One of the most iconic quotes from The Legend of Zelda series includes the phrase “It’s dangerous to go alone”. Just as well we have Tri Force Heroes then. Breaking away from tradition Tri Force Heroes shifts its focus towards a three-player multiplayer mechanic. While the series has dabbled with this idea before, this time around the concept is far more accessible with the ability to play with other users around the world rather than just local play. The primary fault with Four Swords Adventures was the reliance on intensive hardware. A Gamecube, four GameBoy Advance handhelds and just as many cables were required to enjoy the experience in its entirety. Tri Force Heroes immediately lightens the load by culling the number of players to three that only requires a 3DS per player, or a single unit with an online connection.
Not only do the mechanics differ but so does the storyline. A humourous and far more lighthearted approach has been taken when compared to other installments to the franchise. The story takes place in the kingdom of Hytopia where its residents are obsessed with… fashion. The trendy King Tuft’s daughter, Princess Styla (Get it… STYL-A), has found herself in quite the dilemma. The Drablands witch has placed a curse on the princess forcing her to permanently wear a grotesque brown onesie. Luckily for her, and the rest of her adoring community, there is a hero or three just waiting to save the day.
As you’d expect your customary weapons, along with the puzzles that go along with it, can be acquired. The Bomb, Boomerang, Bow, Gripshot and Water Rod all play an intricate part in you completing the various tasks dealt out to you. The difference this time around is that you have to share the stage with two other players. Connecting with others via the internet or local play is ideal but the game can be played on your own. When going at it by yourself you take control of all three charcters. The inactive Links are replaced with ‘Doppels’, a statue version Link which you can switch between throughout the level. If you ever played Four Swords Adventures, the mechanic is very similar. The predominant theme is the ‘Totem’ mechanic which sees players pick each other up to complete task which conveniently require various levels of elevation. At first tackling this in the single player mode can be quite daunting but one quickly gets the hang of things. When playing online the touch screen acts as a way to communicate with other players using quick, intuitive commands such as “Throw”, “Over Here!” and “Nooo!”. While playing the online mode for review there weren’t an abundance of players available but when I got into a game the gameplay was generally quite smooth, baring some delayed button inputs but this wasn’t always the case. The local play mode seems to be the overall preferred method of play. When online you are able to blacklist players that are out to purposely play recklessly, if blacklisted the offending player won’t be able to join a game in which you are involved.
When completing worlds you are rewarded with numerous items which can be collected to contribute to purchasing new costumes. These costumes do a lot more than making Link look sexy. The Cheetah Costume allowsLink to run at lightning pace, the Ice Climbers inspired ‘ Cozy Parka’ allows Link to walk with greater footing on ice and the Kokiri outfit provides Link with the ability to shoot three arrows at once. There are over thirty different costumes each providing an advantage throughout different levels. If you are missing certain items to purchase a required outfit you are able to use rupees to purchase these rarities. Seeing Link in a cheerleader outfit is something I never thought I’d see.
[pullquote_right]Three’s a crowd? More like three’s a charm[/pullquote_right].At first I was concerned about the longevity of Tri Force Heroes. My concern turned to relief after completing the first world and being presented with a number of challenges that encourage you to go back and try complete the levels under different circumstances. As the game progresses so does its difficultly and being challenged with time and health limits in the latter levels will be a challenge for the most prolific of Zelda fans. While it does take some time to familiarise yourself and work as a team your persistence reaps a great sense of reward. Three’s a crowd? More like three’s a charm.