If you’ve read many of my articles on Pixelkin, you may know that I am a huge Zelda fan. But to be honest I was not super excited for The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. I tend to like the darker installments in the franchise, like Majora’s Mask or Twilight Princess. To me, Tri Force Heroes looked a little too much like the lighter-spirited Four Swords Adventures, which I found boring and uninspired. And to be honest, when Tri Force Heroes was announced, I was really disappointed that we weren’t getting more details about Zelda for Wii U (come on, give me a name).
Well, Tri Force Heroes may not be dark, and it may not be Zelda for Wii U, but it was certainly entertaining. I actually had a fantastic time.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is one of the only multiplayer installments in the Zelda franchise, and it’s animated in the style of The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds. Three different versions of Link (one red, one green, and one blue) must work together to traverse dungeons full of puzzles and monsters. Every room demands that all three players participate. The entire experience was incredibly cooperative and non-competitive. We all shared hearts, and we all had a vested interest in protecting each other.
This game was an awesome way to break the ice with two total strangers. Part of the joy I experienced was in discovering my teammates’ strengths and weaknesses. When I picked my teammate up and threw them by mistake for the first time, we both laughed. By the end of the level, when we saw the main boss reveal his weak spot, we all immediately started giving each other instructions and carrying them out without asking questions. There was no time to argue; we were under attack. We worked together and cheered each other on when we got something right. It was fantastic.
A major part of the puzzle-solving is picking up your teammates to create a wobbly stack of Links (called a “totem”). In the level I played (named simply “Temple” for the demo version of the game) two of us used bombs and one of us used a bow and arrows. I was bummed at first that I didn’t get the bow (always my weapon of choice), but after playing this game I wonder how much of my affinity for the bow is based simply on the fact that it’s incredibly versatile. Because very quickly I was more interested in helping my archer teammate in getting where he needed to get. As long as someone was working to solve the puzzle, I didn’t mind that it wasn’t me. And the rooms were all designed very intelligently, so that bombs were as necessary for success as arrows.
The only time I felt there to be a real imbalance in the workload was when all three Links were stacked up. The Link on top controlled weapons, and the Link on the bottom steered the tower, but the Link in the middle didn’t do much of anything. Luckily, the game demanded that we move around often enough that the inequity here was never much of an issue.
Costumes are a new addition in this installment of Zelda. At the start of our match, we all had a few seconds to choose a costume. I didn’t have time to read all of the descriptions before the round started, so I ended up grabbing one at random: Princess Zelda’s dress. The dress allowed me to find hearts more easily. I didn’t really notice much of a difference, but I’m sure that after extended gameplay I would begin to pick up on the differences between the outfits.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes will offer a single-player mode in which two of the three links are dolls. You can switch between the Links and take turns controlling them. There’s also online multiplayer, in which you’re matched up with strangers, or local three-player, which is what I did. I think I’m going to miss shouting out to my teammates when I try the game online, but you can press little emoticon-esque messages to send to the other players. Don’t worry, parents: this is the only communication you’ll be doing online.
This game comes out on October 23 for Nintendo 3DS and 2DS.