unlikely most people will spend a long time in Battle Mode.
Overall, Tri Force Heroes is definitely an interesting Zelda game. It introduces some great new multiplayer features to allow for fresh new puzzles. The game is also full of charm and the multiplayer can create some hilarious situations. Though Tri Force Heroes is generally a good game, there is still a lot of room for improvement.