Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda is getting DLC. All sorts of extras are on the way, with a Melody Pack that adds more songs and a new campaign with Skull Kid. But for now, the quick grab to bring more diversity to the game is the Cadence of Hyrule Character Pack. It’s an opportunity to add some new and slightly different versions of characters, but two especially stand out. Both Impa and Frederick really help change things up.
First, the Cadence of Hyrule Character Pack gives you access to five characters. Aria, Dark Link, Dark Zelda, Frederick, and Impa are available a new save file in All-Characters Mode, Dungeon Mode, or Single-Character Mode, Dungeon Mode. Dark Link and Dark Zelda are cool and all, but aside from Shadow Spin Attack and Shadow Nayru’s Love working slightly differently, you use them in the same ways as Link and Zelda. Picking Aria is essentially choosing a hardcore run, since she always only has half of a heart and can only use the standard dagger. But Frederick and Impa are both really unique characters with different abilities and passives that can drastically change someone’s strategies.
With Impa, we have a character who honestly feels a little easier to use. A lot of her moveset focuses on attacks and options that give you a bit of a safety net. If her stamina is full and an enemy catches her off guard, the passive ability you have access to right away will let her use a body replacement technique. A doll that looks like her will be left behind and she’ll randomly teleport a square away. She is a spear-user as well, so you always have that extra range on your side and start with a standard spear.
Both of her abilities take advantage of this. If you use Spear Strafe with the right trigger, she can deal one point of damage to an enemy in front of her. She can also deflect projectiles with it, just like Link with his shield. Also, once you get Naginata Strike, you can press the left trigger to hit three tiles ahead instead of just two. What’s especially great is this stamina-based attack could also stun an enemy with a shield that you normally wouldn’t damage. So you have two skills that give her a chance to really go on the offensive, but also perhaps protect herself or get around normal limitations.
With Frederick, we have a neat gimmick character. Remember Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland? It was a The Legend of Zelda spin-off where rupee acquisition was the primary goal. Well, Frederick’s gameplay revolves around rupees. He starts with 100 and if you’re playing in a not fixed-beat mode, then he gradually loses rupees as you play. (“Time is money!”) He will “die” if an enemy completely depletes his heart containers or he runs out of cash. In a nod to his original appearances, he becomes a floating ghost after his initial “death,” and is able to be revived if you get a rupee, giving yourself a second chance.
What makes Frederick extra fun is how money comes into play in other elements of his run. One of his skills actually offers you a chance to have a great, long-range attack that will go through multiple enemies. But, it also costs five rupees since you’re throwing a rupee, which means you could be bringing him closer to death. Also, any one of the shops you would normally visit that would be one of his shops will let you sell one of your items there to refill your own wallet.
People’s mileage will vary when it comes to the Cadence of Hyrule Character Pack. Three of the characters definitely do change things up, and I really felt like Impa and Frederick made a pretty big difference. When I hopped in, I was coming back to the game after quite a break, and Impa was a great way to reintroduce myself to everything. Once I had gotten into the swing of things again, Frederick really helped shake things up and make me keep track of other elements. But really, each of the five characters might have a chance of being someone’s new favorite.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda is available for the Nintendo Switch digitally, as is its Character Pack add-on. The physical copy will launch on October 23, 2020.