Cadence of Hyrule took everyone by suprise when it first came out. No one expected Nintendo to allow an indie company to develop their own Zelda spin off title, despite letting other developers take on mainline games such as Grezzo with Triforce Heros and Capcom with Minish Cap and Four Swords. Priced at 24.99 USD, lets see how the game holds up!
The game is a joy to look at in motion yo be honest. The art style seems to lean closest to A Link to the Past and the visual presentation as a whole is a large step forward from the first Crypt of the Necro Dancer game. It retains full Legend of Zelda charm and there is really nothing negative I can say in this regard.
This is another area the game excels at, and it should considering that it is a rythm based game. You will here familiar toons such a Gerudo Valley and the classic overworld theme remixed into themes that will do nothing less than delight your ears. The sound effects are all appropriate and line up well with what is going on in the game as well.
And now for the main question that is on everyone's mind, how does it play. Well there are actually TWO different ways yo experience this game, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. While at first it might seem like an easy or hard mode, that is not the case as the changes to the games mechanics itself make it a little more grey than that. And I must say, the inclusion of the two different modes os nothing short of brilliant as it opens up the game to more people as not everyone enjoys rythm based gameplay.
The first mode I will talk about is Fixed Rythm OFF as this is the default mode. In this mode enemies will move to the beat of the music, as will you. Each enemy has their own patterns and approach, so pay attention. If you miss a beat, your character will fail to do anything and be open to attack. If you consecutively land perfect beats without missing a beat, your multiplier will increase, which will yield more diamonds (a special currency separate from Rupees) and increase power of specific items. If you take damage or miss a beat however, the multiplier resets to zero. Once all enemies are defeated in the area however, you are free to move about at your own pace to do puzzles and explore. Many items are tied into the rythm as well, such as the bow. With a bit of practice it works well enough, but might seem tedious at first.
Now with Fixed Rythm ON, you are no longer tied to the rythm and can move freely, however your enemies now only move when you do. This makes progression feel a bit more like classic Zelda, but with an element of strategy added to the mix. Before enemies would move to the beat and you could study their movements and even wait for them to come to you for an ambush. But now you have to move to make them move, as well as be aware of everyhing else going on so you do not put yourself in a checkmate type of scenario where you are going to take damage no matter what you do. This mode is not ao much easier as it is a different way of playing the game all together. However while the core experience of these two modes offer similar difficulty, you will get your biggest challenge from combining both styles with the Fixed Rythm turned off.
It is also worth noting that the randomly generated world is VERY well done. Hyrule and the dungeons come together nicely and puzzles work properly. But most importantly, it offers truely endless replay value as not all playthroughs will be the same. For example in my first playthrough, I got lucky and unlocked a lot of stuff early. I found Kakariko and unlocked Zelda quick as well. Now on my second playthrough, I yried to go straight where Kakariko was before, but now I find myself in the lost woods with very basic gear. Not only does the less important areas of the overworld change, but towns and dungeons themselves are also relocated as well.
The story is very basic, but gets the job done. A magical musician Octavo has taken over the castle and sealed it away. You must find and defeat his four champions to break the seal and face him. Also it is worth noting that this is very much Link and Zelda's adventure, as Cadence is quickly pushed aside as a side character that is unlockable closer to the end of your playthrough. Everything comes together nicely, until events surrounding a predictable plot twist happens at the end of the game, that leaves you with more questions than answers. Luckily however, the game is charming and fun enough to where it is easy to overlook this a certain plothole I will not spoil for those who care.
The game is worth every penny of the 24.99 USD and should be experienced by any Zelda fan that needs a quick fix while waiting for bigger games. Even if you exclusively play with Fixed Rythm ON to experience it more like the other top down games, there is a lot of fun to be had here. I encourage you to try both modes however, as they can both be a lot of fun. After first beating the game with Fixed Rythm on, I am now hooked on playing it again going from start to finish by only moving to the music with it turned off. I was skeptical at first, but now I hope to see other indie spin offs from other Nintendo main IPs as well. You might be suprised with what these smaller dev teams come up with.
Replay Value 5/5
Overall 4/5Last edited by Shiken - on 18 June 2019