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Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E

So if you’ve missed 2D Zelda then you might be in for a surprise to hear that there’s a new one out. And it’s not by Nintendo! Well it is published by them and has Nintendo’s support but otherwise Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda is a game made by indie studio Brace Yourself Games and brings a new twist to classic gameplay that we all know and love. And if you’re like me and haven’t heard of the Crypt of the NecroDancer games then you’re in for a treat because this is a very music based type of gameplay that is complimented very well by the Zelda coat of paint!

So the way that the game plays is like a type of chess where on each screen you must move between tiles to the tempo of the music as long as there are enemies to do battle with. If you can keep this up then you will be in tune with the game as everything just feels right! And if you screw up then no biggie because you don’t lose your groove for too long. And if you’re not very musically inclined like me then fear not because this is actually a very forgiving game in terms of staying in the groove!

Cadence of Hyrule could be described as being similar to a rougelike but to me it feels more like a classic Zelda game with some twists to how it plays. One example is how when you first start the game your overworld map will be randomly generated for the adventure. This map stays the same once it has been created but I do like the variety it offers for repeat plays. Another example is how you do have unlimited lives but when you die there is a shop which you can purchase helpful items for your next try. These are items you can also find in your adventures but the added boost is always welcome.

This means the game has two forms of currency with your traditional Rupees and also diamonds. The Rupees will be lost when you perish but the diamonds are carried over so you will be spending them in the special shop while Rupees are used in the game world to purchase new equipment or hearts or whatever you want!

The combat of the game is very enjoyable and also pattern based with enemies having different behaviors that mean you will be strategically keeping an eye out for an opening to attack. Physical attacks happen when you are on an adjacent tile to anything you want to hit while there are also ranged attacks like arrows and magic. The game gives you lots of options about how you will waste your foes but never feels too easy or too hard. Each screen is like a small puzzle and once the enemies have been cleared you can move about freely instead of to the beat. This is nice as screens will stay cleared as long as you’re on the same life and running between them unhindered is welcome.

You can also choose between Link, Zelda, and Cadence as playable characters who all have different magic abilities and special weapons. While at first you will spend all your time with either Link or Zelda the ability to switch becomes available as you progress further. So if you really want to relive the golden days then you’ll probably choose Link but I had more fun with Zelda and hope to check out Cadence in a future outing with this game. The game also allows for co-op play which is great for those looking for a good time with a friend.

The real fun of this game are the handful of boss fights which are all tuned to a song and feel very closely tied to the music. You will face off against musical versions of classic Zelda bosses and while I died a few times on one of them they are for the most part they are the reward of getting through a dungeon. And you are also handsomely rewarded with a special relic after each one so enjoy the ride!

The game is also very pretty on handheld and docked mode. And of course the music is incredible which you shouldn’t even have to ask. Lots of great remixes and an upbeat feeling that keep you wanting to just keep playing!

This is a short game under 10 hours with replay value for speedrunners but for those expecting a lot after their first play then you’re going to find the only reasons to return being another playthrough. There are also not as many puzzles as a Zelda game and with the heart of this game being the strategic combat that might not be a huge draw to some. But with that said it is also a Zelda game at heart and a great time for fans of the series looking for something different or another couch co-op game to play. Newcomers will also not feel left out so if you can’t wait for a sale then check it out.

Note: Nintendo provided us with a Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda Nintendo Switch code for review purposes

Grade: B+