Nintendo made a surprise announcement Wednesday morning at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, unveiling a crossover between one of its tentpole franchises and a recent independent hit that debuted last year on the Switch.
Cadence of Hyrule is a mash-up between The Legend of Zelda and 2015’s Crypt of the Necrodancer, which sees Necrodancer‘s heroine Cadence unexpectedly visiting the world of Hyrule. Once there, she teams up with Link and Princess Zelda for an adventure.
Cadence, which debuts this spring for the Switch, is developed by Necrodancer‘s original studio, the Vancouver, B.C.-based Brace Yourself Games, with a soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky, the Seattle-based musician who composed music for the original Necrodancer, Super Meat Boy, and The Binding of Isaac. Cadence‘s music will feature remixes of classic music from the Zelda series.
As with Necrodancer, Cadence of Hyrule is a 2D dungeon crawler, with the additional mechanic that you can only move or attack if you do so while staying on beat with the game’s soundtrack. If you manage to keep your character’s action in time with the music, you receive a multiplier that boosts your score; if you miss a beat, you may end up leaving yourself vulnerable to enemies’ attacks. The effect is to encourage you to play the game like it’s an instrument, staying in tune and constantly moving.
Over the course of the last few years, Crypt of the Necrodancer has been ported from its PC debut to every system under the sun, and made its debut on the Switch this past February, in a new edition that featured a brand new playable character. It also features a prequel expansion, Amplified, which expands its character roster and adds a new zone. Necrodancer won the Game Developers Choice Award for Best Audio in 2016.
Keep the beat and keep Hyrule from meeting certain doom when Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of #Zelda from @BYG_Vancouver comes to #NintendoSwitch this spring! pic.twitter.com/Cvc622QuzX
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 20, 2019
The debut of Cadence of Hyrule came at the end of a scheduled “Nindies” announcement, where Nintendo’s Kirk Scott and Katie Casper presented a half-hour pre-taped showcase of upcoming independent games for the Nintendo Switch.
Other announcements from this morning’s Nindies show include:Stranger Things 3: The Game, a 2-player co-op adventure game developed in Texas by Bonus XP, scheduled to release on July 4, the same day as season 3 debut of Netflix’s Stranger Things. The game is promised to let you “delve deeper into” the strange events of the show’s third season. Blaster Master Zero 2, a surprisingly faithful sequel to Sunsoft’s NES classic, is available for purchase on Switch today. Katana Zero, a “neo-noir” action platformer that challenges players to take on the role of a deadly but fragile assassin, will be out for the Switch on April 18. The Red Lantern, the debut project from the California studio Timberline, where the player (voiced by Ashly Burch) goes to Alaska to compete in the Iditarod dog-sledding race, but ends up being challenged to survive a trip across the wilderness. It’s planned to come out on Switch at some point in 2019. Rad, by cult-favorite developer Double Fine Productions, is an action game set in a 1980s vision of post-nuclear destruction, with a hero that fights mutants by turning into animal-human hybrids. It’s planned to be out this summer. Devolver Digital, famous for publishing weird independent games, is bringing Victor “Deadtoast” Agren’s stylish, violent shoot-’em-up My Friend Pedro to the Switch in June. Neo Cab, by Chance Agency, is an “emotional survival game” about being the last human cab driver in an automation-driven city in California. You must manage your passengers’ reviews, keep your emotions in check, and stay employed while searching for your best friend. It’s scheduled for this summer. The Polish-developed survival horror game Darkwood is coming to the Switch in May.
In an unusual move within the larger games industry, a lot of these “Nindies” are scheduled to come out at some point in the summer, which is traditionally a dry spell for video game releases. At least on the Switch, it looks like there won’t be much of a games drought in 2019.