A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda is an action adventure game available for download on the Nintendo Switch. The game merges the rhythm based gameplay, remixed music, and rogue-like randomized elements from 2015’s Crypt of the Necrodancer with the characters, monsters, and plot devices from the long running and popular The Legend of Zelda franchise. While it’s easy to learn the basics of gameplay, it’s challenging to play, because you have to balance movement and attacks in time with the music to be successful. It’s also possible to become quickly surrounded and attacked by monsters if your timing is off, which can end your game and force you to start over. Combat's frequent, and players will use everything from swords and arrows to bombs and other objects to defeat monsters. The pixelated, cartoonish visuals and lack of blood and gore reduce the impact of the violence, especially since monsters disappear when defeated.
What's it about?
CADENCE OF HYRULE: CRYPT OF THE NECRODANCER FEATURING THE LEGEND OF ZELDA is an action adventure game that merges elements of Crypt of the Necrodancer and The Legend of Zelda franchise. The story takes place as Octavo, a mysterious villain with a golden lute, casts a musical spell that puts Link, Zelda, and the King of Hyrule into a deep sleep. Seeking a new champion, the Triforce opens a portal to the world of the Necrodancer and grabs Cadence, the heroine of that title, tasking her with waking Hyrule’s champions and defeating Octavo. Players will take on the role of Link or Zelda (or both, in a two-player co-op game) and will explore a randomly generated world. On their travels, they’ll acquire gear, items, and weapons that can be used against the monsters of the land. Items wear out with consistent use, so you’ll need to always acquire new materials to be ready for combat. Even trickier, players will have to time their movement and attacks to the beat of the game’s soundtrack to be successful. Can you help free Hyrule from Octavo’s clutches?
Is it any good?
This mashup of an indie rhythm adventure and a globally popular action franchise is a surefire hit for all gamers. The cleverness of Cadence of Hyrule takes the focus of moving on the beat to remixed songs through randomized dungeons and melds it with the lore and gameplay of the beloved Legend of Zelda games. The result is a game that’s easy to pick up and incredibly hard to put down. In fact, it works so well together, it’s surprising that it hasn’t been done before. Much of this is due to the music from the Zelda franchise, which helps you fall naturally into time with the step of each song. It’s still possible to be surrounded by lots of creatures onscreen, especially if you fall off the rhythm, but the tunes are so hummable (and so well known) that it’s easy to get your bearings back. Building on the soundtrack’s strength is the engaging Zelda-influenced gameplay. Whether it’s blowing up walls and uncovering hidden passages, or finding fairies to heal your injuries, this feels like one of the lost or hidden chapters of the Zelda series. That includes acquiring some classic gear, like a boomerang or bow and arrows, and upgrading them to eliminate more powerful monsters.
The challenge level is high, but Cadence is easier and better designed than other rogue-likes, including Necrodancer. For instance, when you gain key weapons and gear, you keep these in your inventory instead of starting over completely from scratch, which minimizes your frustration. Plus, as you clear out a map, you’ll earn both rupees and gems. If you die, you lose all of your rupees, but the retained gems can be redeemed at the start of your next playthrough to buy consumable items to get you back into play faster. If there was a negative to be found, it’s that you can clear the entire game in about ten hours or so. It’s a good length, but it’d be great to see this game run the length of a full Zelda game, with all of its twists and turns. Despite that short play, Cadence of Hyrule is a fantastic game that will keep you tapping your toes while bashing your foes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Cadence of Hyrule affected by the lack of blood and gore? Would the impact be intensified if the violence was more realistic? Is it limited because combat is focused more on the music instead of the violence itself?
How does music affect you in your life? Can you explain why some pieces can motivate you, while others can make you sad, introspective, or calm you down?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: June 13, 2019
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: June 24, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.