A downloadable metagame for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Triforce is a short puzzle game by Patrick LeMieux (alt254) and Stephanie Boluk (chouxsalad) inspired by paradoxical places from the original Legend of Zelda.

In The Legend of Zelda, there are several strange spaces hidden around Hyrule that defy the logic of the Cartesian grid: the Lost Woods, the Lost Hills, and the Lost Roads. When navigating these 2D mazes, Link finds himself endlessly looping, temporarily arrested by a classic gaming trope. But when visualized in 3D, these labyrinths start to look different. Triforce features a non-Euclidean Hyrule full of donuts, Möbius strips, and Klein bottles as well as other secrets folded within the topologies of Zelda. Can you navigate three new dungeons in three dimensions to discover the three pieces of the triforce?

Triforce is a free game, designed for educational purposes and originally published in 2017 as part of Metagaming, a book by Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux available open access at manifold.umn.edu/projects/metagaming. Graphics, music, sound and text from The Legend of Zelda are property of Nintendo.

"Nintendo has used spatial tricks before, like the flat walls of Super Mario Odyssey, the 2D/3D switching of Super Paper Mario or quick minigames in WarioWare: Twisted!, but Triforce takes it a step further to something that really needs to be played to do it justice." —Heather Alexandra, Kotaku

NES Remix "took classic NES titles and reimagined how people played them. It was a great success, but after watching the trailer . . . for Triforce, I realize there are so many more interesting ways to reimagine classic games than just replacing Mario with Link." —CJ Andriessen, Destructoid

"The Topologies of Zelda: Triforce is a head melting non-euclidean puzzle adventure in which you attempt to collect three Triforce pieces while traversing a The Legend of Zelda’s inspired 2D world that’s mapped onto rotatable 3D structures." —Free Game Planet

"100 Best Free Indie Games of All Time" —Indie Game Website
"Weirdest Video Games of 2018" —David Wildgoose, Junkee
"Best Video Essays of 2018" —Shane Denson, BFI

Updated 11/18/18 11:00PM PST to fix lag/hanging issues on Windows!! See v2.2 :)
Updated 11/14/18 11:30PM PST to add new dialog, new music, new endings!
Updated 11/12/18 10:40PM PST to edit major dialog, adjust bomb menu, fix sound.
Updated 11/12/18 9:30AM PST to edit dialog and add music to Triforce rooms.
Updated 11/11/18 11:35PM PST to edit dialog, adjust bomb menu, fix speed.
Updated 11/10/18 11:45PM PST to edit dialog and adjust the main menu
Thanks to Shenjoku for helping find the Windows bug!


Triforce Win 25 MB
Triforce Mac 28 MB
Triforce Linux 28 MB
Triforce Soundtrack 14 MB

Install instructions

For Win download and unzip, double or right click and open, then select more info and run anyway.

For Mac download and unzip, right-click and open, then agree to open.

For Linux download and unzip, right-click to open properties then permissions then check "Allow executing file as program."

Inputs default to keyboard and Xbox 360 controller but can be edited in the launch window along with resolution and graphics settings.


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I'd love to know which Sobchack book is being referenced in the second +wis text-based bit. :)

Great question! It's from "Breadcrumbs in the Forest," the first chapter of Carnal Thoughts.

(1 edit) (+2)

Experimenting with topology is cool! Calling donuts, Klein bottles or Möbius strips non-Euclidean is not correct though (they have different topologies but their geometries are Euclidean). Also the bullets on the sphere move along the parallels. In a correct, non-Euclidean implementation of spherical geometry they should not.

Hi Patrick, Stéphanie,

Such a great works =)

I would like to contribute so is there  any chance to make it open source or share sources ?



Quite fun until the cube dungeon, which just resets itself before you can defeat all the knights, and they all respawn. Assuming the goal is to defeat them all, and it's not purposely unbeatable. Kind of a sour ending to a fun experience.

Hi jim3e8, we're sorry to hear you ran into trouble. There's definitely a few more things to do after the cube dungeon. What version of the game were you using? In case you want to give it another shot, here are a few tricks in rot13: 

Bar guvat lbh pna gel vf svefg orngvat gur ybar qnexahg gb gur yrsg orsber jnyxvat onpx guebhtu gur svefg ebbz gb svtug gur ybar qnexahg ba gur evtug, gura ergheavat ntnva gb gur svefg ebbz naq jnyxvat hc, hc, hc, hc juvyr gnxvat bhg gur erznvavat qnexahgf nf lbh ybbc gur phor. Guvf beqre fubhyq znxr gur pbzong rnfvre fvapr gur pbagebyf jba'g trg syvccrq.

Nabgure cbffvoyr fgengrtl vf hfvat obzof ntnvafg gurz fvapr bar obzo uvg jvyy xvyy n qnexahg. Gb trg obzof va gur svefg dhrfg whfg vtaber gur fjbeq naq lbh jvyy svaq rvtug obzof ng gur ortvaavat bs rnpu qhatrba. Vs lbh eha bhg, whfg jnec gb gur birejbeyq naq gur obzof jvyy nccrne ntnva bapr lbh trg onpx gb gur qhatrba. Tbbq yhpx!

OK, thanks. I was able to get past the cube by maintaining everything in the right-side-up direction, before the dungeon automatically reset. It's not clear to me whether I was running out of time (that's a bit aggressive), or whether the game got confused, especially because after some flips and rotations the sprite's sword began coming out of him in a direction he was not facing (either evil or a bug). I was using the latest Mac version. Anyway, your hint helped me get through, thanks.

This is really awesome! Any chance of fixing that really bad hang every time the text fades out? That's the only part that really bugs me. Have to sit there for 10+ seconds waiting to gain control again :(

Hi Shenjoku, thanks for letting us know! What operating system are you playing on? Did you download the current version?

(2 edits)

Yeah I got the newest version today to retest it and it still happens. I'm on Windows 10. It happens at home and at my work PC. Easy way to test is to clear data, start a new game, and start moving as soon as the screen separation starts and it'll hang after a few seconds. Sometimes it locks up indefinitely and I have to close it. I figured out how to avoid the hang by doing a very short movement as soon as the fade and then wait for the black bars to completely go off screen and then start moving.

Similarly, if I hold down a movement direction after picking up the sword while Link is holding it up, it hangs there as well. If I wait until he stops holding the sword to press any key then it's fine. I've tried all kinds of combinations of graphics settings and screen resolutions and nothing seems to help.

Thanks so much for posting these details, Shenjoku! We'd been trying to figure why the game would occasionally lag on Windows and based on your comments we fixed the issue. Specifically, your note about pressing "down a movement direction after picking up the sword while Link is holding it up" helped pinpoint the problem!

Version 2.2 is available now and should run smoothly on Windows.

Hooray! :D Glad I could help! Now I can speedrun it without worrying about the hangs :)

This was a nice experience :)


Might be a good idea to utilize public domain/free art assets and replace the story.  Then this game becomes a Zelda clone without incurring the wrath of Nintendo.

They don't seem to understand or give a damn about 'educational purposes' and I'd love for this type of work to continue to be available in the future.


Hi Daedalus, thank you for this note!

We designed Triforce alongside Metagaming, a book about the games we play in, on, around, and through videogames published by the University of Minnesota Press in print and open access at at https://manifold.umn.edu/projects/metagaming. For archival and legal purposes a copy of the game will also be uploaded there.

(That said, we have also been working on a version/mode of Triforce rendered entirely with children's drawings instead of NES graphics!)

In the alternate version, might I suggest replacing the Triforce with a triskelia or the three pieces thereof?


There's no need for this.  Nintendo doesn't 'own' a public domain symbol/image.  The 'Triforce' is the symbol of the ancient Hojo clan ( 北条氏 ) of Japan.  Nintendo can't copyright or trademark it.  They can try but they will get laughed out of court just like Universal Studios did when they tried to sue Nintendo over Donkey Kong being a ripoff of King Kong (which itself is also a public domain creation).

The Triskelia is also a good candidate as it originates several thousand years ago and has been imprinted on weaponry, armor, pottery, and other similar types of items.

Could you also put the Linux version of the game at https://manifold.umn.edu/projects/metagaming, just in case it becomes inaccessible here on itch.io due to legal action by Nintendo?

Great idea! Before releasing our games on itch.io, we didn't realize how many people would play the Linux versions. We're now planning to include Linux builds for all future releases as well as on Manifold!

That's great to hear! Now that you've mentioned it, how many people downloaded the Linux versions?


For when Zelda is not trippy enough.

See also: A Link to the Past Randomizer, with Major Glitches logic, Inverted (or Open if v30 can't do Inverted+Major Glitches), All Dungeons, and Swordless.