Updated: June 19th

This year’s Nintendo Digital Event was interesting to say the least. Not only did we get a true confirmation of

Hyrule Warriors‘ 3DS port, named Hyrule Warriors: Legends, but Nintendo decided to surprise us with an entirely new and unexpected title name Tri Force Heroes. After a first trailer, we witnessed Aonuma speak to the game’s director, Hiromasa Shikata. Then, after the event had finished, we enjoyed a gameplay demo from the good folks over at Treehouse Live.

Throughout these three videos/events, many things have become clear about the game and what we should expect of it. Here’s a quick run down of everything we know.

Focus on Multiplayer and Teamwork

Now, this might seems as a very logical point to make, but it’s one that should be made: unlike the Four Swords games, Tri Force Heroes leans more towards cooperative play and less towards competitive play. It introduces several new mechanics that help emphasize the aspect of teamwork into the game, which is very new to the Zelda franchise. Some mechanics are voluntary, like being able to move the camera, so it focuses on your teammates, while others are forced on you, like shared hearts and lives. The game isn’t solely local, though. Aonuma himself has stated that he wants people from all over the world to play together via the internet and to make teamwork easier they have added an emoticon system, where you can express what you’re planning to do or how you feel.

Not only is being able to play online fun, but it’s also very practical, and very unlike Nintendo – besides for the lack of voice chat, of course. Further, if your friends don’t own the game that’s not a problem, as it is completely compatible with 3DS Download Play. “But Al, what if I don’t have access to the internet, and none of my friends are around!” Well, if that’s the case, you can just play the game in single player. It provides a system where you can rent two paper dolls who will help you and with whom you can switch at any given time. This makes the game incredibly flexible and diverse. Unfortunately, you can’t play through dungeons with only two players. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t any ways to play with only two players.

Customisability and Replayability

In addition to standard gameplay, Tri Force Heroes features both a Challenge Mode and an Arena Mode. The former puts players through the same dungeons as usual, but tests their wit by giving them different items than usual. This was demonstrated during a Nintendo Treehouse showing in which players were all given bombs instead of given the option to use a bow and arrow. The latter mode pits players in a 1 vs 1 or a free-for-all (if you have three players) and is essential an all out duel. Unlike the Challenge mode, however, this mode doesn’t come with the benefit of giving players an opportunity to earn better materials towards one of this title’s most interesting features: costumes.

One of the key focuses of the game seems to be its customisability, primarily through costumes. Before you start venturing into a dungeon, you are given the option to choose one out of six currently known unique outfits, which each have their own perks and abilities. The known costumes at the moment are: a Zelda Dress (allows the player to find hearts more easily), the Spin Attack Attire (grants a stronger spin attack), the Hero’s Tunic (no added effect), the Kokiri Clothes (lets you shoot three arrows when using a bow), the Lucky Loungewear (allows you to occasionally dodge an enemy’s attack), the Big Bomb Outfit (gives the player big bombs), and the Goron Garb (allows the player to swim through lava. Aonuma also stated that the different attires will cause different experiences when playing through the same dungeon.

The clothes aren’t just a gimmick, though. They are actually the game’s main story element. Which leads me to my next topic.

The Story

The story behind

Tri Force Heroes is a simple but charming one. The game takes place in a foreign kingdom, obviously not Hyrule, where everyone is very fashion sensitive. The kingdom’s princess (not named Zelda) becomes cursed one day and is forced to wear incredibly ugly clothes at all times. This forms a very large problem for the King, and he issues a proclamation calling for the help of heroes from all around to help lift the curse on his beloved daughter. This unites the three heroes, and they go on a quest together. You may even call them the literal tri force. Ha.

Totem Mechanic

Tri Force Heroes‘ main gameplay mechanic is the ability to stack all three heroes on top of each other. From the gameplay footage that has been displayed, this mechanic seems to be implemented into the game very well, as many puzzles and boss fights are based around it. This is another mechanic that adds to the sense of teamwork because players have to rely on each other to progress. Of course, there will always be that jerk who’ll throw you off a cliff, but that person will be penalized for this, because all hearts are shared. One thing to note about the totem mechanic is that once you stand on another’s shoulders, you yourself cannot get off. You will only be free again once the player holding you has launched you into the inevitable abyss.

Further emphasizing the importance of the totem mechanic is ease with which one player can toss a Link to another. When one Link tosses another towards the player not involved in the totem, the open Link will catch the airborne one without having to do anything but stand in approximately the right place. This is a particularly helpful feature when moving quickly is key, or when the player at the bottom of the totem needs to have their hands free. Additionally, the roles in a three-person totem are decidedly set; the top player attacks, the bottom player moves, and the middle player supports the totem (i.e. does nothing). All three placements in a totem are important to consider in both three-person puzzles and boss fights that utilize height differences.

Dungeons, Items, and Bosses

Tri Force Heroes seems to play entirely in separate dungeons, which can be seen as levels. Each dungeon is structured with four main areas and comes with its own specific item, like the bow or bombs, and combining this item with an appropriate outfit is the key to success. The game’s director, Shikata, has already stated that he finds items to be incredibly important to the Zelda series and that he has implemented them to the best of his capabilities. So far we know of several items, including the boomerang, the bow and arrow, bombs, and the gust jar. Additionally, because of its appearance in one of the emoticons/indicators, we assume that at least one of the rod items will be making a return. The Pegasus Boots also make appearance, but are an automatic equip, allowing players to dash with the L-button at any time – do be careful not to rush off cliffs though!

Regarding bosses, we know of four from the levels available at E3: a large, yellow, electrified Chuchu, a reworked version of Margomill from

A Link Between Worlds named Margoma, Moldorm from A Link Between Worlds and A Link to the Past, and several bomb-throwing Cyclopses. The first three of the of these bosses incorporate the totem mechanic, forcing the players to work together to advance. Similarly, the Cyclopses require strong teamwork, necessitating that each Link take on a role in taking down the enemies. It should be noted, however, that although Chuchu, Margoma, and Moldorm use the same mechanic of height, the bosses need to be approached very differently, each necessitating a different item. I won’t spoil how any of these are supposed to be beaten, but if you’re dying to know, you can check out my summary of the yellow Chuchu here, Margoma here, and footage of the entirety of the Volcano level that features Moldorm, here. Expect full footage of all four levels shortly!

Aesthetics and Mechanics

The Treehouse Live crew described

Tri Force Heroes as a game like Four Swords and The Minish Cap, belonging to the more comical and lighthearted titles in the series. The game features textures and character models from A Link Between Worlds, which could explain the fall release date, since reusing textures and models has given developers the chance to spend more time on gameplay and less on texture or model work. The best way to witness what lies in store, though, is by checking out all the videos I mentioned and by looking at the screenshots in the gallery below.

Additionally, the director of the game, Hiromasa Shikata, noted that the power-up nature of the costumes was inspired by A Link Between Worlds. Essentially, the costumes serve as a way to expand upon the way in which players could make their items stronger by extending those effects to the players as well (e.g. the Lucky Loungewear allowing players to dodge hits every so often). We don’t yet have a full number, but if the crafting system (not unlike that of the Monster Hunter series) is anything close to expansive, the total number of outfits will hopefully go far beyond the seven we know of thus far.

There you have it! That’s everything we know about

Tri Force Heroes for now. What are your opinions and expectations of the game? Do you enjoy the direction they’re moving in? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!

Sorted Under: Editorials, Zelda News