With the Zelda franchise turning 35 this week, and making me feel very old, I thought it would be good to discuss one of the best entries that you might not have played. I’m talking about the Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. This is a Nintendo DS exclusive game, and you can bet that it took advantage of all the unique features on that console. It managed to get away with the lower quality graphics by pushing back into the Cartoon Link timeline. That makes total sense though, because Hyrule is still very much flooded.
That’s right, you get to see more of the flooded world of Hyrule after the great disaster. Link spends a good chunk of time moving between islands on a ship, and that’s where a hugely appealing part of the gameplay comes in. The ship can be boarded, leading to combat, or you can encounter an enemy at sea, meaning you need to get into some more serious combat. This is the highlight of traveling in the game, and it makes it so much more enjoyable than riding around on a horse.
The story takes you to some very interesting locations and dungeons, but it’s the islands that stand out most for me. This was true of Windwaker, but in Phantom Hourglass it feels like the developers got to add in all the crazy quirks that they couldn’t in the Gamecube release. There are islands for everything, some of which feel very unimportant, but exploring the world is still one of the most enticing parts of the release.
Puzzles make use of the DS touchscreen, and honestly, they’re brilliant. There’s a lot to this game that makes it feel completely different to every other Zelda release, but it all comes back around, in the end, to fuse with the overarching universe. If you need a new game in the Zelda franchise to try, this one has to be it. You can get a DS on Ebay for around £10, and the game isn’t that expensive at all. Get them both and spend a weekend with this charming entry into of the best franchises out there.