Sorry for the major posting today but guess what, readers? It’s another collaboration post, but this one is, dare I say, even bigger than the last one I was involved in! This series, put on by NekoJonez, is a nice retrospective on everyone’s (or at least my) favorite series: The Legend of Zelda. In his article you’ll find links between blogs, sharing all the amazing posts by other bloggers discussing each of the LoZ games. I am so glad and grateful to be involved in this article because, as you all know, I’m a little obsessed with Zelda… Just a bit…
I get to talk about Tri-Force Heroes! I’ll be taking you through my favorite part of the game: the nostalgia. This is something Nintendo really tapped into in order to make the game a massively enjoyable multiplayer experience.
Triforce Heroes, for those of you who never played it, is a multiplayer game for the Nintendo 3DS handheld consoles. The game was created to improve on the limitations of the GameBoy Advanced Four Swords multiplayer game, which required a lot of finagling to be able to play with others. Utilizing the built-in WiFi and capability to interact with people all across the globe, Nintendo was able to recapture the enjoyment and excitement of a multiplayer Zelda game in a much more user-friendly way.
Once you start playing Triforce Heroes it seems like Nintendo wanted to recapture a lot of past feelings. The nostalgia factor is incredibly high while playing, with nods to previous characters, abilities, and artistic styles throughout the game. It may seem like a simple move to include these little hints but it sure made all the difference for me! As a bit of a stickler for story the idea of saving an entire kingdom from a “fashion emergency” put me off right from the start. I was skeptical about the fun I would have playing a game that not only cut out Zelda and Hyrule, but also cut out any semblance of a real story. But every time I came across another nod at the Zelda series I felt excited, happy that I understood the reference, and eager to continue playing. For me, that was the real masterpiece of the game. Nintendo’s ability to capitalize on our love of these characters is what keeps us coming back for more! What are some of these references, you might ask? Here, let me show you…
First, let’s talk about concept and artistic style. This game is heavily based off of the art and world of A Link Between Worlds. In an interview with Polygon the developer, Hiromasa Shikata, explained that it was A Link Between Worlds that really sparked his interest in creating a multiplayer Legend of Zelda game. So, naturally, the game would have plenty of elements of LbW throughout it. The enemies we encounter in each of the levels, the 2D-but-actually-3D visuals, and the stepped terraces and environments are each elements that hearken directly back to LbW. And, if you know anything about LbW you know that this hearkens back to A Link to the Past, one of the first Legend of Zelda games and a favorite among fans. So right in the initial development is a double-hit of nostalgia.
In Triforce Heroes Link is able to enter a realm of Doppel’s, which are character’s he inhabits in order to complete levels on his own. This ability ensures that players can complete the levels they need to even when other players aren’t available. Shikata, who helped develop Spirit Tracks, explained in his Polygon interview at E3 in 2015 “That element [the ability to control phantoms] really intrigued me and brought out the idea that I wanted to try multiplayer as well.” So, if we read that correctly (and trust me, we did) Link’s ability to play and inhabit other characters is a direct link to Spirit Tracks.
But we can’t just spend the entire article talking about development, can we? There’s far too much to see and remember to focus just on that! We’ve already talked about how the art style was heavily influenced by LbW and ALTTP but it seems the character’s were, as well! There’s no need to go in depth on the enemies, who are a perfect match to the enemies found in LbW. Did Match Master and Doppel Master look strangely familiar to anyone else? Yep, to me they looked and reminded me exactly of Sahasrahla from A Link to the Past. Sahasrahla, the wise old sage, is a perfect match up to the Masters, who are supposed to be guardians of the gates to the outer drablands. This character, who is able to communicate with Link in ALTTP makes perfect sense as the Masters, who would need to communicate with outside Link’s to create matches. And then there’s the Street Merchant, a perfect match to the one found in LbW and ALTTP. This character even makes a little nod when he first shows up at having “seen” Link before… possibly in another world?
And then there’s the outfits. So many of them are reminders of the characters and things we loved from LoZ games. Shall we list them? I think we should, just for the fun of it.
There’s the Goron garb and Kokiri tunic are a perfect match to those races from Ocarina of Time, while the Zora garb comes straight out of LbW and ALTTP. Was anyone else reminded of Dodoh from Skyward Sword with the Rupee Regalia outfit? And Linebeck from Phantom Hourglass and the Fierce Diety armor from Majora’s Mask shows up in the DLC. The Tingle outfit needs no introduction and in a game without Zelda the legendary dress was sorely needed to remind us of her. The Timeless tunic, from the original Legend of Zelda, is the perfect little nod to the one that started it all, changing all the music to 8-bit sounds throughout the entire game. And, in a fit of inclusion Nintendo added the hammerwear, a perfect match to the Hammer Bros. from Mario and the Cozy Parka looked very similar to Ice Climbers from Smash Brothers.
But now for my favorite nostaglia moment of them all – the music balls in the waiting room. I decided, when I was asked to help contribute to this awesome collaboration, to replay a little of the game. While it held up (mostly) from when it was first released I got stuck in an awful lot of waiting rooms. It seems like there are fewer and fewer people playing, which means waiting for matches can take quite a while. And while I waited for a team to show up I spent what amounts to hours playing with the music balls. If you haven’t played the game you can run, full tilt, at the wall and a music ball (looking like a beach ball) will bounce down from the ceiling. If you’re able to keep the ball off the ground using your sword you get to hear all the classic Kondo tunes that make Legend of Zelda great. There’s something, it seems, from nearly every game, and each one brings to mind exactly how much I loved that game and makes me want to play it again. It was like a few perfect minutes remembering things I loved and still loved from every single game. I would even get a little upset when my match would begin and it would prevent me from playing with the music balls…
Nintendo created an incredible franchise when they developed The Legend of Zelda. They created memorable characters, places, stories, items, and music to immerse us in a world we can continue to visit again and again. In Triforce Heroes, where they needed to create a different type of story and a different type of gameplay, Nintendo capitalized on the elements of LoZ that really capture our hearts, making it another classic we will continue to revisit as time passes on.
Featured Image Credit: Pieter-Jan Casteels https://zoef.deviantart.com/