It might have slipped past you, but it’s worth pointing out that an excellent Zelda spinoff called Cadence of Hyrule was released for Nintendo Switch a few weeks ago. If you’re a fan of The Legend of Zelda, I cannot recommend it enough. Hell, if you’re a fan of games, go get it.
Developed by indie darlings Brace Yourself Games, Cadence of Hyrule is essentially a Zelda-themed sequel to the studio’s last game, the rhythm-based roguelike Crypt of the Necrodancer. It shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does.
There are dungeons, puzzles, bosses, items to find, and secrets to uncover in a surprisingly large open world Hyrule, but the twist is, as it was in Necrodancer, that you can only move and fight to the beat of the music. Seriously, it’s really great. Go. Play it. I’ll wait right here.
When Nintendo first announced the game a few months ago during an Indie Direct, people were floored. The company has always been famously protective of its IPs in the past, presumably because the 90’s Super Mario movie and those CD-i Zelda games are real dog turds.
With Cadence of Hyrule, however, we have a Nintendo that’s willing to lend its creations to some of the newest and most exciting developers around. Given the critical response to the spinoff (and the fact that it breezed into the Switch charts within a day), I’d imagine we’ll be seeing more indie/Ninty team-ups.
Nintendo’s willingness to open previously locked doors hasn’t gone unnoticed by other indie developers, either. Jared Moldenhauer of Studio MDHR, who developed the excellent run and gun platformer Cuphead, recently spoke to Nintendo Force magazine and revealed a desire among Cuphead staff to make their very own hand-drawn Legend of Zelda game.
Moldenhauer painted a compelling picture of an MDHR-developed Zelda, suggesting a vast open world game with bosses that could take up entire screens, and an animation style similar to that of Cupheads, which is of course gorgeous.
A sprawling Zelda title brought to life in a doting 2D hand-animated style…Think of all the expressiveness and life you could bring to the tribes, people, and enemies of a universe that rich! And much like Cuphead, we would get to test our design mettle coming up with screen-filling bosses of an entirely different nature. Of course, backgrounds would be completely hand-painted with nothing re-used! The list just goes on and on. It would be an absolute dream come true.
I love Cuphead. I love The Legend of Zelda. I love Cadence of Hyrule. If Nintendo could get in touch with Studio MDHR to set this up, that’d be absolutely wonderful, please and thank you. Failing that, I reckon the studio could do a great Paper Mario.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.