Cadence of Hyrule is a rhythm-adventure game that takes place in the world of The Legend of Zelda! Apparently, some guy named Octavo put the King of Hyrule to sleep with his magic, and it’s up to Link (and several other playable characters) to defeat Octavo and his four champions. Although I’m typically not a fan of rhythm games (partly because I’m downright bad at them), this is one game from the genre that I’m mighty tempted to see more of!
The demo covers a quarter of the map and the first dungeon, the Temple of Storms. The game seems to be most heavily inspired by A Link to the Past, with elements from other Zelda games mixed in, as well, including remixed versions of classic Zelda songs. Like a traditional Zelda game, you can collect different items, like bombs, a bow, fire rod, and a torch for burning stumps. An upgraded version of the torch even lets you see inside treasure chests! But while this game is heavily inspired by the Zelda series, there are a lot of ways in which it differs.
The rhythm aspect comes into play when enemies are on screen, during which you need to move and attack to the beat of the music in order to defeat enemies and avoid taking damage. I was quite terrible at moving with the rhythm, but when you’re able to do a semi-decent job of it, the combat can be quite fun and fast paced. And whenever you defeat a full screen worth of enemies, they drop a diamond, the importance of which shall be explained in the next paragraph.
Although your most important items are permanent, death has a much greater consequence in this game. Whenever you get a game over, you lose all less essential items and rupees, though you do keep your diamonds, which can be spent on upgrades before you return to the land of the living, such as a better weapon or an item that gives you cheaper prices at shops. The dungeon was also randomly generated and changed every time I died, though important progress was saved. But I did have to earn the small keys all over again whenever I met yet another untimely demise.
One of my favorite aspects of the Zelda series are the puzzles, though as far as I can tell from this demo, puzzle solving has a much smaller focus in this game. What holds a much greater emphasis in Cadence of Hyrule (and understandably so) is following the rhythm and recognizing the patterns in which enemies move and attack. The closest thing to puzzles that I noticed in the demo was pushing blocks around on the overworld in order to reach higher ledges, replicating the Song of Storms to make the windmill spin again, and maybe knowing what item will be helpful for navigating one of the many hidden caves.
Despite not being a big fan of rhythm games, I really enjoyed my time with Cadence of Hyrule. The game could be quite difficult at times due to my poor rhythm skills, but if a newcomer to the genre even had fun with the game, I’d think anyone who really likes rhythm games would have a great time with it. Just don’t expect this to be too much like your usual Zelda experience, with the roguelike elements and the smaller emphasis on puzzles. The game is $24.99 and roughly 4-7 hours long, so it’s definitely on the shorter end of the spectrum, but due to how much fun I had with the demo, this is one game I might be tempted to buy even without a sale.
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on September 13, 2022.