The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Extended Review
April 10, 2016
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a familiar game in a new set of clothes.
It stars the same Link as the one from A Link Between Worlds and follows him to Hytopia, a kingdom filled with fashion-obsessed citizens. Hytopia’s Princess Styla has been cursed to wear a hideous jumpsuit by a heinous woman known as The Lady. King Tuft then contracts Link and his two partners to journey to the Drablands to defeat The Lady and lift the curse on his daughter. The plot in Tri Force Heroes is basically non-existent. I actually forgot it was there until I got to the final battle, when The Lady showed up to give her exposition before we fought. I’d advise anyone looking for a story-driven Zelda game to not waste their time with Tri Force Heroes.
The Hytopian citizenry’s obsession with fashion bleeds into the gameplay, with a number of different outfits available for Link to use. These outfits can be crafted by the local seamstress when Link brings her the required materials earned through end-level drops. The items required for the clothes can also be purchased in town. Each of the outfits will enhance some of Link’s abilities: They may enlarge his bombs, strengthen his boomerang, stop him from slipping on ice or more, depending on which one you choose to wear.
The multiplayer is where Tri Force Heroes really shines; it is an excellent game with friends. There is a single-player option, which is serviceable, but gets quite cumbersome in the more difficult puzzles you come across later in the game. The other two Links will act as statues that you can lift and manipulate as you please, swapping between them by tapping on the touch screen. Inactive Links are unable to take damage, meaning the AI can’t just whittle away at your health by attacking allies that can’t fight back, which I found thoughtful.
Multiplayer can be accessed locally or online, which can match you up with both friends and random players; the randoms can be a mixed bag, as they are in any game. The biggest issue I had with online play with randoms was the lack of communication options. There’s no voice chat, leaving you with only eight preset images on the touch screen which you can tap. This makes it near impossible to communicate in detail without some kind of external chat service. I also found I dropped out of online rooms regularly; that may well be an issue with Australian Internet, but neither my partner or I drop out in other online games. I also frequently dropped out of local multiplayer rooms, which defies explanation.
The local option also demands you play with two other friend or none; you can’t have just one friend and then the third Link as a statue. I’m not sure why this is, but it meant I couldn’t play with just one friend without having to put up with the frequent dropping out of online rooms or having to roll the dice with random players. I’ve no idea why we were unable to play with just the two of us when we were sitting on the same couch, and it was frustrating.
When Tri Force Heroes works and you’re playing with two other friends, it’s a lot of fun. There are a large variety of items for you to use. Up to three will be available in each level, which you’ll all divide up between your team. The puzzles are as excellent as you’d expect from a Zelda game, and require a lot of coordination to complete efficiently. There are a lot of levels to work through, as well as the Den of Trials, which pits you against a number of enemies and bosses from each of the game’s areas. I had a lot of fun with this game when I was playing with my local and online friends.
Tri Force Heroes doesn’t just borrow A Link Between World’s protagonist, but its art style as well. The soundtrack and sound effects are great, really working to enhance the overall experience. While the game lacks a true New Game Plus mode, it does allow you to take on previously conquered areas again with added challenges, adding to the ways in which you can play. You can also take photos of yourself to save or upload throughout your quest, which is a fun feature.
Ultimately, The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is an excellent game to play if you have friends to play with. The single player is manageable, but the game is nowhere near as fun on your own. The contradiction of a game that encourages you to play with others and then region locks the servers is another major issue. If you’re looking for a story-driven Zelda game or a fulfilling solo experience, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. If, however, you have friends you can adventure with, you can expect solid gameplay and the high level of aesthetic quality you’d normally get from the Zelda series.