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Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer DLC Pack 1 review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E10

Nintendo recently released the first of three planned DLC packs for last year’s Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer featuring The Legend of Zelda (a mouthful, yes) and I’ve spent a bit of time with the new characters contained in the pack and figured it was worth putting down a few words about this new additional content. 

While maybe not the heftiest amount of content when it comes to paid DLC, the first pack being offered does include five new characters and an additional “All Characters” mode, allowing you to select between the new DLC characters and the existing characters when playing in the randomized dungeon mode of the game. You can also play through the story mode of the game with the new DLC characters via the Single Character mode, which is slightly different from the actual main story mode in that you’ll only control a single character throughout the adventure instead of switching between Link, Zelda, and Cadence herself. 

The DLC characters consist of Impa, Shadow Link, Shadow Zelda, Frederick, and Aria. The first three are all characters culled from the Zelda universe, while the last two will be more familiar to fans of the original Crypt of the Necrodancer. Granted Frederick is also the shop keeper in Cadence of Hyrule too, but he originally appears in Crypt of the Necrodancer as Freddie Merchantry. 

Of the new characters, Shadow Link and Shadow Zelda might be the more underwhelming additions, not adding much to their moveset to differentiate between their non-shadow counterparts. However, Impa and Frederick do make up for that quite a bit. Impa is an extremely useful character, with the ability to deflect projectiles with her spear as her primary skill, and then her secondary allows her to extend her spear attack an additional tile. This gives her a considerable amount of range, which if you’ve played Cadence of Hyrule before, you’ll realize that distance attacks can be pretty useful throughout. 

Frederick also feels extremely unique but in a completely different way. As the shopkeeper of both the Cadence and Necrodancer universes, his abilities are almost entirely dependent on rupees. Throughout the game his rupee count will actually tick down, acting as a secondary life bar. If he runs out of rupees or hearts, he’ll turn into a ghost, which in turn allows him access to some locations that would otherwise be difficult to reach in the earlier sections of the game. You can bring him back to life by obtaining a rupee, snapping him out of ghost form, and back to the physical plane. He can also use rupees as projectiles, giving him a unique alternative to the bow and arrow. 

The fifth character in Cadence of Hyrule DLC Pack 1 is Aria, which is effectively unlocking a very hard version of the game. Aria can only equip the dagger as her weapon throughout the game and has no main or secondary ability to speak of. She also only has half a heart for her life bar, effectively making any attack deadly. Personally, playing as Aria is not something I enjoy, but I’m sure there are people out there that would appreciate the challenge. 

As far as DLC goes, this initial offering for Cadence of Hyrule does feel a little light, mostly because there are only two characters that really brought anything new to the table for me. Thankfully both of those characters are pretty great and provide new ways and mechanics to play through the story or dungeon mode. Also, the $5.99 price tag is pretty easy to swallow, or you could opt for the season pass to save a few bucks, which will give you all three packs once they are released for $14.99. My only real complaint is that the amount of save slots desperately needs to be increased at this point. With the various modes and characters contained within the game, save space is at a premium, and will likely become even more of an issue once the new story content drops in DLC pack 3.

Note: Nintendo provided us with a Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer feat. The Legend of Zelda DLC Pack 1 code for review purposes.

Grade: A-