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Download Play is a feature of the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS that allows players to locally and wirelessly download content from other systems. The feature is specifically known as DS Download Play when Nintendo DS content is involved and Nintendo 3DS Download Play when Nintendo 3DS content is involved.
The primary purpose of Download Play is to allow multiplayer gameplay with as little as one cartridge in supported games, although it is also used for other purposes. Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks and Tri Force Heroes, as well as the spin-off title Tingle's Balloon Fight DS, support Download Play for its primary purpose, to allow multiplayer games with fewer cartridges than players. Download Play gameplay does not affect the ranking of the host player in Phantom Hourglass, but it does affect the rankings of any player using a cartridge in Spirit Tracks.
In Tri Force Heroes, Download Play may be used to invite another player to join the party of three into the Drablands. The mode is unique in Tri Force Heroes, as it allows players using Download Play to save their gameplay data onto their 3DS, including Outfits crafted and the player's progression in Levels. This allows them to continue where they left off with their resources the next time they play through Download Play. Should the player purchase the full version of the game, their saved data will be transferred over. During Download Play, players using this mode can request Madame Couture's Assistant to craft them Outfits using their collected Materials, however, he tailors Outfits at a much slower pace than Madame Couture, and will only finish once another Level is completed. Players who own the full version of the game will receive Friendly Tokens who play with individuals using Download Play, just as they would earn them during normal local play. The Coliseum mode is not available in Download Play.
The number of Download Play programs available from a cartridge varies by game and region; both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, for example, have three Download Play programs on their cartridges in the North American region, each with one of the languages available on the cartridge (English, French, and Spanish), and the Download Play program sent to other systems depends on which language is currently in use. Recipient players of a Download Play program cannot use a system's language settings to play in a different language than the host player; instead, recipient players must play the game in the language set by the host player.
The Legend of Zelda Games Supporting Download Play
- Phantom Hourglass
- Spirit Tracks
- Tingle's Balloon Fight DS
- Four Swords Anniversary Edition
- Tri Force Heroes
- "The best thing about Download Play and Tri Force Heroes is that you’ll be able to play with friends who do not own a copy of the game. You can team up during the three-player campaign mode but, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in the PvP zone dubbed ‘The Coliseum’. That being said, if you do not own a copy of the game, Download Play will actually save a copy of your gameplay data, including any resources and outfits crafted, and will transfer right over to your own copy of the game once you pick it up." — Katie Towne, Download Play in Tri Force Heroes gives players who do not own the game a head start, Zelda Universe, published October 5, 2015, retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "In Download Play, you can order outfits from Madame Couture's apprentice to the right of the lobby" (Tri Force Heroes manual, pg. 11)