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.

Also Not Sure Whether or Not to Get Skylanders SuperChargers

We’re big Skylanders fans. We’ve played them all from day one. We even have week one footage of the original Skylanders launch on Youtube. The fanboy force is strong over here. We normally receive a review copy of Skylanders from Activision, but so far we haven’t received any SuperChargers. It got mailed late, right? It’s just lost in the mail and will be here any minute, right? Right? ::lower lip quivers sadly::

I posted last night about my dilemma over LEGO Dimensions. It’s expensive, it might just be another LEGO game, yada yada, but it’s LEGO and it has Gandalf and Doctor Who and who am I kidding I want it.  The same dilemma exists over Skylanders SuperChargers.

Skylanders Superchargers Action Pack Skylanders Starter Pack = $75.00

Vehicles: $15 each (I’d want a couple)

Skylanders: $13 each  (I’d want a couple)

Sea Racing Action Pack: $35 (New tracks like a Mario Kart circuit, a vehicle, and a Skylander)

There are also “Dual Packs” with a character and a vehicle coming in around MSRP $25 but those have a release date in October. As always, Skylanders are releasing in waves. Wave 1 will have like 4-6 characters and vehicles, wave 2 adds more, etc.

Predicament: Skylanders Wii U vs. PS4 (or Xbox One)

SuperChargers Wii U

SuperChargers on Wii U allows you to play Bowser and Donkey Kong Skylanders which are ALSO Amiibo! Are you freaking kidding me. Genius and insidious in all the right ways. The Wii U version of the Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack comes with Donkey Kong, and the 3DS version comes with Bowers. The Hybrid Amiibo/Skylanders do not work on PS4 or Xbox One, so that’s a huge swing to the Wii U side of the fence.

There’s this question as to whether or not the Wii U version looks inferior, but from all of the videos I’ve watched I can’t tell a difference. Anyone out there have a comparison video or own a Wii U copy and see a huge difference?

SuperChargers Has Online Co-op and Racing

Here’s where this gets even harder for me. Skylanders SuperChargers introduces a new mode for racing vehicles that is very similar to Mario Kart; Oh, it’s also online competitive play. Awesome. They also have online (and couch) adventure mode co-op (play the story with friends) which is … yeah, that’s awesome too. Graev and I could play together which is always a HUGE plus for us.

To Skylanders or Not to Skylanders

When all is said and done, I’m probably sitting at (including tax) $180 of Skylanders Superchargers stuff that I want. Whew… But it has multiplayer co-op for the story and competitive racing.  The struggle is real on this one. Have any of our readers out there already bought Skylanders Superchargers? I know some of you have “kids” who like to play. Wink. wink.

More Thoughts On Super Mario Maker

I wrote my Super Mario Maker review last week, and after seeing the public’s thoughts on the game, as well as a comment I received, I think it’s necessary to continue the dialogue.


Click to enlarge

Super Mario Maker truly is the first of its kind. Does it have its problems? Actually, very few of what I would consider actual problems. The ‘issues’ are all in what Super Mario Maker does not include. I found the image to the right (I do not know who gets credit for it) that nicely illustrates what’s missing.

Yeah, having those things would be nice. I spoke about that in my review. I want different biomes. I want slopes. The missing suits and even items which introduce major mechanics would be great too. Those things can be added in a patch/dlc.

There are bigger issues here with which I do agree.

No Map Maker in Super Mario Maker

No World or Map Maker

Here’s where most people get hung up: You can’t actually make a full Mario game in Super Mario Maker. You can’t make a world. You can’t make a map. Super Mario Maker is about making levels or courses. It’s about sharing those courses with people online and with friends. You download courses and rate them, discuss them, etc. People have taken to themes whether they be levels that are zany and play themselves, or creating the most ridiculously impossible course ever.

Yeah, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could make our own map and set up a series of levels? I’d love to theme a world and connect everything together. Lives right now don’t matter unless you play 100 Mario Mode. Fighting a boss is silly because it’s not really a boss of anything. There’s not progression. But again, that’s not Super Mario Maker’s fault.

However, the framework is already there for this to be a feature. When saving a level you can choose to save it to a world. Right now those worlds serve no purpose. Could this be a feature coming soon?

Lack of Purpose

This was alluded to a moment ago when I talked about lives not mattering and bosses serving no purpose. There is a distinct lack of “I should be checking these ?-blocks!” If you die it doesn’t matter. Coins don’t matter. Storing items doesn’t matter. If you die you just start over.

This is Not the Game You’re Looking For…

While I agree completely with all of the above, technically that’s not the fault of the game or its developers. They made a fantastic game within a tool, and a rather innovative new one at that. Super Mario Maker is a course maker using the items available. The point is sharing what you make with others in bite-sized pieces. With what we have been given, this is revolutionary.

I personally want the tools to make a Mario 64 or even a Super Mario 3D World level. How amazing would that be?!

It’s hard to ding a game for being completely new but not going the extra mile that we can only see now that we have this new thing in our hands. That’s why I think Super Mario Maker deserves the near-perfect score I gave it.  Now, if Nintendo launches Super Mario Maker 2 and adds nothing upon this model… then we have a lot to complain about.

I think this is only the beginning for this model. I predict Nintendo will run with this idea and create a Mario Kart variation, as well as a version to introduce Mario 64 / the 3D model. This has generated an enormous amount of buzz for them around something that has been out for 30 years… it’s incredible.

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…]