Latest release in Zelda series falls flat with co-operative gameplay

Brian O'Kelly

“The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes” is the Zelda series’ new attempt at a co-operative game, reminiscent to the series’ “Four Swords” and “Four Swords Adventure” entries.

The story takes place in the fictional world of Hytopia, a land that prides itself in its fashion sense above all else. Tragically cursed to wear a ugly brown morph suit, Hytopia’s Princess Styla enlists heroes to venture out into the Drablands to save her style.

While the story’s quirkiness makes the game seem charming, the narrative gets tiring very quickly due to characters that reiterate the stories’ eccentricity to death through random but repetitive humor.

In accordance with the fashion-oriented story, costumes available in the game offer unique abilities such as shooting three arrows at once or increasing the size of bombs.

To create the costumes, players must quickly go through small dungeons in order to gather materials to craft costumes. Costumes created from a certain area’s materials help make replaying that specific area’s dungeons easier. An oversight here is that the player has little incentive to return to the area, making the costumes a hollow incentive to replay content.

The game’s main selling point is the addition of a multiplayer mode into the traditional Zelda dungeon formula. A player can enter a dungeon with three people and brave a variety of puzzles and challenges which requires a level of coordination between the three players.

Playing through dungeons with a coordinated group of friends offers a fun, cooperative experience, albeit a simple one compared to the series’ previous titles.

Every dungeon follows the same format: Get items, learn applications for the items and use items to solve obvious puzzles.

This simplicity makes “Tri Force Heroes” one of the least challenging Zelda titles, with dungeons that take only a few minutes and puzzles that take little brain power. Nintendo tries to rectify this lack of difficulty with dungeon challenge runs, but the challenges don’t really do much beyond taking away health or adding time limits.

“Tri Force Heroes” serves as a good reminder of Nintendo’s lack of online experience, with an online system that is both archaic and broken. Both the online and local play suffer from mild to unplayable lag and any lag spikes will disconnect the session, losing all progress.

The online communication system is minimalistic, offering only eight buttons that each have a response such as “throw” or “use item.” While it can be fun to use the buttons to communicate, veteran Zelda fans will be largely frustrated when their fellow heroes don’t understand the message that is being conveyed.

Although team online and local play is the best way to play the game, single player is an option. But single player largely feels shoehorned in and often makes the dungeons exponentially tedious.

The single player gameplay is simply not retrofitted well enough to be played by a single person, and while it does provide the player with two dummies, switching between three characters constantly makes moving forward in the game a grind and makes coordinating timing for certain puzzles unnecessarily difficult.

The title tries to bring an online, multiplayer experience to the Zelda series. But like its shallow story, “Tri Force Heroes” lacks depth and is nothing more than a mediocre game with the prestigious Zelda brand slapped on the box.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

  • Rating: E
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Score: 2.5/5