I don’t know how long you’ve been waiting for this, but if you are as big of a Zelda fan as I am, surely you couldn’t resist the urge to play this title as soon as possible. And if you haven’t yet, worry not – you’ll now have an opportunity to perceive a new different Zelda through the following text. Excited? Well, let’s just say you have a good reason to be, because however each upcoming Zelda title is, it shouldn’t simply leave you indifferent.
Before we begin, I must point out two important things. First – no, Tri Force Heroes isn’t a recycled Four Swords Adventures. The difference is greater than simply having three instead of four heroes. Unlike the old title, here the heroes work together instead of competing with each other. True, the point of Four Swords Adventures was also working together, but seeing how here all players share the same energy pool, you’ll be hard pressed not to help out your comrades, because sabotaging them would be like tripping yourself. Second – no, this is not something that could be called a sequel to A Link Between Worlds. No matter how similar the game looks, it’s something entirely different.
Tri Force Heroes is first and foremost a multiplayer game. Yes, you can play it as just a single player, but don’t be fooled – those are two completely different experiences. If the single player is like a plain, pale earth, then the multiplayer is like a heavenly bliss that is bound to amaze you. If you’ve started playing unprepared, and if you didn’t know what to expect, then your reaction after entering the single player mode would probably be to instantly exit the game while quickly drinking a glass of sweetened water. To clarify: in single player mode, you still have three characters. And it’s true, you control all three of them. But how? By alternating between them. You have two Doppels at your disposal (literally dead Link-dummies) and you can take control of them to help yourself get past obstacles. Quick gameplay? Nope. Boring, painful, strategically tormenting gameplay? You bet! Juggling between three characters will certainly give you a headache. And if I add that there’s even the possibility to sacrifice one of your lives to skip a segment of a level, I think you’ll start to get the picture of just how frustrating the single player mode can be. The people from Nintendo immediately jumped to defend it by claiming that some of their team members preferred playing the single player mode EXCLUSIVELY. The fact that there are masochists in Nintendo isn’t very reassuring to hear. Jokes aside, playing this mode isn’t really (too) big of a catastrophe, but it definitely isn’t something you’re going to enjoy a lot, or for a long time. So let’s get to the brighter aspect of the game right away. The multiplayer!
The multiplayer is available in a few different variants. In the first one, you need to have two friends who also own their own copies of the game, so you can play together locally or over the internet. In the second one, your two friends don’t need to have their own games – they’ll be able to play with you trough DownloadPlay. The third option is to play with complete strangers or people from your friend list over the internet. And lastly, the fourth option is to play with a friend who’s with you with his copy and a 3DS, and you all play together with another person on the internet. If you thought that you and a friend could play together with just one copy of the game while the third player is a Doppel or somebody on the internet, you’d be wrong, because that unfortunately isn’t possible. Disappointing, I know, but once you dive into the multiplayer with practically anyone at all, you’ll forget these disadvantages because multiplayer really is an amazing experience!
The game’s plot is somewhat mild but funny enough not to warrant a reproach. The kingdom is looking for heroes to help an unfortunate princess of a fashion-crazed kingdom. An evil witch has cursed her by dressing her up in hilarious black skin suit, similar to a diving suit, and therefore ruined the only thing worth living for – her ability to look trendy and wear chic clothes. To get this grotesque piece of clothing off, the princess needs help from three heroes who are the only ones who can track down the evil witch and teach her a lesson. That’s where you and your two friends come in. You arrive the probably the smallest ‘Zelda-town’ you’ve ever seen, and you won’t be able to do much there, so it won’t be long before you set off to your first mission. The game consists of 32 levels, and each one is a genuine small Zelda dungeon. But unlike nonlinear dungeons you’re used to, these are very linear and completely based on solving very imaginative riddles. They may be linear and won’t strain your brain as much as an average Zelda title, but it’s truly unexpectedly fun to play with other people while communicating through eight adorable emotion signals that include cheering, disapproval, and calling forward. You’ll solve riddles by syncing actions and climbing on top of each other, forming a so-called ‘totem’. Irresistible? You could say so. Each level consists of four segments plus a boss fight, and defeating them unlocks bonus challenges, which make the game more difficult. It’s worth mentioning that there’s also an arena in the game, in which you can play against other players, but you’ll probably soon forget about it, because classically going through levels if far more fulfilling.
In this game, Link won’t have any equipment, not counting just one item per level, plus the sword. And the only reason to collect rupees will be the costumes. Each newly gained costume will provide Link with a new ability, such as firing three arrows at the same time or swimming in lava, or to improve the use of items that you pick up on the level. The costumes are purchased by collecting materials in levels, which you donate to the famous royal fashion designer, and she in return makes Link’s new suit. But given that the materials for the costume which is useful in a level will only be collected after that level is finished, you generally won’t be overly enthusiastic about finding them. In any case, the costumes are a fairly charming feature of this Zelda adventure and they will at least put a smile on your face.
Zelda games are known for their fantastic music, and this game doesn’t lack at all. I’d even take the liberty of saying that even if it’s a shorter soundtrack, it can easily make the top 5 most beautiful, or at least most cheerful. Even if there’s not as much of it, the music’s quality is certainly not lacking when compared to A Link Between Wolds. The cheerful accordion followed by a violin will definitely boost your mood.
To sum it all up, this truly isn’t a Zelda game like we’re used to. It’s not an epic adventure of 60+ hours with satisfying wandering and solving difficult puzzles. We won’t have the vast landscapes and lots of characters and definitely none of that long-ascending feeling of a blood boiling adventure with a glorious climax. What we have here is a compact, well-balanced, cheerful and refreshing multiplayer experience to go. True, this is not the Zelda sequel you were expecting, but if you take a better look at it and accept it as it is, it will definitely be worth your time. Even though it may not be easy to find two more friends to play with, playing online can bridge that gap fairly well. Communicating with and understanding your comrades with only eight ’emoticons’ is incredibly fun. Although much more simple, this is one of those Zelda games that is much more likely to make you pass a level again and enjoy it once more. If you’re a hardcore Zelda fan, this might not be a game for you. If you’re a fan of the spirit of Zelda and multiplayer, be sure not to miss it!
Author: Milan Živković