Tri Force Heroes

When it was announced we were rather taken in by The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes; any opportunity to revisit the engine and tweaked gameplay from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a positive in our book.

Very much a spiritual successor to Four Swords, albeit with three players and a nifty totem mechanic, it'll offer a puzzle-like experience in single player or support local and online co-op for three gamers.

Despite the inclusion of online play this title won't feature voice chat, which is rather the norm for most Nintendo titles; as we argued in our first impressions article, however, the touch-screen communications options - in the form of cute Link animations - work rather well. Speaking to Kotaku, game director Hiromasa Shikata made the point that voice chat isn't always the best solution, and provided his context on the eight pre-set messages that are available on the touchscreen.

I think with these, for example, you can just be sitting there hitting the one icon that you want: 'Hey, we have to get in a totem here, totem here,' or 'Use that item, use that item, use that item,' or 'Hey, come here, come here,' whatever it is. For those people who are in the mood to do so, they will cooperate, and sometimes maybe they're not going to be listening to you, no matter how many times you send out the same message.

I think we're seeing a really unique form of communication in that because it can be a little difficult using just eight icons to communicate some complicated ideas. When you're able to—through your choice, and which panel, and what timing, and what order you're selecting them in—be like, 'Wow, I actually made my point,' you feel pretty happy when the person does what you just asked them to do.

But on the other side, the person who's like watching you hit all these different icons and goes, 'Oh wait, I think he wants me to come over here, use this thing to do that thing,' and you go over and you do it and it works, there's a sense of satisfaction on both sides that you're not gonna see in a game that has maybe a regular voice-chat implementation.

I really think, again, that satisfaction you get time and time again when you're able to communicate effectively on both sides, from conveying the information and receiving the information, the more you are able to succeed at doing that, and as you progress in the game based on that, it really really heightens that sense of satisfaction, and really matches the sense of cooperation we're trying to focus on in this game.

It was also confirmed - though it seemed inevitable - that there'll be no full overworld, but rather "a castle, a town, and a colisseum battle mode". In addition the co-op multiplayer only works with three players; tackling levels with two isn't an option, so it's single or three players only.

With Four Swords being relatively short, there are naturally question marks over the game length and value in Tri Force Heroes. Shikata-san's answer on this is slightly surprising, suggesting that completionists in particular could be looking at around 30 hours of gameplay.

I could probably say if it's one person just on their own sitting down we might be able to calculate it out, but when you have three people, the way they play [and] how they play makes a difference.

Myself I'd like to say maybe an hour a day, an hour and a half to two hours a day, with three people playing together, there's probably about a month's worth of gameplay there.

But there are a lot of extra elements and things you can do in this game. If you're a completionist, you're gonna be playing for a long time.

Are you excited about The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, or still on the fence?