The Leg­end Of Zelda: Tri Force He­roes



Nin­tendo’s re­cent fas­ci­na­tion with fash­ion has given it a new pep in its step. There’s some­thing of Spla­toon’s fresh­ness in the care­free fri­vol­ity of Tri Force He­roes’ in­tro, wherein a stylish princess is robbed of her re­gal threads and forced to don a brown uni­tard. Her wail­ing fa­ther thus de­mands a trio of prodi­giously side­burned he­roes set out to find her a new out­fit. A perky sound­track sug­gests light-hearted tom­fool­ery awaits, but Nin­tendo ul­ti­mately fails to re­cap­ture the com­pet­i­tive edge and mis­chievous in­ven­tion of Four Swords Ad­ven­tures.

Three Links are re­quired at all times, which nat­u­rally rules out a twoplayer op­tion. You can co­op­er­ate with other play­ers on­line or lo­cally – gen­er­ously, the en­tire game can be played via Down­load Play – while lone play­ers com­mand two Dop­pels, macabre dolls with Shy Guy-style death masks to which Link can trans­fer his soul with a tap on the touch­screen. Yes, you can still throw one an­other off cliff edges, but with a shared life me­ter, there’s less room for horse­play here.

The trio can form a totem to reach high plat­forms and spar with tall bosses – an idea that would seem to have lim­ited range, and so it proves. And yet it’s lent much by the con­scious lim­i­ta­tions of the way you com­mu­ni­cate with oth­ers. Co­or­di­nat­ing a plan is sim­ple in lo­cal play, but on­line part­ners are re­stricted to pic­to­rial icons, whether you’re re­quest­ing a pig­gy­back, sug­gest­ing a bomb throw, or sim­ply point­ing the way for­ward. At times, it’s like at­tempt­ing to re­lay a mas­ter­plan via sem­a­phore, prompt­ing mo­ments of en­ter­tain­ing con­fu­sion and pas­sive-ag­gres­sive­ness: im­pa­tient play­ers will likely re­sort to tap­ping the same icon re­peat­edly to chivvy along dawdling al­lies.

Yet we’ve seen so many of th­ese puz­zles be­fore. There are pres­sure plates to stand on, switches to hit, and pyres to set ablaze with ar­rows shot through nearby flames. One player will blow an­other over a chasm with the gust jar; once across, the other can re­turn the favour with a boomerang. The stage de­sign is com­pro­mised by the need to cater to lone play­ers and groups, too. With a hand­ful of ex­cep­tions, the in­tri­cacy of its en­vi­ron­men­tal rid­dles is lim­ited to af­ford solo play­ers the time to move three Links into po­si­tion. In­evitably, those ex­cep­tions prove ir­ri­tat­ingly ex­act­ing with­out two live as­sis­tants.

For a fash­ion-con­scious game, un­lock­able out­fits are also in­te­grated with un­char­ac­ter­is­tic grace­less­ness, func­tion­ing as lit­tle more than dif­fi­culty mod­i­fiers. So, care­free and like­able as it is, this coltish ca­per isn’t par­tic­u­larly well tai­lored: baggy in places and re­stric­tive in oth­ers, it’s proof that for mul­ti­player Zelda, four swords are bet­ter than three.

In the­ory, bosses present less dan­ger to lone play­ers, since they can’t harm the Links you’re not con­trol­ling. But while a quick switch can of­ten save the day, you’ll still lose a heart if a Link is nudged into lava, or off the edge

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