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!
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.
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.
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:
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.