The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes Review (Nintendo 3DS)
Nintendo is no stranger to cooperative multiplayer in its games. Recently, games like Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario Bros. U have integrated four-player co-op in their main story modes. However because those games were designed with only one player in mind, the resulting multiplayer experience was chaotic to say the least. Nintendo has also given us great multiplayer experiences with games like The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes falls right in the middle of those two gameplay experiences.
The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes takes place after A Link Between Worlds and according to Nintendo, both games feature the same protagonist. In Triforce Heroes Link finds himself in the land of Hytopia, where everyone is obsessed with fashion. That is until a witch curses Princess Styla with a hideous body suit. Out of fear of being cursed themselves, the citizens of Hytopia begin dressing in drab, ugly clothing. To restore order, the king puts out a call to any hero or heroes brave enough to venture to the Drablands and confront the queen. That’s where Link, or more accurately, Links, come in.
Visually speaking this game looks great, it runs on the same engine as A Link Between Worlds so the art style and enemy design is identical. Something this game does very well is revisiting classic Zelda settings while also managing to make everything feel fresh and new. There are plenty of brand new characters in Hytopia however, including Madame Couture, the stylist that you’ll be spending a lot of time with.
Madame Couture is the source of the game’s main mechanic: outfits. Since every level has a set item configuration, outfits essentially take the place of having an item inventory. The difference being that none of the outfits in the game are necessary to progress through the levels, with the exception of the hero’s clothes. Every outfit provides different abilities and perks, such as granting more heart containers or allowing you to swim in lava. Beating levels will earn you the materials needed to craft different outfits.
There are multiple types of materials so playing a level multiple times to craft an outfit you really want is where a lot of the replay value comes in. There are also three challenges attached to every level and certain outfits are crucial for completing them. These also come in handy when in the Coliseum, this game’s player vs. player vs. player arena. Considering how many different outfits with seemingly overpowered perks there are, this mode is surprisingly balanced and fun. Battling it out with just three players make it feel more fun than competitive. The Coliseum is also a good place to earn crafting materials, if you can beat the other players of course.
Just like previous multiplayer Zelda games, Triforce Heroes is broken up into multiple areas that are each divided into levels. Only three players can participate rather than the usual four, but the new totem mechanics and smaller level design would have made four players a bit too claustrophobic and cumbersome. If joining up with two other strangers or friends isn’t your thing, you can also go at it alone. When playing the game in single player mode, the two other players are replaced with Doppels; Link statues that you can switch control to at any time.
Single player is really just for players that want to challenge themselves, because switching between three characters during boss battles can get extremely difficult and hectic. It is satisfying to progress through the game alone, but the real fun lies in playing with others. Speaking of which, this game is at its best when playing with friends. Every part of this game requires teamwork so being able to communicate with people you know makes a huge difference when compared to playing with strangers.
That’s where the only problem with this game lies, trying to beat the game with strangers. Early on in the game, the puzzles and boss battles are simple enough to where almost any group of players will figure out what to do. About halfway through the game however everything gets much more complex. Even though the game gives you a few communication options with eight emotes used to communicate with your teammates, they aren’t enough. Simply telling someone to use an item at a certain point doesn’t communicate how it should be used. It’s not impossible to figure out and beat these levels, but they require patience and some trial and error. In a game built around bite-sized levels, patience can be very hard to find and when a player leaves the team everyone else is sent back to the lobby to search for a replacement. This makes progressing through the later parts of the game much more tedious and repetitive. Triforce Heroes is absolutely a game that should be played with friends that you can communicate with.
Triforce Heroes is a fantastic Zelda experience that combines the hectic nature of Super Mario Bros. U’s multiplayer with the teamwork based gameplay of the original Four Swords games. The result is an undeniably fun game that still feels like a full Zelda package. Really this game is only held back by limited communication options when playing with strangers. A short message system would do alleviate a lot of the frustration some players will undoubtedly feel when trying to beat some of the game’s tougher bosses and levels. Triforce Heroes is a great time for Zelda fans and fans of multiplayer games alike.
This review is based on a retail copy of The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes purchased for the Nintendo 3DS.