Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda is a new 2D Zelda romp based on the indie roguelike rhythm game Crypt of the NecroDancer and was developed by the same studio. It released a few days after it was revealed in Nintendo’s presentation at E3 2019 as a downloadable Switch title and we’re happy to tell you that it’s absolutely worth your time! Let’s check out why you should drop everything and play Cadence of Hyrule right now.
5. The OST is Out of This World
Crypt of the NecroDancer is known for its unique combat, where both the player and their enemies move on a square grid to the beat of the background music. Certain enemies attack or walk in different rhythms, and your strategy must account for your own constant movement to the beat of the song. It’s a solid mechanic that Cadence of Hyrule uses brilliantly, setting fierce battles to the tune of remixed Zelda classics from every point in the franchise’s history.
Danny Baranowsky (a composer known for his work on Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac, and the original NecroDancer) injects a punchy, modern sound into everything from the traditional overworld theme to Gerudo Valley and even the Great Sea theme from Wind Waker. The music modulates if there are enemies around, if you step on a button that raises or lowers the tempo, or if there’s a shopkeeper nearby. Even if you don’t play the game, you at least owe it to yourself to give this soundtrack a listen!
4. It’s Actually A Real Zelda Game
For an indie-produced game that released with very little fanfare, Cadence of Hyrule is surprisingly deep. It features five full dungeons, many caves and secrets, a wide array of items, and a randomly generated overworld so that each player has a unique experience. The art and sound effects are familiar without being copy-pasted from older games (they’re a mix of the Zelda and NecroDancer styles) and the story is appropriately minimalist while still being fresh and entertaining. It’s not particularly long and some of the elements imported from games like Link to the Past feel like token fanservice rather than essential parts of the design document, but it’s still a solid adventure that lives up to both of its predecessors.
3. Princess Zelda is Playable!
Except for her appearances in Hyrule Warriors and the CDi games that shall not be named, Princess Zelda hasn’t had much of an opportunity to get out in the field and fight for herself. But luckily, she’s playable for the entire game after a short tutorial with NecroDancer protagonist Cadence. She has an arsenal of weapons, items, and magic spells to choose from and she triggers unique dialogues with several NPCs such as her father. In fact, you’re free to switch between Link, Zelda, and Cadence at save points for a majority of the game! Oh, and she finally gets to wear pants. Hooray for pants!
2. More Accessible Than Crypt of the NecroDancer
The original Crypt of the NecroDancer can be unforgiving since it takes place entirely in dungeons and limits the player’s time to complete their objective to the length of the current song. Cadence of Hyrule is a bit more relaxed and allows the player to take as much time as they want to clear out a room full of enemies or solve a puzzle. The overworld also disperses fights over larger areas and breaks up the endless gauntlets of NecroDancer with some exploration and peaceful towns to hang out in. If punishing roguelikes aren’t your thing, that’s okay! Cadence of Hyrule has a fair amount of challenge to it, but isn’t so hardcore that you’ll throw your controller at the wall.
1. Let’s Encourage Nintendo to do More Indie Game Collabs
Nintendo has worked with bigger third party studios in the past on games like Pokémon Conquest and Metroid: Other M, but it’s shockingly rare for them to collaborate with a small indie developer like Brace Yourself Games, the team behind Crypt of the NecroDancer. But if Cadence of Hyrule continues to do well, perhaps that will encourage Nintendo to do more crossover projects with smaller studios. Not only would that help the indie creators get more money and prestige to work on their own games, but it would also invigorate some of our favorite franchises with new ideas. A visual novel version of Fire Emblem from someone like Christine Love could be intriguing, and we can only imagine what the developers behind Undertale would do with an IP like Mario & Luigi or WarioWare... make it happen, Nintendo!
Cadence of Hyrule is a sleeper hit that deserves to be played at the very first chance you get. The soundtrack, the gameplay, the nostalgia, and the potential for more indie collaborations are more than enough reasons to check it out, but we admit that it was Zelda hopping around Hyrule with her head bopping to the music that drew us in. Sometimes that's all it takes!
What did you think of our overview? Have you given Cadence of Hyrule a try yet? What crossovers would you like to see between Nintendo and indie studios? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!