Parents need to know that "Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda" is an action adventure game available for download on the Nintendo Switch. The game merges the rhythm based gameplay, remixed music, and rogue-like randomized elements from 2015's "Crypt of the Necrodancer" with the characters, monsters, and plot devices from the long running and popular "The Legend of Zelda" franchise. While it's easy to learn the basics of gameplay, it's challenging to play, because you have to balance movement and attacks in time with the music to be successful. It's also possible to become quickly surrounded and attacked by monsters if your timing is off, which can end your game and force you to start over. Combat's frequent, and players will use everything from swords and arrows to bombs and other objects to defeat monsters. The pixelated, cartoonish visuals and lack of blood and gore reduce the impact of the violence, especially since monsters disappear when defeated.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In "Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer," the story takes place as Octavo, a mysterious villain with a golden lute, casts a musical spell that puts Link, Zelda, and the King of Hyrule into a deep sleep. Seeking a new champion, the Triforce opens a portal to the world of the Necrodancer and grabs Cadence, the heroine of that title, tasking her with waking Hyrule's champions and defeating Octavo. Players will take on the role of Link or Zelda (or both, in a two-player co-op game) and will explore a randomly generated world. On their travels, they'll acquire gear, items, and weapons that can be used against the monsters of the land. Items wear out with consistent use, so you'll need to always acquire new materials to be ready for combat. Even trickier, players will have to time their movement and attacks to the beat of the game's soundtrack to be successful. Can you help free Hyrule from Octavo's clutches?
IS IT ANY GOOD?
This mashup of an indie rhythm adventure and a globally popular action franchise is a surefire hit for all gamers. The cleverness of "Cadence of Hyrule" takes the focus of moving on the beat to remixed songs through randomized dungeons and melds it with the lore and gameplay of the beloved "Legend of Zelda" games. The result is a game that's easy to pick up and incredibly hard to put down. Much of this is due to the music from the "Zelda" franchise, which helps you fall naturally into time with the step of each song. It's still possible to be surrounded by lots of creatures onscreen, especially if you fall off the rhythm, but the tunes are so hummable (and so well known) that it's easy to get your bearings back. Building on the soundtrack's strength is the engaging "Zelda"-influenced gameplay. Whether it's blowing up walls and uncovering hidden passages, or finding fairies to heal your injuries, this feels like one of the lost or hidden chapters of the "Zelda" series.
The challenge level is high, but Cadence is easier and better designed than other rogue-likes, including "Necrodancer." For instance, when you gain key weapons and gear, you keep these in your inventory instead of starting over completely from scratch, which minimizes your frustration. If there was a negative to be found, it's that you can clear the entire game in about 10 hours or so. It's a good length, but it'd be great to see this game run the length of a full "Zelda" game, with all of its twists and turns. Regardless, "Cadence of Hyrule" is a fantastic game.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 10 and older
Quality: 5 out of 5
Positive messages: 2 out of 5
Positive role models: 2 out of 5
Ease of play: 2 out of 5
Violence: 1 out of 5
Sex: 0 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 1 out of 5
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo of America
Release date: June 13, 2019
ESRB rating: E for mild fantasy violence
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