A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Apart from standard good vs. evil messages found in media, there are also themes of helping others in need and restoring things that have been broken.
Positive Role Models
Aside from knowing info about Link, Zelda, or Cadence from previous games they’ve been in, virtually nothing is known about the playable characters in the game. Despite this, players get the sense that they’re willing to put themselves in danger to potentially save everyone else from danger.
Ease of Play
While the gameplay seems simple, it’s very challenging. Players need to pay attention to the rhythm of the song to enhance their attacks or know when attacks are coming. Even still, tempo changes and getting swarmed by enemies from all sides can result in quickly being defeated by monsters.
Violence & Scariness
While you’ll use swords, bombs, and arrows against monsters, and fighting happens on virtually every screen, the pixelated visuals and lack of blood or gore minimizes the impact of combat. Enemies vanish when they’re defeated.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.