The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is like a Four Swords version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The E3 demo had three players, armed with different items, work together to complete a dungeon. In the demo I tried, two players had the Gust Jar, an item that shoots a blast of wind, while one player had bombs.
The controls are what you would expect from a Zelda game, but what makes this game different is the degree players have to work together. In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure players could run off on their own and there was even a competitive aspect of collecting the most rupees. Players need to be a functioning team in The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, since the group shares a life bar. Everyone wins or everyone has to start the dungeon over again. Levels are designed around the different items each player has, too.
In the very beginning of the dungeon I played, the trio of Links had to split up. One player needed to use the Gust Jar to send two of the Links over a pit. Then the Link with the other Gust Jar can send the player carrying bombs over another gap. With all three players separated by bottomless pits, the player with bombs can use their item to hit a switch which eventually opens paths for the two other players to move forward.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes also has a new totem technique where you can stack three Links on top of each other. Making a totem is necessary to reach higher platforms and to toss Links across gaps.
Later in the demo, all three Links had to step on a platform that moved when a Link used the Gust Jar like a rocket engine. Each time the Gust Jar was used, the platform would go forward a little bit. Links with the Gust Jar had to move the platform in a spot for the bomb player to toss a bomb to hit a switch. Still on the platform, all three Links had to trip another distant switch with a bomb.
For the second switch, we had to from a three Link totem with the bomb player on top. Since all three players were right next to each other, we could talk about where to stand and who should pick up whom. We still ended up throwing one player into a pit, but were able to move on after that.
After completing this portion, I wondered how difficult this could be if all three players were online. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes supports download play (sharing a game locally with one cartridge), local wireless, and Internet play. Online players can only communicate through emoticons, though. You can send messages like a Link with a thumbs up, call players with a Link shouting over here, and ask to totem with another icon. These emoticons look like they are sufficient for solving that puzzle, but I’m not sure they would work for the boss battle.
The boss fight has players battle two bomb throwing enemies. The problem is, these monsters are protected by a pit so you can’t slash at them with your sword. Instead, the Links with the Gust Jar need to use their item to blow bombs back to the monsters. Our group found it was easier to have the bomb player set up bombs for the Gust Jar using Links to shoot at the two monsters.
Teamwork, that’s what The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is all about, but I don’t know how we would have been able to discuss that strategy only using the emoticons. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes also has a single player mode where you can control one Link and two paper dolls to go through dungeons solo. I didn’t get to try this mode out and a representative said the game doesn’t have a two player mode. It’s either three players or single player.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is scheduled to come out this fall.