3DS Review: The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

3 Links for the price of one, but is it the Zelda game we’ve been waiting for?

After the success of A Link Between Worlds and Majora’s Mask 3D, the wait for Zelda U seems eternal but to tide us over we have what I like to call a Zelda-lite experience in Tri Force Heroes which takes the ALBW look and feel, but it blends in gameplay that feels reminiscent of Four Swords but with 3 Links instead of 4 (Poor Purple Link didn’t make the cut for some reason) as they tackle smaller levels and dungeons in order to save a princess who isn’t Zelda.
The story itself is very basic, essentially a witch was jealous of the princess’ fashion and cast a spell to make her unfashionable until it is broken. The King sends out a call for Heroes to enter an area known as the Drablands to defeat the witch and break the curse. The heroes just happen to all look like Link, but they can all change their costumes in their wardrobe throughout the game by collecting materials at the end of each level. You can dress as many different characters including a Goron, a Zora and even Link in a Zelda get-up that raises several questions…

No matter how you choose to play, either local, online or solo…you will need 3 Heroes to proceed to the Drablands. Solo is tough to play as you have to manually switch between the Links to control them as the others don’t have any AI at all, which is a little disappointing. Online is the quickest option, but it’s not the easiest as success is all dependent on how good your teammates are, not to mention that your hearts are shared across all 3 players…so one bad player could ruin things for you, not to mention you only get a few lives to try each stage before Game Over.

The costumes have more use than just on the eyes, each comes with perks like being able to swim faster, produce more hearts or fire 3 arrows instead of one. Gaining the materials to produce these are random, so it’ll take several playthroughs of certain levels to hopefully gain what you need. Each of the 8 areas are built up of 4 levels each with 4 stages before collecting the loot at the end so it’s never over quickly.
Online play isn’t flawless, it’s all dependent on a host connection which seems to be random. I’ve had several disconnects and attempts to reconnect before it cuts out, as well as quite a bit of lag that has made some stages impossible to play, but it’s fair to point out that this doesn’t happen every time and some sessions have had no issues at all.

The visual style of ALBW suits Tri Force Heroes incredibly well, especially with the touch screen prompts to tell your team what to do or to celebrate. Music has always been a big part of Zelda and while it’s smaller in scale, there are still some memorable tunes here that I hear have already been added to the Zelda Symphony’s next tour.

The Verdict

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes may not be the Zelda game we have been waiting for, that belongs to Zelda U and hopefully we won’t have to wait too long in 2016 for it, but this 3DS outing is charming nonetheless and addictive to play with friends or random players online, just be aware that it can become frustrating if one or two have no idea what they are doing, which would almost ruin it if not for the classic Zelda charm that is undeniable in every single game.

Score: 8.5