Posted By: wraggster
Unusually for Nintendo, a new game revealed in yesterday’s Nintendo Direct was playable the very next day at press events across the globe. Iwata spoke yesterday of this new top-down Zelda’s use of height and volume, so it was apt that our 20 minute play through a single dungeon stage took place atop a blustery, rain-battered building, home to Nintendo’s PR agency.From the ground floor up to the boss battle on the dungeon’s roof, Zelda 3DS feels immediately familiar. Like so much of Nintendo’s 3DS output, the game’s play with depth and perspective invites players to nudge the 3DS’ slider upwards every few minutes. Thankfully, it is perfectly playable in 2D. However determined Nintendo might be to encourage play in three dimensions, 3DS just doesn’t seem destined to excite the games playing public in the same way DS once did.The art style recalls Ocarina of Time 3D; bright cartoonish colours, yes, but none of the characterful cel-shading that lent Link’s wide-eyed DS outings such whimsy. This demo dungeon’s muddle of red and brown perhaps isn’t the greatest showcase for the game’s looks either. Happily, the game’s visuals and perspective are secondary to what appears to be this new game’s headline act. Though the internet has christened this game A Link To The Past 2, expect the game’s official suffix to play on Link’s Merge ability.Tap the A button when Link is standing next to a wall and he’ll be flattened out and sucked right into it. Here Link switches from 3D model to chalky sketch outline – a quirk yet to be explained in a narrative sense, but one which has a clear functional purpose; to offer players an escape route and make them think differently about the tight, efficient spaces in this game’s dungeons.Sword in hand, Link works upwards through the usual enemies and gentle switch puzzles until reaching an apparent dead-end. Having exhausted his options in the default top-down view, Merging allows, for a limited time, Link to explore an alternative plane. It allows him to cross previously unbridgeable gaps and, when you are lead outside to the dungeon’s exterior, to walk inside and around obstacles blocking progression across a series of moving platforms.Swing Link’s mallet – a more familiar tool – down upon the smiling, spring-loaded faces in this dungeon and he can stand upon them, leaping up a floor after a few moments. Link’s bow and arrows are here too, but firing at red and blue switches from a distance has always been part of Link’s adventures.These are early days for The Legend Of Zelda on 3DS; the game is without a final title and this brief demo dungeon might not even appear in the final game, Nintendo’s PR reps tell us. It delivers what one might expect from a new top-down Zelda in three dimensions, with one intriguing new mechanic and some neat plays on depth and perspective. One hopes there is a lot more to come in terms of innovative mechanics, because right now, Merge doesn’t feel like it can carry an entire Zelda adventure by itself.