'Cadence of Hyrule' Moves to Its Own 'Zelda' Beat

"Cadence of Hyrule -- Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda" (Nintendo)

I suck at rhythm games.

Being incapable of holding a beat, it's not my best genre. Once, I was so frustrated with "Patapon." I punched my PlayStation Portable out of frustration and broke the screen. It's not something I recommend doing unless you want to fork over $100 to a brother, who happens to have his own PSP in working condition.

With that in mind, I had some apprehension playing "Cadence of Hyrule -- Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda." The game mixes elements of the indie title within the framework of Nintendo's flagship title. The result is a unique spin on "Zelda," one in which actions take place on a beat.

Players have to press buttons in time with the visual metronome at the bottom of the screen. Each action, such as a step or the dropping of a bomb, should be done in rhythm. If players manage to move and attack in time to the beat, they earn bonuses such a diamonds. "Cadence of Hyrule" even incorporates gear that amplifies attack power for those who can keep the rhythm.

It's an innovative approach to the genre, but unfortunately, it's not for the musically challenged. Thankfully, "Cadence of Hyrule" also has a fixed-beat mode that doesn't require players to move in sync with the music. That doesn't mean the game is less challenging, but the move sacrifices gameplay depth for accessibility. It still has some level of difficulty and learning curve as players progress, but it is nowhere near as frustrating.

Because the characters attack automatically in the direction of their movement, players have to maneuver their heroes to advantageous positions. This often means attacking from the side or behind, making "Cadence of Hyrule" combat focused on flanking foes and timing maneuvers so that enemies will be exposed at just the right moment. It takes time to adjust to this concept, as every move you take corresponds to an action by the enemies, but once you realize the clockwork motions of the game, it becomes second nature.

"Cadence of Hyrule" has its share of puzzles. As players encounter treasure chests in inaccessible places, they'll have to use their smarts to move blocks, shovel out dirt or use familiar gear such as the hookshot or boomerang to bridge gaps. The free-form exploration means that there's no order to obtaining equipment. Players will run into a chest that seems impossible to reach, but as they meander, they'll find tools that enable them to explore other areas.

For "Zelda" fans, the project will hit familiar plot points. An antagonist named Octavo is causing trouble in Hyrule and players must defeat his four champions: instruments that were mutated into monsters. Players need them to unlock Hyrule castle, which is blocked behind a barrier, and defeat the bigger evils in the world.

One of the notable differences is the randomly generated overworld map and procedurally generated dungeons. These Roguelike elements makes each play-through distinct. In addition, each time players die, they lose all their money and their breakable gear. It can be disheartening, but it also builds tension and strategy when venturing through the map, as players weigh the benefits of exploration against the punishment of dropping their loot.

All of this makes "Cadence of Hyrule" a different kind of "Zelda" game, one that puts an intriguing twist on the formula. Although the rhythm-focused gameplay isn't for everyone, the inclusion of a fixed-beat mode makes sure that everyone can enjoy a satisfying but conventional adventure. It's a title that players can complete without breaking down in frustration.

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'Cadence of Hyrule -- Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda'

Three stars out of four

Platform:Nintendo Switch

Rating: Everyone

This article is written by Gieson Cacho from East Bay Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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