Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda is a collaborative spin-off that doesn’t restrict people to one path. It can be a fairly open-ended affair, with people able to choose which dungeon to tackle first and where to go on the map. It also allows freedom in terms of your avatar, as there are multiple people playable, and a second person can join in as another one of them in co-op. But the thing about it is, every character is viable. No one is better than the other. They are designed in such a way that three of the four play rather similarly, and the final one is more of a fun challenge. But, everyone can do their best and save the day.
Two of the playable characters can be acquired fairly quickly. One is chosen after the tutorial, and the one you don’t pick is in Kakariko Village nappy. (They must be woken up with a Hibiscus Potion found in the town’s cemetary dungeon.) Link functions in Cadence of Hyrule much like he does in more traditional outings. He has a shield to help protect against (and maybe even reflect) attacks. He also has his spin attack. This hits every enemy surrounding him. If you are in the overworld and happen upon a space with a number of enemies all rushing toward you, one good swipe is all you need to clear the area. Especially if you somehow don’t have a broadsword on hand to attack all three enemies directly in front of a character.
Zelda offers a move that is a little different, which might make her a fun starting character. (Especially since it might be a while until you get a ranged attack.) In addition to her Nayru’s Love shield, she has a Din’s Fire ranged spell. When triggered, this sends off a ball of fire that you move in time with the music instead of Zelda. Once it hits something, it explodes. It is this great tactical move that could work in so many situations, but is a bit more technical and thoughtful than Link or Cadence’s more sudden ranged attacks that instantly hit.
Cadence takes a bit more time to get. The Crypt of the Necrodancer heroine is the first person you’ll play as, but she’ll take off to do her own thing after you make Link or Zelda your initial playable character. After that, you’ll need to visit caves near each of the four main dungeons. Once you’ve spoken to her at each spot, she’ll realize she won’t be able to go home until Octavo is gone and joins the party.
Cadence is a good character for people who want close range attacks, but might be worried about being overwhelmed by large numbers of enemies. While Cadence has the requisite shield option, just like Link and Zelda, her shovel special is particularly handy. When used, it attacks a two rows of three enemies directly in front of her. This stamina-based attack also stuns those foes. It’s especially good in dungeons, in the event you dig into a room that has a number of enemies all squished into a small space.
Then, there’s Yves. Yves is a Deku Scrub living in Tingle’s Lost Woods home. This character hints that they’re playable by noting that they’ve always wanted to be a hero. Once you get 20 Deku Seeds and bring them to Tingle, Yves’ wish comes true. (You can eventually see where Deku nuts are on the map screen, and the section of the Lost Woods with all the Poes has a hidden room with multiple Deku Scrubs to dispatch.) Deku can’t use any of the other characters’ handy weapons and can’t use most items. This is the person to use for a hard run, as they only have one heart of health. Rather than a shield, this Deku Scrub can hide for an indefinite amount of beats. Also, the close range attack is a Deku nut, as is the additional stamina attack. The stamina version of this can be performed at any time with the left trigger and sends out a Deku nut that moves in time with the beat. Making progress with Yves is tough, but possible.
Every person has their place in Cadence of Hyrule. Link is the staple, with his familiar spin-attack and shield. Cadence functions rather similarly, though she has a more stunning move that handles a group of foes in a single direction. Zelda involves a bit of finesse, due to her more magical abilities, letting you keep her on the side while acting tactically. All three have similar weapons for day-to-day assaults with daggers, flails, swords, and spears. Should you go the extra mile and decide to challenge yourself, Yves is there with a very different moveset and greatly reduced health. But, regardless of the level of challenge, each one is a possible hero worth backing.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda is available for the Nintendo Switch.