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The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Review

"Still don't get why Tri Force is two words..."
One of Nintendo’s E3 surprises this year was a whole new Zelda title for the 3DS, and it was more surprising that it was coming out this year. This time they went with the Four Swords style game, but unlike the GBA/GCN games, The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is much more thought out in terms of dungeon layout and puzzle solving, though the three-person design is a bit limited.

Tri Force Heroes (yes, Tri Force is two words in the title) takes place in the eccentric land of Hytopia, where the land is ripped from its trademark fashion sense. This simple little world has little exploration, but its folk are pretty witty. Even the princess, Styla, is funny as she is a fashionable, beautiful girl cursed to wear a ugly gray jumpsuit from a witch from the Drablands. It’s also within the universe of A Link Between Worlds, but it strangely uses the Wind Waker-style Link. It’s a little upsetting because the new-age Link to the Past artstyle for ALBW was beautiful and to slap the now-generic-looking Wind Waker look for it's next game is not just inconsistent, but annoying.
These Links have thirty-two dungeons to conquer, and all of them require the teamwork of the three Links. Some earlier ones are duds which make the heroes do the same thing to beat the dungeon, but the game shines when the Links really take advantage of a particular role. Bosses actually do a great job being a multiplayer puzzle in itself, requiring teamwork in order to defeat them. Beating the game allows players to play ultra hard versions of the dungeons that really tests your mettle, though replaying them doesn’t really do much afterwards.

That’s not all, because the Links can team up by climbing on each other’s shoulders as a totem pole to solve puzzles or defeat enemies that are high up. It’s a cute little gimmick that solves a dilemma core Zelda fans always had with top-down games and that’s the ability to take on things at a higher platform. The cost for this addition is the shield shockingly, as Link doesn’t normally have the iconic item.
My favorite part about this game is the cosplay element. Each Link can dress up to gain an additional ability. Some are pretty traditional like a mage outfit that enables Link with some powerful magic, but the best ones are the more wacky ones. They can dress in drag with Zelda’s dress, wear a cheerleader outfit or a leopard suit with a low zipper. None of these allow something super different or wildly game-breaking, just helps slightly or enhances something, but the sheer silliness of it made me smile every time I enabled it.
The game can be played solo with one player switching between the Links, offline co-op and online co-op. The dumbest limitation of this was that only one or three players can actually play, no two-player mode at all, so I can’t recommend it to a couple who just wants to chill out one night and play. Luckily only one person needs a copy to get local play going, though you don’t have full access to everything, and linking to those other players went pretty smooth. Online is okay as well, but the lack of voice chat leaves you screaming emotes at someone who doesn’t know their part at the moment, and if someone leaves or gets disconnected, the dungeon’s progress is a total loss.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a much different Zelda game, but it isn’t a bad experience. In fact the land is full of charm and adds some neat little gameplay quirk to the formula. Like with Hyrule Warriors and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, I would like to see these little additions in these spinoffs to become part of the next main installment. As a standalone package, it’s pretty good, I just want to play with the Mrs. without a third wheel.
  • Fun co-op play, but still good solo
  • Cosplay was fun and funny
  • Hytopia is a decent destination with a silly curse
  • One copy for local multiplayer
  • Pretty good length for a spinoff
  • Only one and three-player co-op, no two
  • Online play isn't as fun without better communication and drop issues
  • Dropped players reset the entire dungeon
  • Clash of art styles for a game in the ALBW timeframe
  • Dud dungeons


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