Cadence of Hyrule was a huge surprise when it was announced what feels like a million years ago during a Nindies Showcase. Not only was it a brand-new Legend of Zelda title, but one being developed by indie studio Brace Yourself Games. Fast forward just over a year and once again we received another announcement very few saw coming – new content for Cadence of Hyrule.
Scheduled to come out over the next handful of months, the line-up on paper looks rather promising indeed with new characters, a wealth of new songs and remixes and even fresh story content involving Skull Kid from Majora’s Mask. First up out the gate is the Character Pack consisting of five new faces as well as a few new modes too. Is this initial offering worth booting up Cadence of Hyrule again?
First thing that struck me when taking the new characters for a spin was how rusty I was with Cadence of Hyrule. My timing was off, I wondered aimlessly and I’d completely forgotten the attack patterns of each enemy type resulting in plenty of deaths. Not only was I learning to deal with brand new heroes, but I was having to get back into the swing of things with the game itself. Perhaps I shouldn’t have kicked things off with Aria – easily the toughest of the bunch.
Aria (returning from Crypt of the Necrodancer) will be music to the ears of those after a real challenge, her health limited to just half a heart and instant death awaiting even a single drop of the beat. For someone like me who lacks the focus and timing required to be brilliant at the game, I quickly skipped ahead to Shadow Link and Shadow Zelda, two characters whose differences between their heroic counterparts felt minimal (Shadow Link’s spin attack for example draws enemies nearby in) besides the obvious palette swap. It’s neat that they’re included but I wish they had more unique qualities.
Impa and Frederick are the standouts in this pack both offering unique and fun experiences. Frederick is by far the most unique addition the game has seen yet. Able to emit a song burst attacking enemies nearby and literally throw Rupees from your wallet (which yes will cost you), his quirks stretch further still. Every number of spaces he’ll lose a Rupee, a real problem considering it’s not just loss of hearts that will kill you but also an empty wallet. It creates an added layer of concern which makes runs even more tense.
Should you fall however, all is not lost as Frederick will become Phantom of the Shopera, granting you a chance at resurrection if you can find a Rupee before taking another hit. Impa meanwhile feels like the most useful of the bunch for a number of reasons. Not only does she start off with a longer reaching spear, but her abilities also prove just as useful allowing her to attack three spaces ahead, deflect projectiles and even dodge an oncoming attack if at full stamina. Hands down she is the most fun character to play as out of the five offered.
It’s not just new characters you’ll find added to the game, a small handful of modes also making the cut. Single-Character mode allows you to pretty much take on a version of the story mode as any of the game’s roster and it’s where I found myself spending most of my time. Dungeon mode meanwhile unsurprisingly sees you taking on dungeon after dungeon essentially removing the overworld portion of the game. All-Characters mode is easily the least interesting option, forcing you to play through dungeons as each character in turn without the option to switch or go back. Lastly Mystery mode is a real wacky addition in that all items and enemies are question marks until you either pick them up or are killed by them respectively. It certainly makes for an unpredictable time but again seems aimed more toward those after a steeper challenge.
The first downloadable pack for Cadence of Hyrule is a solid start to the trio planned. While two of the five characters feel a little more like skins, the remaining three and extra mode types keep things interesting enough. Like any season pass, this initial offering feels like an appetiser for bigger and more exciting additions. At the very least taking these new characters for a test run has gotten me back into the swing of things and ready for new songs and a new chunk of story.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Nintendo