(Note: This is not OUR final review of the game; rather, it is our partner Haedox’s review. Every time he makes a video, we’ll put up the script along with the video, for your viewing pleasure. Or you can just not read it and wait for a price drop or sale.)
TriForce Heroes is one of two games that was unveiled during Nintendo’s Digital Event that actually got me excited. After all, I love the Legend of Zelda; there has yet to be an installment that I downright disliked or could not stand to replay. In fact, A Link Between Worlds, which is what TriForce Heroes takes “inspiration” or as I like to call them “assets” from, is one of my favorite Zelda games, right next to Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask. Oh and what’s really neat is that this game is actually canon in o the Zelda universe, starring the same Link from A Link Between Worlds several years after he did a thing there. Another point I would like to note before we dive into the land of Hytopia is that TriForce Heroes is not your typical Zelda game. It’s somewhat of a spin-off in the way that there is no Hyrule, Master Sword, or any of the pre established Zelda tropes, akin to Four Swords on the Gameboy. So, how does the game fare by not being a traditional Zelda game? Is the multiplayer even good?
Well, let us begin with the story, and it’s marvelous. The plot kicks off in the land of Hytopia, a kingdom where its citizens are obsessed with fashion. All seems peaceful until an evil witch of the Drablands curses the princess of Hytopia, Styla, to forever wear a repulsive black jumpsuit. This devastates the princess and her father, King Tuft, enlists the help of the one true hero to free her from the curse. Unfortunately for him, a whole bunch of “heroes” hear the call for help and gather around the king, all claiming to be the one true hero. But, as fate would have it, Link ends up being the one chosen for the task and now, you, taking control of Link, must venture through the Drablands in order to put an end to the evil witch’s curse. Sound ridiculous? Exactly, but that’s the way the game was intended to be presented. Right off the bat, you can see the game is certainly not taking its plot too seriously. I mean, the main conflict is that the princess has lost her fashion style. What makes this plot even better is the fact that it is extremely minimal, leading to a more fast-paced experience. Though I really enjoy reading the quirky, light-hearted dialogue, you don’t have to pay attention to the narrative to get what’s going on. All you really need to know is that you are on a quest to stop evil.
As for the presentation, it’s good. The game’s art style and visuals altogether are amazing. Models and textures are well detailed and bright and gloomy when they need to be. Now, it’s obvious that TriForce Heroes and A Link Between Worlds look very similar, but saying TriForce Heroes is a carbon copy of A Link Between Worlds, from a visual standpoint, could not be further from the truth. Both run on the same engine, but both use different set pieces, enemy models, and environments to diversify the gameplay. Sure, there are a lot of the same enemies in TriForce Heroes as there were in A Link Between Worlds, but there are also quite a few new ones like most of the bosses. Not to mention, the camera has been zoomed out a lot farther to make it easier to see your teammates and everything around you. This was never detrimental with respect to the gameplay; if anything, I actually prefer this new zoomed out camera as you can get a clear idea where everything is around you. Plus, Link is more customizable this time around, with the ability to look like Tingle, Zelda, a Goron, or a Zora. I honestly love these costumes. It’s one of my favorite aspects here just because of how goofy Link looks in them. And these costumes not only look fabulous, but they alter the gameplay too by giving new abilities. Like with the Tingle costume, you can fall down three pits and not take any damage.
By the same token, the soundtrack is fantastic. It’s composed in a similar style to A Link Between Worlds with high quality orchestrated sounds and a heavy emphasis on violins and faint percussion. Even then, every track is unique and different in some way. Like, the Village theme is calming whereas the Water Zone theme is somewhat ominous-sounding. Overall, the music is not in any way forgettable; I’ve actually been whistling the title theme for weeks.
And that brings us to the ever so innovative and entertaining gameplay. Once again, the best comparison I would make to how TriForce Heroes plays is to A Link Between Worlds. Both Links in both of those games control the same in the way that they can dash with L, swing their sword with B, pick things up with A, use items with X/Y, and move with the circlepad. All your movements and actions feel rather natural. This simple moveset also allows for the developers to make more complex levels. Essentially, there are eight zones, each containing four stages, with all these eight zones having a particular theme like fire, water, sky, and so on. All the stages of a zone do incorporate the zone’s theme, but every one uses different enemies, set pieces, and other elements so no level is too similar to each other. Also, the dungeons are geniusly designed because, if you couldn’t tell, TriForce Heroes is primarily a multiplayer game. You can team with up to two other players, either online or locally. See, this title is all about working together with others. The puzzles in the stages are based around the fact that there are other players. For instance, sometimes players will be separated in three lanes, each having different items. One player could have the bomb and have to throw it to another player to blow up an obstacle in that player’s way. Or, if one player needed to cross a gap to another player, one could use the ( wind cannon) and blow that player across. In addition, all the three players can “totem pole”, where they are arranged vertically at different heights. Luckily, this mechanic is seamlessly implemented into the level design as the majority of puzzles will be based around that mechanic. Usually, this will involve the Links “totem-poling” to hit a switch that is high up in the air or hitting a boss that can only be hit three Links up. You would think this would be a simple, shoehorned gimmick, but the level design is so great that it never becomes stale. It’s actually really novel. There are also a bunch of new items added here like the fire-throwing glove and (wind cannon). I think that was probably the most interesting gameplay addition here as it was always enjoyable to mess around with new items. If you aren’t in the mood for playing cooperatively in regular stages though, you can either duel with other players or fight a whole bunch of bosses all in a row. These other features further add to the title’s replayability and can be both rage-inducing and fun. Despite this, the biggest issue TriForce Heroes has is how its multiplayer was executed technically. But let’s start out with some positives, shall we? During local play, you can join up with any person with a 3DS and the best part is, they don’t need an extra cartridge to join you. Though their data is not saved through this method of play, I still love that Nintendo included this so I can play with some of my friends who don’t have the game. Plus, playing locally is far superior to playing online. For one thing, there is absolutely no frame rate or input lag. The absence of any lag causes the experience to be way more enjoyable. And, let’s not forget that you can communicate with your teammates better this way, which prevents a lot of frustrating moments online that simple communication would have fixed. Online play is a double-edged sword in those regards. There are two variants of online play where you can play with friends or random strangers. With friends online, it was pretty fun, especially if you have some way to talk or type to them outside of the game. Unfortuntely, there is no voice or text chat, even with friends, so if you want someone to do something specific to advance, you have to mash the little icons Nintendo provided for you to “communicate”. Sure these icons cover all the basics like totem poling, using items, or throwing objects, but they are not the ideal substiute for text or voice chat. Even with friends, this is a problem as some of my friends aren’t the best Zelda players and don’t necessarily know how to solve every puzzle or follow a group. This issue is only further accentuated when you play with random strangers as most of them will just goof around and try to troll you. Then, they spam that little laughter button and I cannot tell you how many times I JUST WANTED TO FUCKING THROW MY 3DS INTO A WALL. The random stranger play does have its positives though because if you can get a group that wants to get things done, it can be pretty fun. Or conversely, you can just learn not to care, which is what I did after a while. However, the biggest problem online has to be the lag. Since most players do not have a stable, fast internet, that I’ve encountered anyway, you will meet a terrible fate of lag playing with strangers and friends. Sometimes the lag will be unbearable with you struggling to even move a couple steps before the frame rate tanks. But, this is certainly not a dealbreaker for TriForce Heroes as the amount of lag varies from time to time and often, the lag will be gone entirely. Not only that but there is also lag-free single-player, which has you playing with two other wooden dolls that you have to possess to move and solve puzzles with. Even with all my complaints about the multiplayer, I still had more fun with it because the single-player can be somewhat tedious. Like I said before, TriForce Heroes is primarily a multiplayer experience so that makes sense and does not make the game any worse. Really, the single-player seems to be just there to accomodate for players without anyone to play with or for those who simply do not want to play online.
So, all in all, I really like Triforce Heroes. It’s overall a fantastic game with a pretty unique concept. While the multiplayer can be laggy at times, it was never detrimental to my overall experience. Not to mention, the gameplay is as enjoyable as A Link Between Worlds was and the dungeon design is brilliant. Plus, the presentation is marvelous and the plot is light-hearted and kind of humorous. I would recommend this title in a heartbeat; it’s one of the best multiplayer games on the 3DS. I also believe that anyone can get a kick out of this, even if you aren’t into primarily online games. It’s well worth that 40 bucks. So what I’m really trying to say is that you should not wait for a price drop or sale. But as always if you disagree or agree with me, let me know in the comments below. Thank you so much for watching and take care. Have a wonderful day and goodbye.