Phantom Hourglass is a portable sequel to Wind Waker, but just about everything from that game that returns here is worse. Things that used to be simple, like digging up treasure are now made so over-complicated by Nintendo having to implement these awful touch screen controls.
The only neat part about any of the touch controls was being able to mark over your own map. The little bit of fun could be had in drawing lines from one side to the other to try to figure out exactly where treasure was, or marking your map with the names and symbols you needed for your quest, or writing down solutions for puzzles. But it just makes me wish that it could be in a much better game.
And that's because the game is such a boring slog. Boring quests, boring bosses, boring overworld, and an awful AWFUL control scheme. If the d-pad romhack did not exist I would not have had the patience to finally finish this game. The only thing I outright liked was the grappling hook. That thing had so much utility, they could have built a whole game around it, and they should have. Instead, all that utility gets relegated to pretty much one dungeon. Yippee...
Then there's the Temple of the Ocean King. Oh man. I was not prepared. This is one that I heard so many people talk about how bad it was, and I still was not prepared. Believe me, it's as bad as everyone makes it sound. It is so FUCKING repetitive having to go through the same puzzles all over again every time. And having it be timed added NO tension at all, just annoyance. Especially when having to stealth, or getting killed by phantoms and having time be deducted from your hourglass.
The characters in the story were extremely bland. Your fairy companion is sassy, but less so than Tatl, Linebeck is the typical cowardly companion, and the final boss is so boring, you barely hear about him before someone tells you, go fight him. Nobody makes any significant impact. I seriously doubt that I would be able to name any of the new characters from this game 1 month from now.
The only bright spot is that it can only get better from here.