The Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes Impressions: Becoming a Triple Threat

We explore a dungeon together in this cooperative take on Zelda games. Now if we can just stop blowing ourselves up.


If there is one game coming out this fall that should spark fierce arguments in the friendly spirit of cooperation, it’s The Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes. Up to three players come together as different colored Links to battle across stages and defeat their bosses. But first, they have to pick the right wardrobe.

Players are asked to select a costume at the start of the game game, which will more-or-less define their powers. While one of my allies chose an outfit that enabled him to fire an unending series of arrows, I chose the Big Bomb suit, which is an obvious homage to Bomberman. With it, I was able to throw oversized explosives at objects. The big catch was that explosive damage causes friendly fire, so my allies and I would have to pay attention to avoid being caught in the blast. Furthermore, I only have a limited time to throw the bomb before it blew up in my hands, which can be a real challenge when trying to line up an explosive basketball shot on a moving target.

While many other cooperative dungeon crawlers might leave players to do their own thing, Triforce Heroes requires characters to come together in a literal sense. The three Links can stack atop each other to form a totem pole, which is necessary in order to reach certain locations or throw things at a particularly tall boss.

Totem mode takes some getting used to. Typically, one player walks up to another and lifts them up onto their shoulders with a press of the A button. Sometimes there is confusion over who is on the bottom, and therefore must manuever the gang to aim without getting hit. After a while of running around independently, it takes a second or two to get into the stacked mindset and help aim while another player shoots. After some dicussion over who would play best as the base to move us around, who should be on top to throw bombs, and who should sit in the middle and look stylish, we managed to get it together.

We made our way through a handful of puzzle rooms while only managing to blow ourselves up a little. All three players use the same health pool, so we had to do our best not to squander them. We had a couple close calls, such as a series of hallways where arrows fired in sequence from the walls. There are areas where, if it weren’t for the shared health, it feels like it’s a case of every Link for himself. But then we reached parts like a giant block that requires all three of us to move, and then we slip into working as a team again.

We eventually reached a boss creature, which was a giant eyeball atop a killer puck, which occasionally had spikes protrude from it. The rest of the time, it roamed the stage in an effort to run us over. Teamwork is essential in this fight, since you’ll need at least two players to stack on top of each other to combat it. It grows an extra layer midway through the battle, which makes a 3-player totem necessary. One person throws bombs to reveal the eyeball, then one or two people are thrown on top of it to attack its weak spot. Eventually, the eyeball leaves its shell altogether and quickly zips around the room to attack you. One would think that it would be really easy for three heroes with swords to take on one naked eyeball, but the thing was pretty fast, and put up a big fight.

One thing that I noticed is that it’s easy to become fixated on the killer, one-eyed, spikey puck and lose sight of the other players and other elements of the map. Especially on the small 3DS screen. For example, we didn’t figure out that there was a ledge with hearts sitting atop it until after we beat the boss. Considering how we finished the fight with two hearts remaining between the three of us, that could have been a very useful discovery.

It took some time before we learned to work as a team, but Triforce Heroes does a lot to encourage players to work together. Our team only died once, which is pretty good, considering how it took a while before we fully got our team spirit going. Even three people who are normally used to playing solo managed to come together and attain victory at that end. Now we just need to stop blowing ourselves up.

The Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes releases this fall for the Nintendo 3DS.

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