Sunday, February 5, 2012

Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition Impressions

First off I really want to write something about Mutant Mudds, though we're getting closer to the end of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition being free, so I wanted to throw out some quick impressions.  If you read nothing else of this post, by all means download this game to your 3DS/DSi before 2/20/2012!  It's not clear at this point if they're going to pull it for good or turn around and offer it for sale.  Considering their lack of movement on selling the ambassador titles, I wouldn't be surprised if it was yanked for at least 6 months or more.

For the impatient:  This game is loads of fun, deceptively lengthy and is FREE!

Other thoughts.....

Unrelated to Four Swords I've recently had a bad habit of making snap judgments of games before I really take the time to investigate and many times end up being wrong and changing my views. (four swords, mutant mudds, Liight, 3DS, etc.)  When Four Swords was announced at E3 I thought it seemed sort-of cool, but was a bit underwhelmed and mostly disenfranchised as there was nothing for Wii owners with regard to the 25th anniversary of the original game.  Releasing the BS Zelda series in any form would have been a cool gesture and short of that happening, I had no interest in the 3DS at the time and didn't foresee myself getting one.  Fast forward several months past the price drop, include some gift card money and consider the scenario of not having my Wii and the 3DS was looking pretty darn good.

Having only played the original Zelda, Zelda II and liking what I saw of LTTP I thought this kind of 2D format was right up my alley.  Fortunately I was right and this has become one of my top-played games with 9:03 play time and an average of 0:36.  It's only beaten by Link's Adventure DX with a play time of 10:17.  I had no expectations of this game and it was only after playing Link's Adventure DX was I able to appreciate it a bit more by having something similar to contrast with.


This time around we're off to save Zelda from the wind mage Vaati.  Along the way the primary goal is to gorge yourself on rupees and there's no shortage of opportunities.  There are several items available for use which are staged throughout the maps, though you can only hold one at a time.  Each map is divided into three areas with a boss at the end.  Overall the bosses are easy unless you misinterpret what rudimentary flaw they want you to exploit.  Based on your rupee count for the map you're awarded a silver, gold or hero key which unlocks subsequent challenges in Vaati's Palace.

I'm not going to get into a "real" lengthy review as other fine folks like Super Philip Central have it covered well.  So lets just dive into some quick pro/con lists with some light discussion.


  • Classic Zelda gameplay with considerable additional content with the "Realm of Memories", Hero Quest and additional rooms at Vaati's palace by collecting various types of keys.
  • Great nostalgia with revisiting maps similar to A Link to the Past, Link's Adventure DX and the original Zelda.
  • The soundtrack is good and fits the Zelda bill nicely.
  • The maps are relatively short and can usually be completed quickly unless you're out to uncover every rupee.
  • You have quick access to staged items throughout and rarely do you need to solve anything remotely complex.
  • Maps in many areas are randomized which helps on return visits.
  • There is finally a single player option.
  • Multiplayer without the need of wires or additional hardware.
  • Cool mechanics of picking one link up and throwing him to an unreachable area.


  • While it looks good, I'm left admiring the saturated look of the Gamecube title.  (Four Swords Adventures)
  • Multiplayer is only local.  Honestly I don't know how well this would work over the internet (even with using the built-in mic), so I'm not sure this is a big con.  I just suspect that I'll never have a chance to play this mode which kind of sucks.
  • No mid-map saving.  Once you start a 3-part map you must complete it, let your 3DS suspend or lose progress.  Unlike virtual console titles you can't return to the home screen and pop back in where you left off.  Since I typically only have short periods of time to game, this is somewhat frustrating.
  • Simplicity:  While I listed this as a pro it can also be a con at times when you're looking for more adventure or puzzles to unlock.  While I haven't gotten to the Hero's quest yet, I'm not sure if it's harder due to enemies or better puzzles to figure out.
    • While I like the light gameplay at times, I usually go back to Link's Adventure DX for more.


This is honestly one heck of a free gift from Nintendo and you're crazy if you don't take advantage of it.  It's a pretty simplistic Zelda experience with light gameplay that never gets too difficult or complex. (*possibly with the exception of the hero quest)  It also has a surprising amount of content which is packaged in short-ish doses avoiding the feel of a sprawling saga.

Maybe it's because I haven't played all of these games, but I would really like to see Nintendo continue the 2D Zelda experience in this same vein.  Obviously taking examples from LTTP, Link's Adventure DX, Minish Cap, and Spirit Tracks to flesh out a more robust and complex experience.  Am I just stuck in the past where there's no market for this sort of thing?

Have you played Four Swords Anniversary Edition and what did you think?


  1. I recently downloaded this title too, great free gift from Nintendo, nice piece :)

  2. Agree with Oliver, it's a great little timewaster and especially great being free!

  3. "If you read nothing else of this post, by all means download this game to your 3DS/DSi before 2/20/2012!"
    I see Nintendo is now paying you to promote their games to people that don't own their consoles/handhelds...trying to increase the sales.
    Well, FYI, it won't work! Patience....patience...patience...

    Gotta say though, I am interested in Mutant Mudds.

    "Have you played Four Swords Anniversary Edition and what did you think?"
    I haven't played Four Swords, any version of it; but I think a friend of mine had the GameCube version if I remember correctly.

  4. LOLcoffeewithgames  - he will convert you yet!

    For me, it was a free game, so I picked it up.  Not a bad way to kill some time, like mentioned above, but not the sort of title that keeps me enraptured for 2 hrs at a time either.  :)

  5. Thanks everyone for stopping by!  For those of you who have played it, how far did you get?

    Oliver, Strikester, Chalgyr:  I can't say my play sessions are very lengthy either and I think I usually only get through one level and stop.  Then again I was in a hotel back in November and knocked through some serious Donkey Kong and Four Swords one night.  Boredom is a great motivator.  :)

    Coffee, you have me figured out..  Though the joke is on Nintendo considering my traffic stats..  2013 isn't that far away so you could benefit from holding out for the dual-circle redesign.

    As for Mutant Mudds, I've now played through several levels and it seems like a pretty solid game.  Will try to muster up some additional impressions soon.

  6. I do enjoy playing Zelda Four Swords, but the amount of content is small. I would have liked a lot more levels like the GameCube version. Luckily, Nintendo did include some great levels based on past Zelda games, so that's cool.

    Thanks for the read!

  7. Hi Play Nintendo, thanks for stopping by.

    That's a good point on the amount of content and I should have clarified that in my post.  There is a good bit of gameplay if you don't mind re-visiting randomized versions of the levels you've played, but I agree that additional levels would have been better.

    Overall I'd say my favorite levels are from the Realm of Memories area.  Specifically the 1st and 2nd or the one like LTTP and Link's Adventure.

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