TriForce Heroes Joint Review

If you guys have kept up with us here on At The Buzzer, you know that our love for all things Zelda runs deep. Our review of TriForce Heroes is a – little – late due to scheduling conflicts, since the three (Shaun, Chris, and I) of us played together. Here’s our review of TriForce Heroes!

The Good

Michaela: It’s not all that often that we get a game that encourages co-op, and the fact that this game does makes it all the more fun. Triforce Heroes relies on the teamwork between three players to progress, allowing the puzzles to have a lot of freedom and creativity in a kind of way that is new to the series.

The costumes are absolutely adorable, and it really encourages replaying the stages in order to collect new materials for the costumes. The nice thing about the costumes too is that you don’t have to make them, they’re optional (although I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to make them, they’re all so CUTE), but they do provide certain benefits depending on the theme (like the Cozy Parka keeps you from slipping around on the ice), but said benefits can be pretty helpful depending on the stages you go to, especially if you’re partaking in the challenges.

Speaking of challenges, you get additional bonuses for completing them in stages you’ve already beaten, and the challenges can range from anywhere to protecting a orb or playing with fewer Heart Containers. There’s always something to do in TriForce Heroes, and it never gets old or boring because of how many options you have.

As for the story, I appreciate that it’s small – a lot of people were complaining that it didn’t feel like Zelda because the plot was so contained, but come on, we don’t need the risk of the world ending every time we play a Zelda game. In that way, it gives TriForce Heroes a lot more freedom to be fun and silly, and the self-contained story about fashion lends itself well to a more carefree side of the series that we haven’t really seen before. I really enjoyed the cute factor of the story and gameplay in TriForce Heroes, and it’s something I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing more of in the future too.

Zelda Costume art

Chris: Let’s be clear up front: If you’re playing with two other people (particularly in person), then Tri Force Heroes is a blast. Any other conditions are suboptimal, but I’ll touch on that later.

I’m a sucker for a good co-op game, and TFH certainly delivers. Thanks to the totem mechanic, this cooperation extends beyond just puzzle solving — almost every boss encounter forces you to work together as well. Fail to do so effectively and you’re staring at a death screen and starting again.

The outfits are a fun, harmless twist. They provide boosts that are helpful, yet not necessary by any means. Still, once Shaun unlocked a costume that gave us three additional heart containers, it was amazing how often we had just a couple hearts left by the end of a level. Other effects, like the Kokiri outfit’s ability to let you shoot three arrows instead of one or the Zelda getup allowing more enemies to drop hearts, are just strong enough to make you feel like your choice was important.

The story? I mean, it’s still in the good category, even though it clearly doesn’t take itself seriously. I’m fine with that — I don’t want every game in the Zelda series to be as heavy as Twilight Princess.

And finally, the juggling. We probably spent at least an hour of total game time whacking that musical ball with our swords, getting to hear dozens of old Zelda themes and listening to them speed up the higher we raised the combo. This only got us rupees, rupees we didn’t really need, yet it was a go-to between almost every level. Harmless but fun.

Michaela: Oh yeah the music ball! How did I forget that? It was probably my favorite part of the game, and I feel no shame in admitting that.


The Bad

Michaela: TriForce Heroes is really short. While there’s a lot of content and things to do, the game’s story doesn’t take all that long to complete. I also would have liked to have more resolution with the villain at the end of the game – she kinda just disappears and then we don’t hear anything after that. Who knows, maybe there will be some post-game content to explain it, but as of now it’s feeling rather unresolved.

It’s not really fair to judge the game’s solo mode given that it is built for multiplayer, but single player mode is definitely more difficult and tedious because you have to control the two other players or “dolls”. It makes puzzles that would take a few minutes with friends suddenly much longer because you have to meticulously switch between them to achieve the same goal.

It’s not a fair critique of the game, and it’s not even something that is that bad about the game, but if you happen to be playing the game and don’t have friends who can play with you, the game does suddenly lose the charm and chaos of playing with others. I applaud Nintendo for committing to a full-on, co-op experience, but with that said, if you happen to be alone in this, it is rather unfortunate and it really does affect the experience with the game.

Chris: Yeah, Michaela touched on the length, and it’s a valid complaint. If you’re only interested in the main part of the game and not the optional challenges, you’re looking at 8-10 hours. People associate Zelda with more like 40-60 hours these days, and even though TFH never pretends to be a full-fledged main entry, I’m sure it’ll still feel like a letdown to some.

We also have to talk about Nintendo’s choices here. The company has a very strict vision for how they want players to experience their games — a vision that more often than not is correct. But you can’t help but feel like they missed the mark here. Solo mode is much less forgiving than in other similar titles like Four Swords Adventure, and it’s not even possible to play the game with two people. Online is a viable option, and kinda fun with the little Link emotes to give off certain clues, but once again the lack of voice chat is a killer. God forbid you run into an online player who is only interested in griefing.


Michaela: TriForce Heroes is a blast. The puzzles are complex and engaging, the story’s a nice change of pace to something more simple and goody, and it’s a fun departure from the series’ norm thanks to the wide variety of costumes and emphasis on the multiplayer. I would definitely play another game like this one in the future and I think that says something about how well this experiment paid off for Nintendo. I think this emoticon will express my thoughts rather nicely:

Red Link points

Chris: Rather than giving the game a score (which would be a 4/5 if you have three people), I’ll just give my feelings on certain subjects.

Co-op gameplay:
Red Link

Solo gameplay:
Red Link freaks

Fun factor:
Green Link

Importance to series:
Green Link shouting

Blue Link

Hope for more co-op Zelda games:
Blue Link begs

4 thoughts on “TriForce Heroes Joint Review

  1. This is probably the most visually cute review I’ve seen and it’s a nice change from the standard star grading scale you sometimes use. It sums up all your thoughts on the game perfectly! This sounds like a game I’d want to play with other people. I did try out the multiplayer aspect of Four Swords Anniversary edition with a friend and cousin one time. While I haven’t played too many Zelda games, it was just fun trying to play with other people. Except rather than really playing the game, I think the three of us spent more time trolling each other–getting in each other’s ways, pushing each other off cliffs, stealing chests from one another…things like that. It shows how much we care and love one another. The point I’m trying to make is Nintendo should explore more multiplayer opportunities, especially if this game is proof of co-op done right.

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun putting this together. 😀 I wish I could have played Four Swords now that I’m older, I think I would really like it. But back then there were so many link cables and nonsense that it was always a pain trying to play it. I think if they were to – properly – release the game with the 3DS capabilities for easy multiplayer, then I would totally play it, but who knows.

      And then I hear about games like Halo 5 that don’t have co-op, and it’s sort of sad that fewer industries are encouraging it. I mean, I guess online games like League or FF 14 still have multi-player in a sense, but not in a way that I care about or want to be a part of. Playing with a bunch of strangers? No thanks, that sounds horrifying.

      It does make me happy that Nintendo is sticking with it though, especially since TriForce Heroes proves just how much fun they continue to be.

      Yeah, we had a ton of fun playing TriForce Heroes. I guess you could say I was the troll of the group, except that when I threw my teammates off of a cliff, it was done completely by accident hah hah. I role-played Red Link as a spastic idiot because I realized just how abysmal I was at the game, and that made it all the more fun too! 😀

      1. I actually played Four Swords on the 3DS I believe when it was a limited free release through the eshop to celebrate its anniversary a long time ago. I never played the original one since I didn’t call myself a gamer until around 2009, so I missed out on a lot but was always aware of the video games my friends and family were into and wasn’t completely ignorant of them.

        This is exactly why I would want more multiplayer for Nintendo to play with friends and other people you know. I don’t really like playing with complete strangers either, but the small time I had with Four Swords was really fun. There was so much laughing and joking around about being such trolls to each other that it’s truly a great way to spend an afternoon with friends. And maybe actually finishing and working together properly in the game someday! 🙂

        1. Yeah, I remember hearing about the Four Sword Adventure on the 3DS, but didn’t get it since it was apparently only out for a day. Why doesn’t Nintendo want my money? Or anyone’s money for that matter?

          But anyways, I really like how Nintendo promotes multiplayer among family and friends in games like Smash Bros and Mario Kart. Sure, you can compete against online players, but the games are built to be played with friends and family in the same proximity, and I really like that. That environment of playing with friends and family was very much the one I grew up in, and while I may one day get the nerve to play with others online, at this point I’m good. 🙂

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