The Triforce vibrates at the bottom of the screen. It shows that you are following the rhythm of movements and swords in an adventure with all the most iconic elements of Zelda. And that’s basically Cadence of Hyrule, a dream come true in which Nintendo, in collaboration with an indie developer, shows us that this type of experiment is possible.
Nobody expected it but surprised. It was in a Nintendo Direct dedicated to indie releases. I think I missed a laugh, not only because of the sympathy of the proposal but also because of how strange it was for me to see Nintendo leave a license like Zelda in the hands of a small studio (the Canadians of Brace Yourself Games ). One of the most mythical developers of Sega, the Japanese Yuji Naka, even said that Cadence of Hyrule demonstrated a great change in the company of Kyoto.
Although we have seen other approaches to the style of Hyrule Warriors, it is true that this is not seen every day. But the best thing is that we already have it with us, in Nintendo Switch, and I am happy to say that the experiment has gone very well. I can not say if Cadence of Hyrule is more a Crypt of the Necrodancer in the shape of Zelda or a Zelda in the spirit of Crypt of the Necrodancer. But this fundamental doubt already indicates something important: that we are facing a formidable fusion of ideas in which the iconic features of each creation have been taken advantage of. There is no better news than that.
The cadence of Hyrule not only takes advantage of the legendary soundtrack of the Zelda saga but puts it at the service of its own style of play. One very rhythmic, but that does not leave aside the dynamics that have characterized the work of Shigeru Miyamoto. Dungeons, use of objects, containers of hearts, rupees … Everything is here for the fan to enjoy, but also for anyone who feels minimally seduced by an original proposal, carefree, and above all of the high quality.
Power, wisdom, courage … and a lot of rhythms! The cadence of Hyrule begins in a simple way: a villain, known as Octavio, has plunged the kingdom of Hyrule into darkness, and we are in charge of saving the situation. A new adventure against evil, but from a very different perspective than usual. Although it agrees to use the Zelda’s Zenda perspective in 8 and 16 bits, where the bet is for very rhythmic playable mechanics that rely on something as simple but effective as pressing the four directions of the pad or stick following the tempo musical.
That is the essence of Cadence of Hyrule: follow the rhythm imposed by the scores. A metronome in the form of a trifuerza indicates in the lower part of the screen the rhythm to follow in the pulsations on the controller … but I already advance you that you will not need it. In a few minutes, I ended up merging with the experience of moving with the tempo that marked the main theme of Zelda, the music of the Gerudo or the melody of the lost forest. A joy. There are more than twenty topics, which range from the desert area to the beach, and from there to the mountain with smooth transitions, almost inappreciable, maintaining a continuous rhythm between screens that at times generates tension peaks.
The cadence of Hyrule not only takes advantage of the legendary soundtrack of the Zelda saga but puts it at the service of its own style of play.
The composer Danny Baranowsky (musical author in Super Meat Boy or The Binding of Isaac ) has related the sound concepts of The Legend of Zelda and Crypt of the Necrodancer with mastery, giving rise to something like a techno-Zelda dance, but without going over decibels. If you are still wondering why the soundtrack is so important, it is for something as simple as maintaining the rhythm allows you not only to play better but to get better rewards when ending enemies on screen. The triforce vibrates when this happens, encouraging you to make an effort, not to get confused in a single beat of the rhythm. In fact, there are parts of the map where there are chests that only open if you follow the compass without errors.
Speaking of the map, is another of the great successes of Cadence of Hyrule. It is basically a free interpretation of the scenario of the Zelda of NES and SNES, with the wooded, wooded, mountainous and desert region. Here there are allies like the Zora or the Gerudo, as well as a lot of iconic enemies: from octoroks to goblins. A simple glance at the screens that accompany this analysis will give you an idea of what I am talking about: a fusion of videogames and times within the Zelda saga, although the more retro stage tends to be represented with more attention.
Therefore, the map is a reimagining of the classics, and the best thing is that it gives us high freedom of movement. There is no pre-established order to overcome the four dungeons. Once I tried to go in one direction, but when they killed me without mercy I decided to take another route. Failure and retry are common, but it is made enjoyable by the simple fact that you always have a new place to go. If something goes uphill, you can try something else, like a minigame of aim or dedicate yourself to pick up rupees to enter a store and improve equipment.
Of course, and as in the Zelda, there are also places here that you can not access without the right object. It could be a hook, bombs, a shovel, a flashlight … Exploring is part of the magic: spinning as you have always done in this series. In this regard, the size of the inventory is surprising, as well as the number of progression options. We can improve attack and defense temporarily, gain the ability to swim or resist fire, as well as increase our life counter.
It is a game that has its challenge, and although we do not have difficulty modes, there is the option to activate the arrhythmic mode, which consists of moving the character without having to follow the rhythm. Although I personally do not find it funny, it is another option, which does not hurt anyone, and which is inserted into a game that can be completed in about 6-8 hours (quite variable number), although through the online ranking I have already seen that there are people who have managed to do it in just over 23 minutes and without any death. Everything an achievement.
The adventure can be played with both Link and Zelda, without great differences between them, beyond the appearance and that they begin their adventure in different points of the map. But the best thing is that we can use them in the cooperative mode for two players, which is undoubtedly one of the best things that Cadence of Hyrule has. Do not worry if you want to play it solo since this multiplayer is a drop in / out (the second user can enter and exit when you want) and there are also three save slots in case you want to try the two concepts separately: individual and coop.
The game has many more positive aspects than negatives. Everything is very well thought out, including teleports(they greatly facilitate the displacement on the map). I also liked, oddly enough, that you lose all the rupees and temporary equipment when you die, something that forces you to be careful: it is a considerable penalty. There are also checkpoints distributed fairly uniformly, and when you resurface you appear in a store that comforts you with objects that make your next attempt more enjoyable.
Everything is very well measured. We even have some musical puzzles that without being the best, they propose that point of variety so necessary in this type of game. Maybe not the desirable variety, but yes competent. I say this also for the final bosses. They are not specially elaborated, but they fit into a studied game system, with few fissures and that has undoubtedly been a real surprise. If you like Zelda, the rhythmic video games or simply the crossover experiments that go well, here you have a successful game option for Nintendo Switch.
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The cadence of Hyrule is a great demonstration that when two good ideas merge (Crypt of the Necrodancer and Zelda), things can go very well. The indie developer Brace Yourself Games shows great talent in a production that knows how to merge the rhythmic concept of its most successful game with the iconic features of The Legend of Zelda saga. A great combination that manifests itself in a title that has its challenge, variety and that is also quite innovative as a crossover experiment.
- The very successful fusion of concepts: rhythm “necromancer” and action Zelda
- The representation of the Zelda universe is simply magnificent
- Good sense of progression, with improvements and objects
- Level of balanced challenge, with considerable duration and replayability
- The musical themes are very good, indispensable to generate the playable rhythm
- It is missing some more variety in puzzles and bosses
- There are hardly any differences between the control of one or the other character