I never owned a Nintendo console until the GameCube, but one title was always on my radar Legend of Zelda. One of the most beloved games in history has seen a change throughout the years. Ranging in many different ways, such as gameplay, art style, and the world in general. Something that hardly ever changed was the hero, Link. You know, the guy that typically dawns the green tunic and green hat and yells “HYAAH” all the time. This franchise has so much respect in the industry that Easter eggs from the games pop up all across media.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes was one of the few new titles appearing on the Nintendo DS/3DS. This entry took quite a few side steps away from the original style of Zelda games. For starters, this is the first game with an online co-op feature that doesn’t require connecting to a GameBoy like in the past (sorry, Four Swords). This is important because a core feature of the game is you play as Red Link, Blue Link, and Green Link. Tri Force Heroes encourages you to play with friends to make maneuvering the game easier. Ganon is probably happy he didn’t have to deal with three heroes. One was bad enough for him.
Set years after A Link Between Worlds, an evil witch named Lady Maud (or The Lady) puts a curse on Princess Styla of Hytopia. In a kingdom where fashion is an obsession to all its citizens, Princess Styla’s cursed to wear an unremovable brown jumpsuit. King Tuft calls for help to lift the curse brought to his daughter. Many answer, but none are the ones King Tuft believes to be the true heroes.
Legend has it that three heroes with pointy ears, side-parted hair, and sideburns will come together to form the great Totem. In doing so, the heroes will bring everlasting peace and style back to the land of Hytopia. King Tuft firmly believes in this old prophecy of the Tri Force heroes, and that is when Link appears and heeds the call.
- Link(3x) aka Tri Force Heroes: The heroes of legend who have saved the the world time and time again. These three pointy eared heroes are the chosen ones King Tuft spoke of.
- Princess Styla: The cute and stylish Princess (the main Princess who needs saving in this game) of the kingdom of Hytopia. Kind to all the citizens of her kingdom and adored by all as well. (Possible close to the same age as Princess Zelda.)
- King Tuft: King of the Kingdom of Hytopia and father to Princess Styla. Sticks to his beliefs that the heroes of legend will save his daughter and lift the curse.
- Lady Maud, aka “The Lady”: Evil witch of the Drablands and the main antagonist of the game. Jealous of the Princess’s style, she decides to curse the Princess by trapping her in a brown jumpsuit. (This lady has no need to be that petty.)
- Madame Couture: The fashion kingdom of the world is going to need their best stylist. A witch who uses her powers for good, making outfits for the hero (host Link only) infused with magical properties. Also, the younger sister of Lady Maud.
- Madame Couture’s Apprentice: Every stylist needs an apprentice to take over at some point. Unfortunately, this apprentice dos not have a name of his own, but he is still willing to help make any of the Link’s outfits that joined via Local or Download Play.
Tri Force Heroes wanted to ensure that whether playing alone or with friends, every Link is utilized across all stages of the game. This entry is more puzzle heavy than the exploration-based previous games.
An example of this is a room that requires you to make a water pillar to cross the room to throw a bow or boomerang at a switch. You need at least two of the party to summon the pillars and the other to shoot the switch. The third may be holding a switch down to stop projectiles from hurting the others.
The game plays with elevated platforms and switches a lot. Whether stacking each other to toss your partner onto a higher platform or activating three lights at once, chances are everyone has to carry their load (unless you are on the bottom of the totem, then you have to lug everyone around).
Even the boss fights have you stacking to make a totem to guarantee that your hits will connect. During the brawls, you will have at least two people stack to hit the boss, while the third has the task of distracting. Be careful because all the Links share the same health bar (and rupees). So while it is fun to stack and toss your friends off a cliff, the team as a collective will lose a heart container. Which makes sense, considering you are balancing a human being on your head. It’s a scary dance, especially when the foe begins desperation attack mode. After you defeat the boss, you collect your treasure and get transported back to Hytopia.
One last feature that I won’t dwell on long sets this game apart from others in the Zelda franchise. You only need to buy the game once to play with your friends. The Nintendo DS/3DS has a built-in “Download Play,” so the owner of the game can send an invite to friends to play the game with them. You also gain “Hero Points” in Download Play, which help you buy materials from street merchants to finish your in-game outfits. Sadly, not every costume can be obtained if you have the game via Download Play.
This is possibly the easiest Zelda game to jump into. That, of course, comes with pluses and minuses. On the plus side, the puzzles are easy and become easier with friends to help carry the load. The downside is that each area feels isolated from the rest of the world. That takes away the charm of seeing how the world reacts to everything going on as the story progresses. The Lady only poses a real threat to Hytopia while everything outside the castle walls seems at peace.
Since Hytopia is big on style and outfits, it seems fair that the players would be able to make their own outfits. The costumes aren’t for show either. Each one gives a little perk, whether it is strength or vitality. You make them with specific materials and rupees found in different levels throughout the game. You then take those materials to the best seamstress, Madame Couture.
If you are accompanied by friends via Local or Download Play, they will have to talk to Madame Couture’s Apprentice in the lobby. There are 36 costumes in the game — 34 of them Madame Couture makes, while the last two come from the story. Below is the list of outfits and their perks.
- Bear Minimum: Link takes double damage and also reduces a heart container.
- Big Bomb Outfit: Transforms all Bombs into Big Bombs
- Boomeranger: Allows larger Boomerangs to pass through foes and deal more damage.
- Cacto Clothes: Damages foes that come in contact with Link.
- Cheer Outfit: Increases Link’s allies’ Energy Gauges by 50%. Single player mode, all Link’s energy increase by 50%.
- Cheetah Costume: Link runs at a faster pace.
- Cozy Parka: Link has better traction on ice and can’t be frozen. Link can also attack ice-based enemies without freezing.
- Cursed Tights: Link dodges 50% of attacks, but attacks take twice as much damage if hit.
- Dapper Spinner: Link is able to pull off quick Spin Attacks if B Button is pressed three times in a row.
- Dunewalker Duds: Link can safely walk on quicksand.
- Energy Gear: Link’s Energy Gauge increases by 50%. Single player mode, all Link’s energy increases by 50%.
- Fierce Deity Armor: Doubles the sword damage and allows Link to shoot four Sword Beams around him. Sword Beams are also fired when performing Spin Attack.
- Goron Garb: Link can swim in lava and pass through fire unharmed. Link can also attack fire-based enemies without getting harmed.
- Fire Blazer: Link shoots three fireballs at once with Fire Gloves.
- Hammerwear: Magic Hammer is twice as powerful and can be swung faster. Also creates shockwaves affecting nearby foes.
- Gust Garb: Gust Jar firing speed and reach is increased.
- Jack of Hearts: Link gains an extra heart container.
- Kokiri Clothes: Link shoots three arrows at once with the Bow.
- Lady’s Ensemble: Adds a heart container and causes hearts to appear more frequently.
- Legendary Dress: Hearts appear more frequently.
- Light Armor: Illuminates areas around Link. In the Coliseum matches, it burns the other Link when touched.
- Linebeck’s Uniform: Link can see the contents of chests. In timed Drablands Challenges, the outfit gives ten extra seconds for each Link wearing it at the start of the level and grants 50% more each time an hourglass in picked up (only for the wearer). It does not work after switching Doppels.
- Lucky Loungewear: Link dodges 25% of attacks.
- Ninja Gi: Grants Dash Attack immediately and does triple damage while dashing.
- Queen of Hearts: Gives Link three extra heart containers.
- Robowear: Increases speed, damage, and pulling power of gripshot.
- Rupee Regalia: More rupees drop from throwing jars, cut grass, and enemies. Does not apply to all enemies.
- Serpent’s Toga: Turns Link into a statue allowing no damage to harm him.
- Showstopper: Draws the foe’s attention to the wearer.
- Sword Master Suit: Doubles sword damage and sword range. Allows for Sword Beams to shoot from sword.
- Spin Attack Attire: Link can use Big Spin Attack. Link is also not affected by fire, ice, or electric while using the move.
- Sword Suit: Doubles sword damage and allows Sword Beams to shoot from his sword at full health
- Timeless Tunic: Changes the music to chiptunes tracks. Only the wearer has their music changed.
- Tingle Tights: Link gains three balloons. Each time he falls into a pit, a balloon goes away, saving Link’s hearts.
- Torrent Robe: Doubles size of Water Rod pillar
- Tri Suit: If all three Links wear this costume, you’ll have 50% more energy, dodge 25% of attacks, and find more rupees and hearts.
- Zora Costume: Allows Link to swim faster and against strong currents. It can also damage enemies while swimming past them.
- Hero’s Tunic: No powers or perks.
The Zelda games always first introduce items, then have them used heavily to get through the area in which you found them. So anytime I got stuck in any game, I knew I wasn’t utilizing that new item enough. The same thing happens in this game, but since you have two more people at your side, not everyone needs to use the same items all the time. When I played with my friends, I would always handle bombs or the hammer just because of how fun they were to use. Here is the list of old and some new items, and I highly recommend mixing things up a bit.
- Bombs: Blow up certain or tougher enemies and destroy walls to reveal a secret path. Wearing the Big Bomb outfit transforms the bombs into bigger ones with a bigger blast radius.
- Boomerang: Ranged weapon used to defeat enemies or to grab rupees and hearts. It can also be used to grab a Link and pull him back towards the wielder. The Boomeranger outfit allows the larger boomerang to carry two Links.
- Bow: Ranged weapon that shoots arrows at your foes. Appears in certain levels as an item only for the duration of that area.
- Fire Gloves: Throw fireballs at your enemies or hold Fire in front of yourself as a shield. Fireballs bounce off walls and can also light torches.
- Gripshot: A classic used to pull yourself onto a ledge. Can also be utilized to grab hearts, rupees, and other items instead of running out in the path of danger.
- Gust Jar: A jar that blows a gust of wind at items (bombs) or enemies, knocking them back. It can also propel Link across gaps that are too wide for him to be thrown across.
- Magic Hammer: Giant hammer used to stun enemies or pound stakes, destroy ice crystals, and defeat Deadrocks. It does twice the amount of damage the sword does, but it’s slower to swing.
- Water Rod: A wand that summons a water pillar to be used as a platform to get around. The height of the pillar is the same as all Link’s stacked into a totem. Lasts only a few seconds.
- Camera: Take screenshots of the game by pressing “X,” which you can later share on the Miiverse gallery. Ninety nine photos can be saved, and the camera can’t be used outside the Drablands or in Download Play.
- Key: Used to open special doors in dungeons.
- Hourglass: And more seconds to your timer in timed challenges.
Each of the areas in the Drablands is split into four different levels, with the last level being a temple. Nintendo added the Den of Trials in an update for the game. Adding on eight different levels within it. The temple level is where you will typically face your boss and use all the skills you learned throughout the past three levels. With friends, these dungeons are pretty simple.
Home to the Forest Temple. You get your first item here, which is none other than the bow—the Woodlands act as a tutorial stage for the game where you get used to the mechanics.
Home of the Water Temple (always the worst in every Zelda game, but not that bad here). The dungeon item here is the Water Rod, as it helps traverse over the flooded pathways.
Fire Temple home. The Gust Jar first appears in this area. It makes sense to use wind to extinguish flames to activate switches that progress the level.
Home of the Ice Temple. The magic hammer is first acquired here to help destroy the ice crystals that block paths. Destroy them and make a way to the end of the level. The Fire Gloves also make their first appearance here. If you are tired of being frozen, why not melt everything?
Home of The Lady’s Lair. Even though Lady Maud’s lair lies within this area, you do not actually fight her here. Like most big baddies, she has someone defending her fortress while she is away wreaking havoc on the Drablands.
Desert Temple. This level plays out like an old Mario level with the chain link fence that flips around in certain spots. The gripshot first arrives on this sandy level to grab the fences or the weighted statue to pull Link across gaps.
Grim Temple, but they really should have called it the Haunted Mansion. The dimly lit levels are meant to deceive players into thinking there is a platform where there isn’t. Plus, there is a segment where there are platforms with specific colors, and only the correlating Link can step on his color.
Just look up and you’ll see the Sky Temple. The biggest threat are the strong gusts of wind that can push you off of platforms. Certain areas are set up with narrow bridges covered with strong gusts trying to knock you off the ledge, so be careful.
Den of Trials
The Den of Trials is eight levels compiled of all the different areas that preceded it. This is the ultimate test of skill and puzzle solving.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Question: Can we Make all the Outfits Right at the Beginning of the Game?
Answer: Sadly, no, only eight are available to order at the beginning of the game. The rest you get from progressing through the story. To ensure you can make them all, you will have to purchase the game and not play in Download Play.
Question: Can my Friends and I all Wear the Same Outfit?
Answer: Absolutely. Some actually give you a higher bonus to the perks if more than one Link is wearing the same outfit.
Question: Do Red and Blue Link Have Elemental Powers of Their Own?
Answer: No, I believe that is just so that you can tell yourself apart from friends.
While Tri Force Heroes is a fun game to enjoy with friends, it lacks the replay value, depth, and design of other entries in the Zelda franchise. Playing this game via Download Play is the best, so you don’t end up paying the outrageous price for a Zelda game. The level designs get annoying if you play alone since you do the work of three people. I never played alone; thankfully, I always had at least one or two people playing with me. It’s not the most involved Zelda game, but it’s still a fun game for the franchise.