Title: Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda
Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Publisher: Nintendo & Spike Chunsoft
Genre: Adventure, Music, Rhythm
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 13.06.19
Price: £22.49 – The game was purchased by the reviewer.
The Legend of Zelda series has one of the most beloved video game scores, and for a good reason. From the sweeping melodies that play as your enter Hyrule field, the rhythmic beat of drums on death mountain, the relaxing twang of Romani Ranch, and everything in between, the music is an integral part of what makes going on an adventure in Hyrule so wonderful. Cadence of Hyrule aims to take those familiar songs and remix them into something familiar, but new and capable of delivering the signature Crypt of the NecroDancer gameplay. Does Cadence of Hyrule succeed at this? Or does it have two left feet? Read on in this Rapid Review to find out.
Those familiar with Crypt of the NecroDancer will easily adapt to Cadence of Hyrule, as the gameplay is very similar, outside of being much lighter on the Rogue-lite elements. When you die, you only lose a handful of lootable items (torch, shovel, ring, boots), as well as all your rupees. You’ll then be able to spend diamonds to purchase some of the items I just mentioned to bring back into the world with you to start your next journey. In Cadence of Hyrule, when enemies are near, you move your character to the beat of the music by pushing the d-pad on each beat.
At the bottom of the screen is a visualisation of the beat you should be trying to match, that you can tap in time along to. If there are no enemies in the area you’re in, you will be relieved of the need to tap in time to the music and can move freely about the space at your speed. I found the game to be exceptionally difficult early on, as I had no experience playing Crypt of the NecroDancer, but eventually found my footing, and then found certain sections of the game excessively easy. The difficulty could be tuned a little better for the story mode.
For combat, enemies also move along to the beat of the music in an easy to read and predictable pattern. One type of enemy, for example, will move into an adjacent space to you and put their arms up as they hop along to the music. They will wait for one beat, and then attack the player, or hop to get back in attack position if the player has moved out of harm’s way. Each enemy type has its own set of patterns, and learning them is key to advancing through the various combat puzzles the game puts you in.
Taking enemies down is as simple as moving towards them to the beat. A poorly timed press can leave your character stunned for a beat, and vulnerable to attacks. Some enemies have more health and will require multiple strikes to take down or will only be vulnerable from certain angles. Of course, in classic Zelda fashion, you can always drop a bomb and dance away.
As this is a Legend of Zelda game, you will amass a variety of tools and weapons that you can use to solve puzzles and find secret areas all over Hyrule. Bombs damage enemies and open secret areas, the boomerang stuns enemies, the power glove grants the ability to lift certain objects and throw them. You can use these items to solve puzzles throughout the dungeons, but you can tackle the dungeons in almost any order, so there are multiple ways to solve each puzzle.
However, the puzzles aren’t challenging at all usually, and the appeal of Cadence of Hyrule is in the music-based gameplay. You can also select between three different characters, Link, Zelda, and Cadence. Link and Cadence have a similar shield ability, of holding up a shield which can reflect projectiles, while Zelda can create a barrier that defends herself on all sides. You can switch between them at Sheikah Stones that are scattered throughout Hyrule.
I want to take a moment to commend the Developers for providing the option to turn off the need to play along to the music. Many people won’t be able to follow along for a variety of reasons, but they still maintain the puzzle-like nature of the combat. If you turn off the rhythmic aspect, instead of acting based on the beat of the music, they will make their moves when the player moves. If you stand still to consider the situation you’ve found yourself in and ponder how to proceed, the enemies will patiently wait for you to make your decision. I would recommend that people at least attempt to play with the music elements before turning off the rhythmic aspect of the game, but you will still get to enjoy the awesome music no matter what way you play.
The music in Cadence of Hyrule is truly the star. The songs are familiar but remixed to have stronger beats to bop along to. Despite being remixed and reimagined, each song maintains a unique identity that reflects the areas. It’s hard to imagine a way in which the music could be improved, and hopefully, they make their way to streaming services. The Switch speakers don’t do the music justice, so make sure you’re playing with headphones or at least a TV. My girlfriend, who wasn’t playing the game, remarked multiple times on how much she was enjoying the music.
The art is what you would expect from a Zelda game. It’s beautiful, and distinctive across the many areas of the game. Enemy types look unique and are easy to read and have a variety of styles and themes like you would expect. It’s hard to quantify what is so great about the art, but the site of Gohmaracas gives you an idea of the personality they’re going for.
As I mentioned earlier, you have a lot of freedom in when and where you go somewhere. This is nice, but it also seems to have led to many of the items in the game having no necessary function at all. There are several items that I didn’t use at all, which was disappointing as a Zelda fan. But, there are some additional modes if you want to keep playing. There is a random seed mode, which will make a new arrangement of zones and randomize the enemy layout in each one, as well as the items you’re going to find, to some extent.
Additionally, there are leaderboards for those who like to speed-run. There are boards for fastest time, as well as fewest steps. This is a game that people who fall in love with will be able to spend a long time with, getting better and comparing times and sharing seeds for new challenges.
Overall, Cadence of Hyrule is easy for me to recommend based on the music alone. The throwback to Link to the Past is a fitting aesthetic that blends near seamlessly with Crypt of the NecroDancer and offers plenty of reasons to keep coming back to challenge yourself with new challenges. While the music is enough to garner a recommendation, the delightful combat puzzles and inclusion of multiple ways you can modify your playthrough to make it more accessible, or more difficult, and random seeds make it a must own.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda from the Nintendo eShop using the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Cadence-of-Hyrule-Crypt-of-the-NecroDancer-Featuring-The-Legend-of-Zelda-1533129.html
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