While more traditional Zelda adventures like Skyward Sword and The Wind Waker HD continue to be go-to favorites for fans, there are several side adventures worth everyone’s time. One in particular is Four Swords Adventures, which originally released for the GameCube before coming to the 3DS as a free download. In it, four Links charge onto the screen, working alongside each other to solve puzzles and battle enemies. A solo player can control all these characters, but the game shines most with friends.
Multiplayer must've worked well for Four Swords, because Nintendo will return to it with Tri-Force Heroes, set to arrive on the 3DS later this year. In this new adventure, up to three players join in a cooperative battle, each playing a variation of Link as they battle enemies and solve puzzles.
The game follows the classic Legend of Zelda tempo when it comes to exploration, as players make their way through towns and villages, finding new items and taking on groups of monsters. There are also dungeons to explore, where players work together to open doors and find new items.
Along the way, certain items will be acquired to help gamers over the course of their journey. These include the traditional bombs, used to blow up obstacles or take out larger groups of enemies, as well as a magical rod that unleashes a gust of wind that not only blows away foes, but also propels other Links across a wide gap.
Teamwork plays a big part over the course of Tri Force Heroes. At one point, players progress through a puzzle, firing arrows from their bows at switches laying just outside of reach, as well as stacking up like a totem pole (or hurling each other like Frisbees), allowing the person on top to activate a switch that couldn’t be touched otherwise.
Working together as a group is vital, and each Link possesses series of commands to keep in touch with his comrades, giving tips or voicing displeasure over what's happened. This communication is important because the three characters share a single life bar, and once it depletes, it's game over for everyone.
One other unique feature that makes Tri-Force Heroes stand out from other Zelda adventures is the ability to play dress-up. However, these outfits aren't just for show – they add something vital to the team, whether it's a powerful new weapon or an accessory to provide an additional boost.
Here are a couple of examples. Putting on Zelda's dress provides the team with additional hearts, giving them extra strength. There's also a bomb suit that provides bigger explosives, as well as a cool samurai outfit that gives this Link the opportunity to cut through bad guys with a spin attack.
New outfits will open up over the course of the game, giving players more initiative to explore dungeons in the hopes of finding something new. The more they progress, the fuller their closets become and the more outfit choices they'll have. Outfits can also be made using materials found over the course of the game, so players can modify their own and add to their collections.
Tri Force Heroes can be played locally with others or online, and provides a single player option. The levels are built a bit differently for solo adventurers, without the need for co-op elements, but they’ll find challenging boss battles and plenty of hidden secrets.
While it doesn't quite fill the void left by the still-in-progress Legend of Zelda game for Wii U, Tri Force Heroes should be a fun little adventure for fans of the series when it arrives later this year. Get some friends together and Link up!