Cadence of Hyrule

Cadence of Hyrule Review

Link and Zelda get their groove on

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on

ESRB Everyone rating

Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda combines Nintendo's classic franchise with indie rhythm fun so get ready to hop to the beat while slaying devious monsters and conquering tricky dungeons.

Cadence of Hyrule screenshot 1
Zelda must say goodbye to her castle and go on a brand new funky adventure

Back in 2015, Brace Yourself Games released their celebrated debut title Crypt of the NecroDancer which combined classic Mystery Dungeon gameplay with a rhythm mechanic. Cadence of Hyrule is a brand new game that uses this established formula within The Legend of Zelda universe. Thankfully, it works beautifully and is a ton of fun. Having to tap to the beat in order to hop through each area on the world map and traverse dungeons is a treat, especially when you begin to master the mechanics and slay hordes of monsters efficiently. You can play through the adventure as either Link or Zelda and I chose Zelda because you don't often get to actually play as her. She has a special ability that allows you to deploy a shield so you can deflect incoming attacks and let me tell you, it's incredibly rewarding to use it with perfect timing only to see your foes fall while you remain unscathed.

Cadence of Hyrule looks phenomenal as if it's an alternative take on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with detailed environments and sprites, gorgeous animation, and highly imaginative bosses. Of course, the most important aspect of a rhythm game is its soundtrack and the music here is top-notch complete with tons of familiar Zelda tunes that are now remixed and altered in order to complement the rhythm mechanic. It all comes together to make a tight and appealing game world that's as fun to watch as it is to play.

Cadence of Hyrule screenshot 2
Battling an assortment of fresh and familiar baddies is great fun

As you play through Cadence of Hyrule, you'll discover oodles of cool items and secrets that will enhance your abilities and help ease the difficulty. For starters, you'll extend your life meter with heart containers and collect useful tools such as shovels so you can remove certain blocks and torches that allow you to see further in dark dungeons. There are classic Zelda items, too, like bombs, arrows, and empty jars as well as the fire rod, hookshot, and power glove. You may also discover some awesome secrets as you progress such as the unlockable character Deku Scrub which makes playing Cadence of Hyrule a lot more challenging.

Although all of this sounds fantastic, Cadence of Hyrule is still a rather short experience. Depending on your skill level, you can finish it in anywhere from 2 to 8 hours with 5 being the average. On top of this, there isn't much replay value considering you don't unlock anything that you can carry over to a new game. Of course, the procedural generation of the world is neat but you'll still essentially experience the same things over and over again. Finally, if you're a Crypt of the NecroDancer veteran, you may be disappointed by the fact that Cadence of Hyrule doesn't include any challenges that help extend its replay value aside from the previously mentioned Deku Scrub character. The roguelike element is even very forgiving so failure doesn't feel like it has any serious repercussions.

Cadence of Hyrule screenshot 3
It's time for Zelda to take a breather in the super-chill Kakariko Village

Cadence of Hyrule features incredibly appealing visuals and music as well as a gameplay dynamic that's fresh and exciting. That being said, once you're done with its somewhat short campaign, there isn't really much else to do.

  • + Expertly combines rhythm Mystery Dungeon gameplay with classic Zelda aesthetics
  • + Vibrant visuals and top-notch tunes
  • + Lots of fun items and secrets to find
  • - NecroDancer veterans may be disappointed by the lack of additional challenges
  • - Rather short with little replay value
7.9 out of 10
Gameplay video for Cadence of Hyrule 8:16
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