Back in mid-December, Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer was updated with a new mode, Octavo’s Ode. You play as the main villain who instigates the plot of the main game, Octavo, who has assembled the Golden Lute to find a champion to defeat Ganon. Once again, players will have to make their way through the world of Hyrule, and open up Hyrule Castle in order to beat Hyrule.
Suffice to say, the premise of playing as the villain (even if well-intentioned) is quite interesting for a Zelda title. We don’t get much explanation on Octavo until the very end in the main game, so it’s a nice change of pace. But just why does Octavo himself need to go through the dungeons and open up the sealed Hyrule Castle? Going further into this would be spoilers, but I liked how this mode ties into Crypt of the Necrodancer more.
Gameplay-wise, Octavo plays like Melody from Necrodancer. Basically, every time you move a step, you attack the immediate four squares around you with the Golden Lute. You can also stop and attack directly in front of you if needed. Octavo also has two abilities – Haste, where he can ignore the beat and attack furiously, and Fireballs, where he summons three fireballs that shoot forward.
With both the ability to attack while moving and Haste, Octavo makes for a potent character even if he can’t upgrade his weapon. Because he doesn’t stop to attack, it’s much easier to dodge enemy attacks while retaliating, and take less damage. To be quite honest, he feels overpowered, and can break bosses in half thanks to this.
— Some numbers guy (@s07195) January 3, 2020
As much as I liked playing as Octavo, it’s also important to note that nothing changes regarding the main game until the final boss. This means that you’re mostly playing through familiar beats. I can imagine this being an issue for people who wanted more, but it can be fun if you just want to replay the game in a quicker manner.
Additionally, because Octavo only uses one weapon that can’t be upgraded, a lot of the exploration elements are cheapened out. Some dungeons, like the Kakariko Crypt, are made entirely pointless as well. There’s no weapons to collect and upgrade, so some of the side caves have nothing but bombs and rupees. In this sense, the mode feels like a truncated version of the main game, despite being full-sized.
All in all, despite the teaser for Octavo’s Ode after the credits for Cadence of Hyrule, it doesn’t actually do much to change up the game. But thanks to the greater sense of speed, it’s a great mode to speed through and experience a different sort of playstyle.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda is available for the Nintendo Switch.