Tri Force Heroes has been out for two days shy of three weeks now, and I’m only about halfway through it.
This is because I’ve been treating it like homework.
The game has eight worlds. Each world has four areas, and each area has four stages. Unless you’ve played an area before and know what you’re supposed to do in each of its stages, one area generally takes about fifteen minutes to complete. Some areas take significantly longer, however, and most of this time is spent trying to get a certain game mechanic to work properly.
For example, in the third stage of the second area of the ice world, there is a bomb throwing puzzle that made me so mad that I started yelling obscenities at the game, which is something I almost never do. This is how the puzzle goes:
Link A needs to pick up a bomb flower. Link B will then pick up Link A, and Link C will pick up Link B, forming a three-Link totem. Link C needs to be perfectly positioned before the player switches back to Link A, who will throw the bomb at a cracked block suspended over a chasm with the correct timing for the bomb to explode in midair.
If the player throws the bomb too early, it won’t hit the cracked block, and the player will need to disassemble the totem and do everything again. If the player doesn’t throw the bomb quickly enough (or doesn’t make the totem or the transition back to Link A quickly enough), it will explode in Link A’s hands, causing damage. To make matters worse, this all happens right next to the aforementioned chasm, so if one of the Links falls for any reason – if the totem is knocked over by an unthrown bomb, or if the player has one Link throw another Link off the totem carelessly – the damage is compounded.
It’s a huge pain in the ass, and there are several puzzles like this. (There’s one particular sequence involving bombs and water columns in the river world that made me rage quit the game for three days, but it’s still too soon for me to talk about that.) One might argue that the game works better with three players, but I can’t even begin to imagine how three people would coordinate the precise actions needed to solve these puzzles, especially if they’re not sitting next to each other and can only use the lower-screen buttons to communicate.
I’m only playing through one or two stages every day, if I can bring myself to play the game at all. I actually schedule time to sit at my desk with the game for half an hour, as if I were setting aside time to respond to email. In other words, playing Tri Force Heroes has been kind of a chore.
The game has been growing on me recently, though. We’ll see how I feel after another week.
( Header image by DaYo on Tumblr )