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So, Gintendo, how come you've not reviewed Tri Force Heroes?

The short answer is that none of us have finished it yet. Of course, leaving it at that would make for a terrible article that would have you closing your Internet browser in disgust, nausea at the laziness shown churning and thrashing in your gut. Here's a bit more detail - save those Rennies for later!

Tri Force Heroes was designed as a three-player game. In fact, there was no single-player mode for some time during its development. Fearing that would limit sales, someone at Nintendo kindly forced (ha) the programmers to accommodate the solo gamer. They may as well not have bothered, sadly, because progressing as a single player is nigh-on very difficult indeed. You must take three characters into levels so, if you're a solitary soul, you are accompanied by what the game calls 'doppels' - copies of Link that stand stock still unless your spirit is inhabiting them. Bringing to mind The Swapper, you then awkwardly control the trio to spot solutions, swipe swag and smash scoundrels. I found this too tough after the first world.

 You, in green, with doppels waiting to be activated in blue and red. I think the doppels are in  Doctor Who  next year. Brrr.

You, in green, with doppels waiting to be activated in blue and red. I think the doppels are in Doctor Who next year. Brrr.

Players have two choices for forming teams of three humans: you either round 'em up using the incredible magic of the Internet or persuade two real-world types to sit nearby in what the game calls 'Local Play' (insert amateur dramatic society joke here). Having no nearby 3DS-owning mates, I chose to brave the wild and desolate landscape of online play. Before I tell you my tales of gaming beyond the firewall, more on the structure of the game.

You start by choosing a world, such as the Ice Cavern. A world is made up of four levels, one of which is selected from the choices made by your team (or by you, if you're playing alone). That level then has four parts to complete before you can cross it off your list and claim a crafting item, which can be used to make outfits that give Link bonuses or extra skills (the Cosy Parka, for example, pulls triple duty as an ace pun, a coat that makes you look like an Ice Climber, and a tool to stop you sliding about on icy floors). Finish all four levels to open up new worlds to explore - there are eight all told, meaning thirty-two levels to get through (to say nothing of the Den Of Trials that was recently made available to download). It's... a lot.

 Ah, teamwork. The three Links can climb on each others' shoulders to form a totem. And the beginnings of a kick-ass cheerleading squad.

Ah, teamwork. The three Links can climb on each others' shoulders to form a totem. And the beginnings of a kick-ass cheerleading squad.

The people playing Tri Force Heroes online have a great degree of variety in their skillsets, talent levels and experience with the game. I've played every non-CDi Zelda game (which is fair enough in my book - my book being Hyrule Historia) so I am pretty familiar with the format. With no disrespect intended, some folk are simply less experienced and playing alongside them can be frustrating. To cope with the fact there's no voice chat, you have a set of eight images on the touch screen that, when tapped, pop up on everyone's screen. You can signal that you want to form a totem, for example, or call people to your spot (no, Sheldon). Anything more complicated - like "no, use the snowball as a shield to tiptoe past the freeze rays" or "go and farm some hearts with your Boomerang or we'll pretty much die" - is beyond the system.

Therein lies the fun.

 It's ice to meet this boss... although Red Link is giving him a cold, if not frosty, reception. Snow joke! All gags copyright of the film  Batman & Robin . All rights refrigerated.

It's ice to meet this boss... although Red Link is giving him a cold, if not frosty, reception. Snow joke! All gags copyright of the film Batman & Robin. All rights refrigerated.

Every playthrough of Tri Force Heroes will be unique; everyone will emerge with different tales to tell. An example: I was stuck on the Ice Temple, the fourth level of the fourth world, for days. After a lot of connection failures (turn off those nearby smartphones, that's my advice) I could fairly consistently make it to the final boss, Blizzagia (who is not a Final Fantasy spell), with a crew. This very morning a trio gathered and headed off. Snowball Ravine was selected - a level I'd done already - but I soldiered on with my colleagues, whose names are lost to time. They seemed a bit inexperienced, so I assumed the slightly unnatural role of leader. We lost a couple of our four lives but won in the end.

The team stayed together for another round and this time I got my wish: Ice Temple! I was not confident, particularly when we lost a life on the second part of the level. As Daniel Craig's accountant knows, though, a good bond is worth a lot: we got to Blizzagia without further incident. It's the third/final phase of Blizzo that's the toughest: the floor is covered in ice whilst the monstrous snake slithers about, jeweled head exposed, at which you slash with all your might (unless he's coiling around himself, when totems are needed). This is tough to co-ordinate but a brave showing from Blue Link (I was green) and a fearless turn from Red Link saw Blizzo off. I have never hit the 'wave pom-poms' icon harder. When we got back to the lobby it was time for me to go to work, so I hit the 'wave' icon... and both teammates hit 'Nooo!'. If you ever get to read this, guys, I'm sorry - I had to do it!

 There are your icons, ably modelled by Blue Link. Hat model's own.

There are your icons, ably modelled by Blue Link. Hat model's own.

In a few days' time I'm going to a StreetPass gathering, where I'm hoping to play the game face-to-face with others for the first time. There'll be more success, more setbacks and more stories. I can't wait.