It is with much displeasure that I use the word underwhelms again in relationship to Nintendo. Previously, I had submitted that Nintendo’s E3 2015 performance underwhelmed, and the roll out of the latest entry into The Legend of Zelda franchise just falls short of being a great entry in the series. And contrary to a few crazy theories, Tri Force Heroes is not a sexist game.
This is not to say that the game doesn’t have a few fun and creative moments, but overall the game is just a hard pass for many Zelda fans.
Tri Force Heroes takes place in the fashion crazy land of Hytopia. Princess Styla, was adored by all except for Lady Maud, the witch of the Drablands, who despised the princess’s totes adorbs fashion sense. Lady Maud sends Princess Styla a beautifully wrapped gift that is a trick in disguise, for as when she opens it, Styla finds herself cursed to wear an irremovable ugly jumpsuit. GASP!
In her misery, the princess isolated herself as the rest of the kingdom wept for her fate. Fear began to rise among the populace of Hytopia, as people grew afraid of fashion in fear of being cursed as well. As only chosen heroes could enter the Drablands, King of Hytopia, King Tuft, sent out a notification to kingdoms far and near seeking heroes to assemble, promising a great reward. A prophecy within the kingdom however, tells of the Tri Force Heroes, who are described as having pointy ears, sideburns and side-parted hair, and come together to form a Totem. The prophecy goes on to say that once the Tri Force Heroes have overcome all challenges, the kingdom of Hytopia will be blessed with everlasting peace and style (remember, style is key in this game). The king firmly believes in this legend, and believes only those who meet this criteria are the true Tri Force Heroes. But there is more than one person claiming to be that hero.
While passing through Hytopia on his travels, Link notices King Tuft’s sign asking for heroes to assemble. He is then spotted by the assistant of Madame Couture, who immediately recognizes his features as the same of the heroes of legend. Pressed into helping the kingdom and its princess, Link joins the Witch-Hunting Brigade and assembles with other Links as they enter the Drablands and fight its guardians.
Utilizing a lot of familiar game mechanics as previously explored in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Tri Force Heroes adds the mechanic of multiplayer to the mix.
It should be addressed now that while this game has a single player mode, this really is a multiplayer game; that’s where the fun comes from anyway. If you’re a 100% completionist, the single-story campaign is manageable without another player. But again, this really is a multiplayer game.
The game plays out just as any other top-down view Zelda game, just with two other players to the mix. The puzzle solving is pretty creative, albeit predictable after the first few levels.
Nintendo’s multiplayer communication system has come under fire as of late, most notably with Splatoon, where there is no direct communication with players, just taunts and commands from the keypad. Tri Force Heroes adds a little more emotion here with letting your Link send out frownie faces and smileys.
For those playing locally together, you’ll find game play to be slightly easier playing in the same room with two friends as compared to two random online matches.
Tri Force Heroes does offer a few puzzles and again, only the 100% completionist will really strive to make it through both the multiplayer and solo story campaigns. But given the difficulty of the matches, this game is pretty much manageable in the course of a few days, perhaps hours depending on your allotted free time.
During the marketing campaign, the Symphony of the Goddesses stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and previewed a selection from Tri Force Heroes.
The soundtrack to Tri Force Heroes is composed by Ryo Nagamatsu, previously the composer of A Link Between Worlds. A few of his themes explored in A Link Between Worlds surface in a brilliant game soundtrack that channels a lot of Celtic feeling Koji Kondo score. Nagamatsu’s resume continues to improve with his soundtrack to Tri Force Heroes.
Replay Value [7/10]
Any game that has multiplayer compatibility is going to score a little higher in this category because your experiences will change from game to game. As far as the solo campaign is considered, this was nothing like A Link Between Worlds where you found yourself wanting to take on the Hero Mode or trying your own hand at a 3-Heart Challenge.
While a lot of fans in the Zelda community enjoy the Four Sword multiplayer titles, this game just falls short of even being a worthy successor to those games. While any new Zelda title is appreciated, one can only wonder why Nintendo wouldn’t have reused maps and sprites from their porting and cleaning of Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora’s Mask 3D to give us a third chapter in the Hero of Time storyline, or even another sequel to A Link Between Worlds. The finished product here just makes me more excited for the 3DS Hyrule Warriors Legends.
The sad truth is that there’s not much that’s memorable about Tri Force Heroes other than it being “that Zelda game about fashion.”
For any true Zelda gamer, this is of course worth picking up and adding to your collection, just don’t be surprised that you’re not playing it too much after one or two sittings.