The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

released on Jun 23, 2007

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is the first Zelda game for the Nintendo DS and a direct sequel to The Wind Waker. The art direction is the same cel-shaded style as the Wind Waker but is displayed from a classic top-down perspective. The gameplay is structured similarly to other games in the series and is divided into two major gameplay sections: sailing between islands and exploring the islands and their dungeons on foot. The touch screen is used to make Link move and attack instead of buttons, you can also make notes of secret treasures and items on the map simply by writing them down. The game received critical acclaim from reviewers, who agreed that the game was a worthy sequel to The Wind Waker.

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About as close to bad as a Zelda game gets, which is to say it's really not all awful. There are some very fun dungeons, clever puzzles and a few decent bosses, but it's severely hindered by finicky controls that are often unreliable and of course the repetitive Temple of the Ocean King. Pretty much every cool thing comes with some kind of caveat related to these two issues, and in the end it's nowhere near as satisfying as just about any other game in the series.

linebeck is one of the best companions in the series, but the whole experience just feels like bootleg zelda

The first video game I ever played, and it gave me an irrational fear of stealth sections. I never got further than the second visit to the Temple of the Ocean King until years later, but still found myself adoring just about everything about it except the soundtrack. Kinda crazy how the game opted to cram every single DS gimmick or feature or whatever into it and still wound up not only bareable but really cool too. There's like, a part where you have to close the DS to simulate pressing two maps together to reveal the location of some treasure, and an island that lacks a map so you use the touch screen to draw it yourself. This kinda puzzle solving just can't be done on any other console, and I really appreciate that the game managed to make intuitive puzzles that played into the DS' at the time unconventional control schemes and game interactivity. Linebeck also kinda carries, we kneel for him in this house.

Really enjoy general Zelda games, however haven't played many of the biggest ones (Twilight Princess, any of the ones on Nintendo Switch, Ocarina of Time...) but it was fun from what I remember!

After hearing so many negative thoughts, this game surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. It's your typical but enjoyable Zelda adventure but just controlled in a different way. I wasn't sure how big of a fan I'd be of the touchscreen controls, but I rarely found them to be a nuisance, outside of trying to use or switch between items quickly. Instead, they actually allowed for some unique and satisfying puzzles. The Temple of the Ocean King was a little tedious due to how many times you visit it, but luckily you can speed up certain parts as you obtain more items. In the end this was a pleasant, but somewhat flawed, adventure that I'm glad I played.

A childhood classic of mine, but The weakest of the Zeldas I have played. Still a good game. Has some really creative puzzle design, Linebeck is an awesome character, and a heavily under-appreciated multiplayer mode.
However...Temple of the Ocean King is my least favorite part of any Zelda game, and much of the game really just doesn't stick with me.