Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes, it’s a puzzle game where you use characters that look like Link and that’s about as close to a Zelda game as you get……. I have finished this game and this needs a stern talking to from trading standards. There is no Zelda, there is a Princess, but her name is Styla, the land is called Hytopia and the only time you see a Tri-Force is when you are starting or finishing a level as you stand on it to complete the levels. Starting the game I felt as if I had loaded up some Animal Crossing/fashion designer bull as I hastily went through the uncomfortable dialogue as fast as humanly possible. Anyone expecting a proper “Zelda” is going to be sorely disappointed.
The main story is that an evil witch has sent the fashionable princess a cursed outfit which looks like a black bodysuit and she is unable to remove it. This is obviously leading to the kingdom being in uproar as people are afraid to be fashionable – riveting stuff!
As I started to go through the first few levels of this game, I was faced with great ambivalence. On one hand we have a game that is clearly bastardising the Zelda name just to be more appealing and sell more, when it is quite clear that Nintendo just had a box full of shit left over from making “A Link Between Worlds”. Then on the other hand we have quite a pretty little game that reminds me a lot of the classic Lost Vikings that I loved on my Amiga (google it kids), which worked on quite a similar premise, using 3 characters with different skills together to complete each level.
Now as I have said before, I’m not an online gamer, I will try it now and again, like calamari. However, very much like calamari I will usually spit it out swearing and deciding it’s not for me. So to start with I went down the solo path with this one. May I just say a heartfelt THANK YOU to Nintendo at this point, simply for the fact that they have designed a game for multiplayer (it’s a multiplayer game) but you can actually play it on your own. Now we just need to get that premise to every other game designer on the planet and you will have at least one happy gamer.
After getting a few hours in and getting a good feel for the game I decided that I would test the online co-op. Well what can I say, people are dicks, this is why I don’t do online gaming. If I had friends on a local network I would go as far as to say this would be awesome, this not being an option I have to choose randoms and you usually end up with one person that seems pretty good and one child that finds it absolutely hilarious to continually pick you up and throw you about the place with no movement toward the level goal. Stupid internet people. Turns out the levels seem much harder when trying to do it with people online as they seem to rush about losing hearts (which are shared btw) but when it’s you on your own, you can concentrate better and read each level as a puzzle better. Only downside it is a little slower and some of the timed puzzles are a little harder to pull off. I had a brief go at the PvP. This is about the only part where the different outfits are of any use, these can give you a slight edge which can be critical in these arena style battles.
At the start of each area level you are given a choice as to which character has what ability, although this is not open, there are only 3 different abilities there and they could be 3 of the same or a mix of abilities. Each area comprises of 4 levels, each containing 4 sub levels, the first two fell fairly easily with only minimal struggle. At the end of each level you are given the choice of 3 chests, these contain materials required to make new “outfits”, usually two fairly common and one a bit rarer but it’s a one in three chance. Each new costume gives perks loosely based on the Zelda lore surrounding it, Kokiri clothes let you shoot 3 arrows instead of 1, the Zora costume improves your swimming (you get the idea). Some of these are far more useful than others and as you progress through each area you have the chance to acquire the materials to make more and more suits that help with one particular accessory or attribute. I managed to complete the game only having made 3 outfits and used one for 90% of the time.
One of the worst things Nintendo have done in recent years is making every game possible to be completed by imbeciles, in Mario you have Luigi and the “Super Guide”, in Donkey Kong you had the White DK that would show you the way and allow you to pass the level, alas this goes a step further in its decent. You start each set of 4 levels with 3 “fairies”, these act like “lives” if you die a fairy will revive you, however they do have another use. You can use a fairy to skip the level you are on. In each section there are only 4 levels, you have 3 fairies and the first level is usually just picking up the abilities for your characters and walking to the exit. So if you can get past the first level which is most cases is absolute piss, then you can skip the next 3 levels and that whole level set is marked as complete. The only downside to using the fairies in this manner is that you have a decreased chance of getting the materials at the end chests. You can also skip the first 3 sections in each area so as long as you defeat the boss at the end of level 4 in each area (or use a fairy to skip it) then you will unlock the next area(s). This means it’s possible to complete this game incredibly quickly, now I did areas 1 to 6 wholly and completely, I started to get a bit bored after that so rushed through the last couple of areas.
The one good thing is that there is plenty of replay value, as after you defeat each areas boss it unlocks bonus challenges, these vary in content but allow you to obtain more materials and there are around 3 per level. The only thing is that if you got bored with the main game then the chances are you are not going to bother with these, which is a shame.
In conclusion, as a Zelda game its awful, as a puzzler its good fun and if it floats your boat it will keep you entertained for a good while. Online play adds nothing for me but if that’s your bag it could probably keep you amused for a good while.
My personal rating for this is 6/10
Reviewed by Paul Ashton
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