Hack, Slash, Repeat: Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors
Princess Zelda saves herself in Hyrule Warriors. All images © Nintendo

Legend of Zelda games have never been known for unending hack-and-slash action, but that’s about to change with the non-stop sword swinging battles in Hyrule Warriors. Out September 26 from Nintendo and Dynasty Warriors developer Koei Tecmo, the Wii U game blends the franchises together for a Zelda experience unlike any other.

Hyrule WarriorsHyrule Warriors introduces new playable characters and villains, along with familiar faces from your favorite Zelda games. The story brings together the various Zelda heroes and timelines in a way that surprisingly makes sense. The sorceress Cia, influenced by a mysterious-but-predictable dark figure, has opened portals of time across Hyrule in her battle to take over the kingdom.

If you’ve never played a Dynasty Warriors game before and you’re expecting a typical Zelda game, jumping into Hyrule Warriors can feel chaotic and overwhelming. Seemingly unending waves of monsters fill the screen, along with pop-up dialogue from allies and enemies, mission objectives, and a flashing map that indicates the advancement of enemy forces. Your goal is to fulfill the mission objectives by capturing keeps and defeating bosses in the allotted time.

Along the way you’ll find staples from every Zelda game, such as arrows and boomerangs, giant boulders to blow up with bombs, and enemies like Stalfos. You’ll also hear tried-and-true sound effects (like opening a treasure chest) and background music inspired by the original Legend of Zelda theme.

These elements definitely give the game a Zelda feel, but at heart it is a Dynasty Warriors game. Repetitive button mashing to get through the hordes is broken up only by running through the map to get to the next objective.

Hyrule Warriors

The passable story and familiar characters are enough to keep you playing, though, especially if you’re a Zelda fan. You’ll finally get your chance to take control of Princess Zelda herself, along with Impa and Midna of Twilight Princess, and playing Link is just as fun as it always is. Along with the action you’ll also get to tweak character abilities, unlock new attack combos, and upgrade weapons.

You can also play in co-op mode, giving you and your family the chance to control Link and Zelda together. The game is rated T for Teen. There’s no blood flying through the air with all that action, but Cia’s costume is ridiculously skimpy, so you might want to check it out before inviting the youngest players in the house to take up the GamePad.

Hyrule Warriors is definitely a different take on the Zelda franchise. Once you get the hang of processing all of the information and action flying across the screen, it’s easy to find the fun in mowing down waves of enemies with Link and Zelda. If you’ve ever wanted to play a Zelda game without the hassle of solving puzzles, Hyrule Warriors is the game for you.

Hyrule Warriors is available September 26 on the Wii U for a suggested retail price of $59.99.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA, where she contributes to local parenting magazines. She also writes for StarWars.com, Geek & Sundry, Forever Young Adult, and more. You can find crafts and art projects for geeky families at her blog The St{art} Button.