The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes Review

TriForce Heroes Review triforce-heroes-3dsThe Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes just came out on Friday, but Graev and I have logged numerous hours in what I think is one of my favorite 3DS games yet. TriForce Heroes is a multiplayer experience designed for three players to work together to complete levels comprised of various platformer puzzles and challenges. While the game does allow people with absolutely no friends internet connection to play by themselves, the heart of TriForce Heroes can only be found in its multiplayer experience.

You take on the role of Link. And your friends (or random online people) take on the roles of… Links. That’s sort of where the story in TriForce Heroes begins to break down. You’re all heroes, but at the same time you’re not. Apparently Nintendo has said (these?) are the same Link from A Link Between Worlds, but you’ve come to Hytopia and decide to hide your heroic origins by dressing up in what can only be considered fantabulous outfits. Oh yes, the story gets better… or worse… or better?

triforce-heroes-totemThe gist of the story here is that Hytopia, a kingdom passionate about fashion, has been plagued by this awful witch (known only as “The Lady”) who has cursed the beautiful fashionista princess with the most unimaginably horrible curse of all: To forever have to wear this ugly brownish bodysuit thing. It is up to you (or the three of you) to save Hytopia from this awful curse by entering the Drablands (eye roll) and fulfill the prophesy to stop “The Lady.” So yeah.. the story sucks. It’s worse than any story in any Zelda game ever–and has matching dialog too. But if you completely ignore the story, the gameplay is phenomenal. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that your goal throughout this entire experience is to also acquire crafting materials to make yourself some chic outfits with bonuses.

Gameplay is similar to just about every handheld Zelda game thus far. I personally think it handles like a dream. You’ll queue up with any combination of 3 whether it be people you know or randoms or any mixture. Your goal in every level is simply to get to the end, and to do so requires utilizing unparalleled amounts of teamwork combining different items and strategies. You’ll be coordinating attacks, movements, and abilities that rival the coordination of a WoW raid boss–not kidding. Sharing the same hearts for health and being able to hurt each other with bombs makes the whole thing

triforce heroes carrying teammates

Graev (in green) carrying this guy (red) who was so bad. He flailed wildly with what could only have been the maddest of attempts to free himself.

Solving levels can be quite a challenge, and doing so with absolutely no voice communication is the best part of TriForce Heroes. Some reviews I’ve read consider the lack of communication a negative, but I think it might be this game’s biggest strength. Spamming the emojis of “Throw!” “Over Here!” and “Item!” etc., have brought on tears streaming down my face. I was laughing so hard last night that I got a massive headache. I haven’t laughed so hard in months! Graev and I were playing once level and the guy we teamed with was so unbearably bad that Graev finally said screw it and picked him up, unwilling to put him down, and forcefully carried him over his head like a bomb through half the level.

The intricate puzzles you’ll be solving, and the hilarity of doing it while having to rely on two other people to often be completely in-sync make for a chaotic yet addicting experience. Even when you come across someone who is so bad it makes you want to cry, you’ll be jumping right back in to see how much better you can do on that level the next time around. TriForce Heroes is just that kind of game. The attention to detail is so finely crafted around this multiplayer experience that it’s simply a masterpiece in that regard. You’ll easily put in 20+ hours before feeling anywhere near like you’ve played the same level twice. That’s the beauty of that multiplayer interaction.

Yoshi’s Woolly World

Yoshi's Woolly World Review

When I sat down with Graev to play through Yoshi’s Woolly World I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting much. The premise of playing a character in a world of yarn was strange and certainly not my preferred textile. But within minutes all of that predisposed bias went out the window as I stuck my tongue out, ate Graev, and ‘produced’ a yarn egg with his face on it. I proceeded to throw him at the nearest thing and watched as it brought the scenery to life.

The video above should give you a great frame of reference for what I’m talking about.

Yoshi’s Woolly World is an awesome platformer, and one I must admit would not be anywhere near as fun playing by myself. Gameplay is straight forward: You run, jump, hover with a little upward motion, stick your tongue out to pull things in, spit stuff out, and ‘produce’ balls of yarn if you choose to have the item you just ate come out the… other end. This will all feel completely familiar to anyone who has ever used Yoshi in any of his forms. Unique to Woolly World is the ability to use yarn which you can aim and throw to build and alter parts of the stage.

Co-op play, again, is the key here. ‘Utilizing’ each other to overcome obstacles, find new areas unique to co-op, and just overall working your way through the levels is way more dynamic with two players. As usual, Graev and I often feel like playing together makes the stages more challenging. Jumping on each other to save ourselves tends to foster a, “WTF did you do that for” experience. 😛

Yoshi's Woolly World

The Amiibo bundle is only a little bit more and worth it!

Each level requires careful attention to detail to uncover the myriad of hidden daisies, bundles of yarn, beads (that I think look more like gems), stamps, and hearts to try and beat the level with full health. Gathering all of the yarn bundles on a level gives you a Yarn Yoshi themed to that level that you can then use anywhere. You’ll want gems so that you can purchase badges to use on levels such as making all yarn balls big and other neat little boosts. While any given level can be beaten fairly quickly — in fact, very quickly — taking it slow to find all of these collectibles is where you’ll find the most depth and enjoyment.

I was expecting the levels, for the most part, to be a cakewalk. They’re actually pretty tough, especially when you play the hidden levels unlocked by getting all of the daisies in a world. The levels feel incredibly hand-crafted and some of the puzzle-like nature of unraveling or manipulating the cloth and yarn makes for an awesome “Oh wow look what I found” moment. The various mechanics they introduce are fun and fitting to the setting.

There’s tons to see and experience.. I think Nintendo was very clever with incorporating the theme of a yarn and clothlike world. It works, and they definitely embrace it to its fullest. I think my only complaint would be that you do reach a point on some levels when you’re like, “Okay I’m ready for something new…”.  Oh, and sometimes I think finding all of the items can be a little tedious, especially if you realize at the last second, “Crap I missed that Yarn and can’t go back!”

Overall, Yoshi’s Woolly World is an awesome game and one of the best on the Wii U.

Super Mario Maker Review

Super Mario Maker Building Tools

Spoilers: Super Mario Maker is so much fun! Super Mario Maker takes all of the things (well, almost all) we know and love from Mario over the last 30 years and packages it all up into what is by far the biggest and potentially never-ending Mario game ever made.

Super Mario Maker allows players to create their very own Mario levels using graphic styles, doodads, enemies, bosses, and gameplay mechanics from all of the 2D side-scrolling Mario games. In addition to making and playing your own levels, players can go to the Course World and download levels made by other players all over the world.

Course Maker Mode

The creation tools are phenomenal. I can’t imagine them working much better than this in terms of functionality. The experience is so seamless and smooth that you can literally place something, click play, and test it out on the spot. There aren’t load times or transitions — it’s instantaneous. The developers wanted this experience to be smooth, and they nailed it.

Here’s where the gamepad shines and no other consoles can compete. Being able to use the stylus to drag/drop and manipulate two screens is a must.

My biggest criticism of the make mode has nothing to do with what’s in the game. Everything in the game is fantastic. I’m more bummed about what wasn’t included, and hope that we’ll see it patched in soon. Here are a few things I’ve noticed that are missing:

  • Scenery: Desert, Beach, Forest, Snow
  • Tanooki Suit Mario
  • Ice Flower
  • Colored Yoshi
  • Wind

The list is actually extensive and growing, which leads me to believe we’re either going to see DLC, or if Nintendo treats this like they did Splatoon we may see this added for free. Fingers crossed. [Read more…]

Disney Infinity 3.0 Overview and Review

Disney Infinity 3.0

I almost don’t even know where to begin with my coverage of Disney Infinity 3.0 because the game itself is so massive in scope that tackling the entire thing at once feels way too daunting for both me to type up and for you to even want to read in one sitting. I decided the best thing to do would be to cover various aspects of the game in different entries, document some of what I write about in casual Let’s Play videos, and go from there.

Today’s post is going to be a little bit of a broad overview. I’m going to attach Episode 1 of my Let’s Play series for you to see some of these things I’m talking about. This will act as my review for the game itself overall. I will review each of the items sold separately for you to be able to make an educated decision on whether or not they are worth the purchase.

What is Disney Infinity 3.0?

Disney Infinity 3.0 is the third game in what what has grown from a simple Skylanders rip off into a juggernaut of a game. As I mentioned before, the scope of DI is huge. There’s a toy box where you can build everything from Disney to Star Wars to Marvel themed worlds, create your own games and script them with in-game tools — yes, you can even make isometric MOBAs in this thing — and decorate a house. There’s even the ability to download other players’ toy boxes.

You can also play through story-driven Play Sets which act as action/adventure games. So far there are three Play Sets released — two for Star Wars and one for Inside Out — which I will review independently. There’s Twilight of the Republic ($34.99) which takes place in the clone wars era, and Rise Against the Empire ($34.99) which spans New Hope through RotJ. I haven’t picked up Inside Out yet, but I’ll probably grab it soon. Oh, if you buy it be sure to get it in the Inside Out Bundle exclusive to Amazon for $65.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Play Sets

Looking for something a little more like Diablo? A dungeon crawler of sorts? Yep, there’s a game for that called Toy Box Takeover ($20). There’s even upcoming Toy Box expansion called Toy Box Speedway which is a Mario Kart-esque racer. I have no idea when that comes out. I will also review these independently since they are each sold separately. [Read more…]

So Many Games. So Little Time.

I hope you all had a great [Labor Day] Weekend whether you spent it gaming up a storm or spending time with family. I managed to do a little bit of both. My wife and I did the family BBQ thing on Saturday, then went to Disneyland yesterday and managed to get into the park an hour early during their “Magic Hour” that is supposed to be reserved for Disneyland Hotel guests. A sweet elderly cast member let us in saying, “They usually don’t let us do this, but come on in.” We went on 5 rides before the gates opened and the apocalypse was upon us.

In terms of games, I haven’t been in this good of a spot in years. I have this anxious happiness about me now that was previously filled with this “ugh” feeling. The days of having nothing to do are like a distant memory. I now have a massive onset of games that I am trying to wade my way through.

SoraKingdom Hearts -> I’m playing through for my very first time. I probably won’t get to any formal writeup on this, unless enough people express interest, so this is where I’ll deposit some thoughts. KH is hard. Not necessarily in the fighting mechanics or beating bosses — though those can be a challenge — but in the ‘figuring things out’ kind of way. Just finding our where the game wants me to go next requires exploring guessing.

My wife and I are playing through this together, and as huge Disney fans its doesn’t get much better than this for gaming. The story is complex, nonsensical at parts, but slowly coming together. If you like Disney, Square, and a good RPG/adventure game of sorts then give the series a try. Warning: It starts slow.

Some other games I’m playing:

  • Diablo 3 – Currently able to solo T9 GRifts in Season 4 with absolute ease. T10 is doable, but a challenge. I have all of the items I need for my build, and now I’m just trying to get lucky and find better versions of them.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 – Lots of write-ups coming your way for this one, and a few videos too. I’m even doing some Let’s Plays.
  • Rare Replay – So many games…. so little time.
  • World of Warcraft – I’m level 98 and leveling faster than I would like. I’m still in the 3rd zone and will be 100 long, long before I come even close to being done with quests. Mobs I’m currently fighting at 4-5 levels below me. Having a great time with the story.
  • Mario Maker – Not yet playing but will be in 3 days. Make almost any Mario level, play levels other people make? Oh yeah.

Reviews Coming Soon

  • Disney Infinity 3.0
  • Mario Maker

This might be the first time I have ever had games going on this many consoles and the PC at the same time. #FirstWorldProblems

Lots to come on my experiences. I just have to find time to take a breath and come up for air every once in a while.