Earlier in the week, we saw, or almost missed, the quiet release of a new Zelda game, Triforce Heroes, for the 3DS on October 23rd. The game is being met with mixed to mostly positive reviews, many appreciating the game’s fresh multiplayer gameplay, colorful Wind Waker art style, and the many fun outfits available for players. However, others were disgruntled by a few facts, mainly that the story did not take place in franchises staple fantasy world of Hyrule–instead the story was set in fashion forward kingdom Hytopia, ruled not by magic wielding Princess Zelda, but frevent fashionista Princess Styla. Other complaints concerned single player’s less than titular gameplay, and online plays tendency to slow to a trickle of molasse through a straw. Meanwhile, some give the game warm recommendations due to its lighthearted storytelling (something other reviewers found wanting), and deemed logic puzzles to be decently intricate. TFH also reviewed well for its apt utilization of the 3DS’ signature 3D to display depth and height in the game’s environments. However, when faced alone the game seems to become somewhat lackluster. TFH may resemble Four Swords in spirit, but differs vastly when played solo. Characters become locked in place, standing still while switching between characters via the 3DS touch screen. Game producer Eiji Aonuma claims this was done to purposely oppose the doppelganger Links in Four Swords–leading some to believe that the reason TFH translates poorly as a single player game is due to developers multiplayer mindset while creating the game.
The tricky nature of TFH sets in when one takes into account that there is no voice or video chat–developers encouraged a quirky collaboration of gameplay. All three seperate players must navigate dungeons, solve puzzles, and combat enemies all while using the game’s emoticon-like icons, the only means of communication (that is, if you aren’t all in the same room playing together, noses to screens). This is particularly humorous in the case of strangers playing online.
The central theme of the game is fashion. Princess Styla, the ever stylish, is cursed to wear a truly unsightly, brown leotard. Our three heroes trek through danger and dungeons alike, using vibrant outfits payer can construct through found items, or earn through defeating dungeons. These outfits do more than allow us to snicker at our DS as Link is forced to battle bosses in frilly, floor-length gowns. Outfits enable players to customize Links’ abilities and help players approach challenges differently in the game, either by themselves or as a team.
Overall, Triforce Heroes is being treated as a well made multiplayer, action-adventure game. While lacking in the usual world exploration, and well designed single player option, TFH may not play like a typical big title Zelda game, but it remains a fun, unique way to connect with others as a team, solve sophisticated puzzles, and, most of all, have fun while doing it. Grab two other friends, your 3DS, and buy your copy of Zelda Triforce Heroes for $39.99.