Tri Force Heroes may be the most unusual The Legend of Zelda game yet, even over Majora’s Mask. It doesn’t have Zelda present, which has happened before in these games, but it’s the lack of true open world exploration and dungeon crawling that really sets it apart. This was obviously designed to make it easier for multiplayer games to jump in and out with little time dedication, not to mention help with replayability. The Tri Force Heroes strategy guide therefore has to be as choppy and dissimilar to any other Legend of Zelda strategy guide. As such, it’s one of the thinnest Zelda strategy guides I own, but the information inside is invaluable for saving Princess Styla from the Witch of the Drablands.
Like nearly every other Legend of Zelda guide, the Tri Force Heroes strategy guide opens each level with a map, although the maps are typically so small, they aren’t need. When I say small, I’m talking smaller than the smallest dungeon in the original Legend of Zelda game. They’re often just a few screens with little to no backtracking across rooms needed. The only way to go from room to room or screen to screen is by solving various puzzles. Sometimes the puzzles include a boss fight, sometimes they require a precisely timed throw, jump, or arrow.
Different outfits the Links can wear will give different abilities, but you often won’t know which outfit will be needed until after you try the level and fail gloriously. At the start, right along with the map, the strategy guide lists off the recommended outfit, with the most recommended for single-player at the top. As such, at the end of a level, if a particular outfit requires farming for materials to make it, the strategy guide will strongly suggest that the player take the time to farm and craft it. After replaying one level seven times, I was ready to call it quits and forget ever getting Serpent Fangs to craft the Cozy Parka. Surely it wasn’t as needed as Garitt Rocha insisted it was. I could get along fine without it. I tried one more level without it before I went back to farming. Once I crafted the parka, I begrudgingly admitted that he was right; the Ice Cavern requires this damn parka. After that, I listened to all of his outfit suggestions, no matter how much farming for ingredients I had to do; he was always so infuriatingly spot on.
Where the advice faltered a little bit was with the boss fight strategy. The strategies offered were either flawless, or virtually impossible to follow without two other players in your game. When those sad travesties happened, I happily skipped them (yes, you can skip the levels). It wasn’t worth the frustration in either throwing my 3DS or the book or both.
Once a world is completed in the Drablands, challenges for each individual level are unlocked, and each level has 3 challenges. These get the player to replay that level, possibly for the 50th time, but with different parameters. Sometimes the player can’t get hurt, can’t fall, can’t be hit by a snowball, can’t pop random balloons that appear, etc. The Tri Force Heroes strategy guide details every challenge imaginable, and lists which challenge appears where, along with the prizes for completing them. Yet, no specific strategies are provided for the specific level challenge. Obviously some would be rather straight forward, such as the don’t fall or don’t get hurt challenges, but surely there is some advice for the speed run challenges or the challenges that require a sword to never be used.
As expected from a Prima Games Legend of Zelda strategy guide, the appendices are pristine, easy to follow, and leave nothing to chance. All outfits are listed, including when they unlock, which materials are needed, and where the materials can be found. Every material item is also listed with every location where it can be found, including which challenges will yield the material as a prize.
If you need help getting through Tri Force Heroes solo or even with friends, the strategy guide will point you in the right direction and give you all the prep you need. If it dug a bit more into the challenges, it would get a higher score, but somehow I doubt challenges are in this audience’s wheelhouse. Seriously, the levels are hard enough without extra prerequisites.