Nintendo Switch; Brace Yourself Games/Nintendo
This stylish, fun tribute to the Legend of Zelda saga captures the original’s excitement while injecting some serious club beats
Though made by the creators of Crypt of the NecroDancer, a musical dungeon-delving game from 2015, Cadence of Hyrule could easily be mistaken for a Nintendo-made Legend of Zelda spinoff. It gets the look and feel of the Super Nintendo and Game Boy eras of Zelda exactly right: a tiled, bird’s-eye-view world of chunky sprites and squat, little adventurers. Delving into it with Link, Zelda and NecroDancer star Cadence is a delight. In combining an old-school Zelda adventure with rhythm-driven monster-bashing, Brace Yourself Games enlivens both.
Through banging remixes of thrillingly familiar tunes from Zelda history, Cadence of Hyrule turns the series’ simple sword-fighting into fast-paced musical chess. Each screen is festooned with little pixellated enemies who move to the music: Moblins wind their little clubs up for a hit every other beat; skeletal warriors and mummified zombies plod ominously towards you; spider-like Tektites move diagonally. Each beat, you can move, attack or defend. When the tempo is high and the enemies plentiful, you have to absorb and react to the position of everything on the screen in a fraction of a second, which made me feel like a rave-powered tactical genius. If that sounds too hectic, there is an option to turn off the rhythm-based element, letting you move and plan at your own pace.
Selected by softengoxford