If you’ve ever held a controller that has the word Nintendo printed (or imprinted) somewhere upon it, then you’ve probably heard about The Legend of Zelda. As to why Zelda is the one with the legend is beyond me, given her propensity for only battling the forces of evil in the final assault. But that’s neither here nor there, this incarnation around we are here to talk about the Hero of time, the Second Hero of Time and the Third Hero of Time. That’s right it a genuine Link-stravaganza in a game that combines the items and skills you know and love, with good ol’ fashoned teamwork.
Assuming the multi-coloured mantle of champion, Tri Force Heroes presents three Links who all share a common goal and, gameplay wise, a common health bar. Thus it’s in the best interest of all involved to co-operate, as you literally cannot proceed alone. At the beginning of each level, the podiums arise bearing three items, each Link then chooses one of said items, cementing their role in the upcoming adventure. For example, players who choose the Bow are the designated long range fighter of the group, utilising their item to strike distant foes and switches. Bomb wielders assume the role of demolition and those with the Gust Jar are necessary to launch their allies to normally unreachable areas. Ultimately it all comes down to personal preference, as each item is needed constantly in every stage.
The other main mechanic of Tri Force Heroes is the Totem system, wherein the Links stand atop each other in order to gain height on a situation. Practically, this allows attacks to strike different planes, with some boss’ weaknesses alternating between one, two and three Links high. Whilst this sounds simple enough, lifting and throwing tends to fall to the panic that arises when a giant sludge monster is raining lightning down upon you. That being said, it’s an interesting mechanic that may require a few attempts before you figure out just how much teamwork is required in any given situation…or how little.
Ultimately, I find Tri Force Heroes interesting because I believe it to be a game that is only as good as those you play it with. Whilst there is a single player mode that features AI controlled buddies, I do not believe it contains everything the multiplayer mode does. For this reason, if you truly wish to experience this game, you’d best find two trustworthy and laterally thinking friends. My personal hands on with the game went well the first time and decidedly less so the second, given my compatriots tendency to ignoring everything I said. This resulted in three Links who were noticeably more on fire than how they started the level. That’s why I preferred my first playthrough, much more coordinated victory…much less death.
So, Tri Force Heroes is an interesting one. In two tries I managed to both enjoy and not enjoy the premise. Granted I was playing with two random convention goers, so I retain hope that actually knowing the people I intend to play with will alleviate the miscommunication, or lack thereof entirely. However, as with all puzzle games, there is an undeniable sense of accomplishment that comes forth when you best a level. As if you’re saying, “Take that video game! You’re not smarter than me!” Is it a childish though to have? Maybe. Did I have it anyway? Yes, yes I did. But, my insecurities aside, Tri Force Heroes is a fun handheld game that I can see myself playing for a while. Though a modicum of moderation might be the key to truly enjoying this game.