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Video Game / The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

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The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is the 18th installment in The Legend of Zelda series, released on the Nintendo 3DS in North America and Europe on October 23rd, 2015. It is the third Zelda game to utilize multiplayer for the main game, after Four Swords and Four Sword Adventures, and notable for being the series first online multiplayer outing. According to Word of God it is a direct sequel to A Link Between Worlds, with that game's Link being one of the three Links here.

The story takes place in the fashion-forward kingdom of Hytopia, whose princess (who is not Zelda for once, but the princess Styla) is renowned for her beauty and style. But one day, she is cursed to be — [shudder]unfashionable; stuck in a full-body leotard that she can't take off. The king calls out for a hero, and naturally, Link is ready to answer the Call to Adventure... however, so are two other Links. With multiple people claiming to be The Hero this time around, they have to work to fulfill the king's prophecy of three heroes that come together to form a totem.

Naturally, the gameplay is heavily based on The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, only minus one Link. The game supports local and online multiplayer, the latter being a first for the series. There is a Hub Town as a staging ground for adventures, while dungeon structure is similar to the dungeons found in the original Four Swords, only with a few twists thrown in from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, which it shares the same general graphical style with. Like the Four Swords series the game omits an overworld in favor of just picking out which dungeon players wish to tackle from a map screen, but a hub town that acts as the lobby is present. An update on December 2nd, 2015 added a new Bonus Dungeon and two new outfits.


This game includes examples of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The online mode allows you to blacklist false heroes (griefers) who behave unheroically (sabotage you) in the Drablands.
    • If you lose the connection in the middle of a level, the game gives you some sympathy rupees as a consolation. You also get to keep any rupees you'd found so far.
    • The Dec. 2nd update allows players to obtain Friendly Tokens at the shop stall and daily treasure game, so people who don't know lots of other local 3DS owners won't be screwed out of the outfits that require them.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Surprisingly averted. When the king needed a hero, the entire kingdom was willing to answer, and not just Link.
  • Art Shift: Interestingly, while the in-game graphic style is derived from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, the official art and in-game models for the Links have the Toon Link art-style.
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  • Artifact Title: Princess Zelda is nowhere to be found in the game, making it the first game since Link's Awakening not to have the character. Instead, you must help Princess Styla. The closest Zelda has towards an appearance is the "Legendary Dress" item.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Bombs are useful for their ability to blow stuff up, as well as being required to kill the Woodlands boss, Margoma. However, they use a lot of energy and are ineffective as actual weapons unless you know how to time them properly. Worse yet, they can hurt you and your teammates, which can lead to you pulling off a literal Hoist by His Own Petard if you're not careful.
    • Then there's the Big Bomb Outfit, which powers up aforementioned bombs, doubling their blast radius and damage. Unfortunately, that damage boost also applies to you, and the larger explosion is harder to avoid as well. It is even entirely possible to One-Hit Kill your entire team with a single bomb if you're not careful.
    • Most notable of all is the Tri Suit, which in addition to being obtainable only as a Socialization Bonus (see below) requires all three Links to wear it in a level, otherwise it behaves as a glorified version of the Hero's Tunic. In other words, you can't use it in singleplayer because Doppels cannot wear outfits other than aforementioned Hero's Tunic. As for the effect when all three Links do wear it? You essentially get the Energy Gear (50% bigger Mana Meter), Legendary Dress (increased heart drop rate), Rupee Regalia (increased rupee drop rate), and Lucky Loungewear (25% chance to No-Sell attacks) all combined into a single outfit. Not all that impressive in other words, unless you're desperately after Rupees.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The Cheerleader Outfit gives Link this. Yes, it's the female version.
  • Battle Boomerang: Yes, it has returned. In addition to the classic utility of stunning enemies, hitting switches, and grabbing unreachable items, it can also be used to grab distant Links and pull them across gaps they cannot otherwise traverse. There is even an outfit available that powers it up, enabling it to deal damage to enemies, and grab two Links at once, rather than one.
  • Bears Are Bad News: An amusing variation: the starting outfit is an orange shirt with a cute bear picture on it. Wearing it causes you to take double damage and decreases your health by a full heart container, unless you obtain at least 30 Hero Points, introduced with the latest update. If you do, it increases your health by two heart containers, and gives you a very high chance to dodge enemy attacks and take no damage at all. However, you still take double damage from attacks that do hit you, making it more of a Lethal Joke Item if anything.
  • Blow You Away: The Gust Jar, making its return from The Minish Cap, is a pretty literal example — you use it to blow Links or other items (such as bombs) across gaps. You can also use it to stun enemies or knock them into Bottomless Pits.
  • Boss Rush: Of a fashion. Midway through the game, the Links take on The Lady's Pets, three consecutive bosses who all emulate previous major bosses Margoma, Moldorm and Arrghus.
  • Boss Subtitles: Though without the usual descriptive phrase this time.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Fierce Deity Armor increases your attack power and lets you shoot Sword Beams in four directions. You get it by completing the Den of Trials, the hardest area in the game, so unless you have some other challenges to complete there's not much to do with it.
  • Breather Episode: A breather game for the series as a whole. Tri Force Heroes doesn't deal with an apocalypse or the theme of loss like the other installments. You just have to save a kingdom from a fashion emergency.
  • The Chosen Many: The prophecy of this kingdom isn't of a singular person with the spirit of the hero, but of three who work as a totem.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Green Link, Red Link, and Blue Link. Even their hair is color coded this time.
  • Clingy Costume: Princess Styla is stuck in one.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: A main mechanism in the game is the ability to give Link different costumes which give him different abilities, like Samurai armour which allows him to extend the range of his Spin Attack or a jester outfit which gives him a random chance to nullify any damage taken.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The color of a Poe indicates what Link can harm it: green ones can only be harmed by Green Link, red ones can only be harmed by Red Link, blue ones can only be harmed by Blue Link, and white ones can be harmed by all three.
    • In The Ruins, there are platforms in certain areas that can only be stood on by the Link of the same color. Even setting one foot on them as the wrong-colored Link will cause you to fall through immediately.
    • Prismantus, the boss of The Ruins, also exhibits this — the three orbs on his body can only be struck by the sword of the same-colored Link.
    • Happens twice during the second fight against The Lady at the Sky Temple. At the end of the first phase, she summons a colored ball of energy that the Links must hit back at her. Hitting the ball with the wrong colored Link results in unavoidable damage. In the second phase, she will summon colored umbrellas that work the same way as the colored platforms from The Ruins, as well as white umbrellas that can be stood on by all three Links.
  • Compressed Hair: Princess Styla is cursed to wear a black body suit in which her Rapunzel Hair manages to fit (though it is with a noticeable bulge on the back of her head).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Very rarely, one of the small birds in the hub town will be blue. Similarly, blue birds rarely appeared outside of the Sacred Grounds in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
    • The longtime "It's a secret to everybody" Zelda running gag returns, this time, as what the "secret message" within the Hytopia hub town deciphers to.
    • The end of the Den of Trials is a big one to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The Bonus Boss gets a remix of Dark Link's battle theme, winning said battle plays a remix of the Victory jingle that plays after Dark Link's demise, which then goes to a remix of the "Awakening Zelda" track. If you wear the Timeless Tunic, the battle theme's remix even uses the original track as part of it.
  • Critical Annoyance: The original "critical health" sound is here, but has a higher pitch with only one heart, along with messages constantly saying, "Careful!" "Your team is low on hearts!" "Danger!"
  • Denser and Wackier: The setting is less serious than the other games. For starters, the kindom treats fashion as Serious Business, and being forced to wear something unfashionable is considered a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Magic Hammer is one of the items you can find in certain stages. If you get the Hammerwear outfit, you can easily turn it into near-Game-Breaker tier, as it is not only makes the hammer twice as fast, but it causes a huge shockwave and deals enough damage to kill an Aeralfos in one hit.
  • Excuse Plot: Along with Denser and Wackier above. The Princess has been forced to wear a really ugly leotard she can't take off. That's all the justification you need for an adventure.
  • Fireballs: A new item in the game is a pair of gloves that give Link the ability to fling fireballs, not unlike the ones from the Fire Flower power up from the Mario games. They even make the same sound effect.
  • Floating Continent: A level takes place in a floating fortress.
  • Gaiden Game: It's not related to the other games, doesn't take place in Hyrule, doesn't feature Princess Zelda and uses costumes as power-ups.note  Only Word of God confirms its place in the series (and that the green Link's the exact same one as the one from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds).
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Gripshot, which works similarly to the Hookshot of previous titles, but now allows you to grapple onto your teammates.
  • Gratuitous English: The Japanese version has communication icons reading "NO...!," "Hi," and "Let's Go!" in English. The English version still changed these slightly for capitalization, and changed the former two to "Nooo!" and "Hello!"
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress:
    • Can occur in certain levels of The Ruins, if you step on a colored platform as the wrong-colored Link.
    • Can also be used to One-Hit Kill most enemies, including Demonic Spiders like Redeads. Many of them will scramble frantically in midair before dropping to their doom.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Link has some competition this time around for the role as The Hero, namely two Identical Strangers. Thankfully, they're more than willing to work together with him in dungeons and such. There's also another NPC outside the castle who wants to join in but doesn't fit the requirements.
  • Human Ladder: The three Links can make one to resolve puzzles.
  • Identical Stranger: The official explanation is that the prophecy describes the hero as having Link's appearance, with long sideburns and pointy ears. The three people who step up all fit the bill.
  • Item Crafting: Materials can be obtained to create new outfits.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Wouldn't be a Zelda game without a few.
    • The Cheer Outfit is a prime example. It costs a whopping 9100 Rupees to make, but if you manage to save up for it, it can be very beneficial for your teammates as it doubles their Mana Meters. Other than that it's nothing more than a silly-looking version of the Hero's Tunic.
    • The Cursed Tights, which give you a fifty-fifty chance to avoid an incoming attack... but any that do hit you will cause double damage.
    • If you obtain enough Hero Points as of the latest update, the Bear Minimum outfit also qualifies, being essentially the same as the above Cursed Tights, but with the addded benefit of two additional Heart Containers.
  • Lighter and Softer: While A Link Between Worlds was a fairly lighthearted game with minimal plot interference, it still contained some pretty heavy themes (some religious) and one of the most dangerous villains and evil plots in the franchise. Tri Force Heroes does away with all that and features a genuine Excuse Plot with the peril being fashion-related.
  • Lost Woods: The Woodlands, the first stage of the Drablands.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Averted; for the first time in the series, Link goes through the entirety of the game without the option of a shield to defend against enemies. The closest substitute is the Serpent’s Toga, an outfit that will turn its wearer into an impenetrable stone statue so long as he’s standing still.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission: Three types of challenges:
    • Guard the Orb: Like Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, the stages are filled with poisonous gas, and one player must carry a crystal orb which provides a safe zone for the others. Fortunately, the orb is indestructible and can be passed to other players or dropped if all three need to work together.
    • Transport the Orb Quickly: No poisonous gas, but now the orb has to be carried to the end of the stage within a time limit.
    • Don't Drop the Pot: One character must carry a very large, very fragile pot to the end of the level. Like the orb, it can be passed to other players, but if the throw misses the other player or hits something else, or if the player carrying it is hit by an enemy or falls into a pit, the pot breaks and the team loses a life.
  • Magikarp Power: The December 2nd update adds a Hero Point system, awarding points every time a player clears a mission they didn't vote for. Once the player has 30 the starting outfit, the Bear Minimum digs, goes from providing -1 heart and taking double damage to providing +2 hearts and a 50% chance to avoid taking damage, although still taking double damage.
  • Making a Splash: The Water Rod summons pillars of water that can be used as platforms or a stunning attack.
  • Meaningful Name: Princess Styla is the most fashionable girl in the kingdom.
  • Minecart Madness: Hinox Mines as well as the boss of World 3.
  • Money for Nothing: Averted for once. Money is scarce in the hub area and only given a few hundred at a time for beating missions. You even get rupees if your game disconnects before it ends. That said, the cheapest item that the merchant sells is 250 rupees and every new costume costs at least a few hundred to craft, meaning about one new costume every two missions for a while, before slipping to about one every 5 missions on average. The Cheer Outfit in particular will have players grinding for money — it costs 9000 rupees for the materials alone.
  • Mirror Match: The Shadow Links at the end of the Den of Trials fight like a group of Links, even down to using the items you can use, but upgraded. And they know how to use them.
  • Money Multiplier:
    • The Rupee Regalia makes rupees drop from enemies and objects more often, so that you can farm money in the hub town.
    • The Tri Suit also has this functionality, provided both of your teammates are wearing it too.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The Den of Trials added in the new update of the game is a 40-floor dungeon with every floor containing enemies from the game, including new dark enemies, and you have to fight your way down.
  • Musical Nod: The Lucky Lobby Ball plays a wide variety of songs both from this game and various previous Zelda games if you can keep bouncing it.
  • Mythology Gag: Aside from the costumes, there's a few: The Faux Hero has Pink hair- The Link from Link to the Past has pink hair in his sprite.
  • Ocular Gushers: King Tuft sports a pair of ocular waterfalls in regards to his daughter's curse.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, apparently. The three Heroes are pretty consistently referred to as Link, and collectively as "Links", by Nintendo. Though this might be related to them putting on their Hero Guise.
  • Palmtree Panic: World 2 — The Riverside.
  • Play Every Day: There's a game of chance that you play once a day which guarantees a grand prize if you play it for four days in a row, and the market refreshes its stock daily.
  • Save the Princess: Yes, again. But it's not Zelda this time, and the fact that you're rescuing her from being a fashion victim seems to be a parody of the trope.
  • Sentai: The Tri Suit is a Zelda-style Sentai costume. True to Sentai standards, it runs on The Power of Teamwork: it can provide massive bonuses, but all three Links need to be wearing it to activate them.
  • Sequence Breaking: If you pick "I can't decide" when choosing which area to travel to in online play, you can potentially play stages you haven't unlocked yet from playing through the story.
  • Shared Life Meter: The three Links share hearts.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In single player, the magic words to awaken the Dopples are "Oknij aknima boosto gamgeenee".
    • The Fire Glove uses the Fire Flower's Sound.
    • The "Guard the orb" challenges involve a crystal that the team must carry through the level, which provides a safe spot from a damaging gas, much like Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.
    • The North American English release of the game references the Doge meme during one of the adventurer's diary entries. "So Ancient. Such ruin."
    • A few of costumes in the games are shout outs to other Zelda characters and other video games.
      • The Goron Suit specifically resembles Darunia. It also has a green loincloth like Link's Goron transformation in Majora's Mask.
      • One suit resembles a Hammer Bro. After putting it on, one of the costume shop patrons will ask if you used a koopon to buy it.
      • A suit that turns Link into a blocky version of himself closely resembles the playable characters from Minecraft.
      • The Cozy Parka greatly resembles the outfit worn by Zunari, the merchant from Wind Waker, as well as Popo from Ice Climber.
      • Two new outfits added in the Dec 2nd update are Linebeck's Uniform and the Fierce Deity Armor.
    • There is a little boy and girl in town that talk about posting images of a small blue bird onto Miiverse.
    • One NPC in the hub town says that your pointy ears are fit to pierce the heavens.
  • Socialization Bonus: Some of the materials that are used to make certain costumes are only available through the multiplayer coliseum or even Local Wireless and Download play. The Timeless Tunic and Tri Suit are some of the costumes that require materials exclusive to these modes.note 
  • Stealth Sequel: Word of God says the green Link from this game is the exact same Link from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, visiting Hytopia for reasons only known to him and wearing disguises to hide his heroic origins.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Princess Styla stands in for Princess Zelda, but has a sillier personality.
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: The three Links work together to solve puzzles.
  • Three-Strike Combo:
    • The Dapper Spinner outfit turns your sword attack into this, with the third strike being a spin attack.
    • The Aeralfos enemies from the final two levels also use this as their primary attack.
  • Variable Mix:
    • When all three Links are in a totem, an additional part is added to the music.
    • In single player, the music also changes depending on what position on the totem the active character is:
      • The bottom character plays all of the different layers of the music.
      • The top character plays the regular, non-totem mix.
      • The middle player (or top, if it's only two) cuts out all tracks except the ethereal sounding voices.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There's bound to be players who are excited to murder other players in the game. However, the Coliseum allows you to do this intentionally.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Harming your teammates is actively discouraged because everyone shares the same health meter and pool of lives; dying just means you all have to restart the current room with one fewer life. Fortunately, you can blacklist other players who do this deliberately.
  • Video-Game Lives: Fairies function as lives in this game, and they're shared by everybody.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Quitting a multiplayer level via the pause menu results in the Match Master giving you a long, boring, unskippable lecture about abandoning your teammates, and how they can blacklist you if you quit via the pause menu. And you have to sit through this lecture every time you use the pause menu to quit a multiplayer level.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: One of the costumes is Zelda's dress, which allows you to find more hearts than usual. Two more costumes look remarkably like dresses while a third is a pink cheerleader outfit. In fact, crossdressing ends up being what saves the day — Link wearing the Lady's outfit is the only thing that can break the curse on the princess.
  • You Don't Look Like You: According to Word of God, the Link of A Link Between Worlds is one of the the player-controlled Link in this game, now resembling a recolor of Toon Link rather than retaining his slightly more realistic and anime-like "Classic Link" design. Handwaved, in that he's in disguise to "hide his heroic origins".
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Green Link, Red Link, and Blue Link have green, red, and blue hair. In the hub town outside of multiplayer, Link's hair is the traditional blond.


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