The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Review

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Review

The Legend of Zelda Gets Style Savvy

Nintendo has entered an era of asset reusal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was a wonderful puzzle game based on Super Mario 3D World and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a surprisingly engaging timesink sampling all of the assets from Animal Crossing: New Leaf . The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes does this with 2013’s A Link Between Worlds , but with much less success. The problem is, it wants to be as memorable and enduring as Four Swords Adventures , but falters. It’s more a placeholder project than a full featured endeavor.

In The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes , one or three players (not two, see below) take on the quest to help Styla, princess of Hytopia, become more fashionable. A curse has trapped her in a plain bodysuit, and its up to players to go gathering fabrics from eight worlds to create a ballgown rare and dazzling enough to make Styla more fashion forward.

This isn’t limited to the princess, however. As the three Link replicas go through the 32 different levels, they’ll acquire various fabrics at the end to create their own custom attire. Each outfit has a different effect when worn, designed to make the available levels easier to traverse or even offer alternate solutions. The Cozy Parka lets one of the Links basically become an Ice Climber, allowing him to run on ice. Make him look like Princess Zelda and he’ll get more hearts. The dress determines the difficulty of each run, and every ensemble is engineered to encourage everyone to keep replaying each area.

It’s a shame that, in practice, these new outfits don’t feel like incentive enough to keep coming back to each dungeon. That, combined with a lack of story and difficulty levels that penalize single player traversals and occasionally over-simplify multiplayer matters is disheartening. Each of the 32 levels in a dungeon takes about 10 minutes to play, maybe as much as 20 if you’re going it alone (It’s dangerous to go alone, take at least one friend). You initially each pick an item that might make surviving the challenge easier, go through two rooms that offer some minor puzzle action, then face some sort of boss. After defeating the boss, crafting items for clothing are randomly awarded.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Screenshot

The problem is, it doesn’t feel like there’s any real motivation to keep replaying a level. You never know what materials will be in the chest at the end, even if you’re going through a second time and adding challenges like popping balloons or having additional enemies drop in. These challenges will mean better materials, but you still don’t know if you’ll get what you need. By the time you create a costume you wanted, it’s very likely it will have arrived too late to be useful.

Especially since the solo situation is very unbalanced. There are two options with The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes . You play alone, switching control between the three characters, or find two other real people to play with via local or online multiplayer. While the puzzles can be solved all by yourself, albeit taking much longer to get from point A to point B, many of the boss fights are excruciating without accomplices. The Fire Temple’s Moldorm is a fantastic example, as its eye color indicates which hero it’s targeting, the tail is its weak spot, and defeating it means making multi-character totems to keep hitting the tail. I tried to tackle this one alone, couldn’t, and needed to go online to find two strangers instead.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Screenshot

Unfortunately, working with strangers isn’t always the ultimate solution. I have a better than average internet connection and experienced quite a bit of lag. I would do something, expect one of these allies to immediately respond, and wouldn’t see support for at least two to four seconds later. The icon system for offering feedback is admirable, but isn’t accurate enough to ensure success unless everyone’s already been through a level once before.

The ideal play situation feels like three players in a room together, each with either their own carts or making good use of the download play option. Everyone contributes and communicates, and there’s no lag. It also means everyone is on the same page, something the online experience lacks.

What really would have been appreciated is a two player mode. Getting three people together can be a lot more difficult than finding just one friend or family member to play with. If there could have been some option to allow the third player to be either a hollow husk or AI controlled until one of the participating players needed to pop into its shoes, it would have offered a happy medium. Alas, it’s all or nothing with this entry.

The more I think about it, all or nothing almost seems a suitable way to describe The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes as a whole. There never really seems to be any in-between. You’ll probably want to get through the 32 levels as quickly as possible, clearing them to allow future access to everything the Drablands has to offer, sacrificing costume access in the process. The alternative is to go through every little thing, ad nauseum, until you’re convinced you’ve acquired it all.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Screenshot

There are 36 costumes in The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes and I had only acquired 8 by the time I had beaten the game. Since I already know all the puzzle solutions and don’t feel like I really need the costumes I don’t have, there’s no point in returning to the adventure. Maybe if two friends came over and really wanted to play, I’d be willing to go through it again and act as a guide, but only if I knew they’d be getting rarer materials out of it. It isn’t as comprehensive or compelling as, say, the aforementioned Captain Toad or Happy Home Designer .

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a game that leaves you wanting more, for better or worse. You want more loot, or at least confirmation that when you go through the same tedious level again, you’ll find exactly the item you need waiting at the end. You want more of a balanced challenge, with a single player that feels like it could be handled alone or a multiplayer that performs perfectly under any condition and is worth replaying. Most importantly, you want a real reason to keep returning to the game and not just a prospect of a pretty new look for the Link-alike. As is, The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes feels like something you play, beat, then only return to if you’re certain two people you know genuinely need aid to acquire necessary materials.

It looks exactly like A Link Between Worlds, which is one of the prettiest Legend of Zelda handheld games. 3.5 Control
It controls exactly like other Legend of Zelda games and using an emoticon is as simple as tapping on the touch screen – but single player requires quite a bit of micromanagement. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is wonderful, and one costume even switches it to a chiptune soundtrack when worn. 2.0 Play Value
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes wants people to keep playing and playing, but the dungeons get tedious and you need very specific conditions for it to come close to being enjoyable. 3.0 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Similar visual style and top-down view to The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
  • As Link, buddy up with two other Link characters and cooperatively solve inventive puzzles to progress through the game.
  • All three players share hearts, so they must work together to defeat enemies and solve puzzles.
  • Stack three Links on top of each other with the new “Totem” mechanic, which makes it possible to reach new locations to solve puzzles.
  • Collect loot to create wearable outfits, each with a different boost or ability. Each dungeon is structured with four main areas.
  • Single-player mode allows the player to rent two paper dolls to take along to complete the team of three and face challenges in dungeons.

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