The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a Seafaring Gem

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

A direct sequel to the classic Wind Waker (2002), The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass launched on the Nintendo DS in 2007.

As you’d expect from Nintendo, this is a charming action-adventure game with plenty of puzzles and inventive surprises along the way.

It also marked an opening few games on the DS handheld, alongside excellent 2009’s Spirit Tracks sequel. But let’s have a gander at Phantom Hourglass!

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

The game takes place immediately after the events of The Wind Waker. With his trust crew of pirates, Link (the protagonist) is sailing the seas with the might Tetra (who’s really Princess Zelda in this outing of the game).

Whilst sailing, they discover the Ghost Ship and Tetra heroically boards it.

However, it’s one evil ship! And Tetra is transported away, with link trying to rescue her. He slips into the ocean and is washed up on a island. From there, it’s your job to gather your resources and try to save Tetra.

What this means, in classic Zelda series fashion, is you head off exploring, solving puzzles, and exploring dungeons.

The difference with the DS versions to other Zelda games is the use of the stylus. As we played this on the Wii U port, you can jab at the screen to move Link around. The DS has two screens, with the top one you can do things like mark locations on the map.

On the Wii U console, which features a GamePad you can interact with, this plays out with the DS console screens displayed onto the screen.

It’s a bit weird and it doesn’t work fantastically well, but you still get to enjoy the Phantom Hourglass experience properly.

As we mentioned in our Spirit Tracks review, this game also isn’t likely to get a port to any other console. Simply due to the stylus, gesture-driven nature of the DS Zelda games.

But there are great little ideas thrown into the mix. This was used on the Wii U’s Super Mario 3D World (2013) as well. On that, you come up to some obstacle and you have to blow into the Wii U’s audio thingy and it’ll twist in-game items.

In Phantom Hourglass, you have to blow some candles out to access a dungeon. At one point, you also shout into the Wii U Gamepad/DS to get an in-game character’s attention.

For anyone using the DS for that, and playing the game on public transport, we’re sure that freaked a few people out.

But it is a little tricky to get right, note with the Ghost Ship battle. It’s not as easy to control as the controller-driven Zelda games, particularly shifting focus up to the top and bottom screens.

Nintendo always likes to innovate with its game, though, it’s just stylus-driven outing didn’t catch on. Other than the two DS titles, it moved away from the stylus concept for all future Zelda titles.

Which means the Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are unique twosome. And we just slightly prefer the former as it’s a brilliant game.

The story flows in the usual charming fashion, the puzzles are clever, and there’s a character called Linebeck who’s a loveable rogue. The mix of touchscreen combat and adventuring works very well indeed.

It looks great for a handheld game, although we were disappointed slightly by the soundtrack. Nintendo did improve considerably on that for the Spirit Tracks sequel.

But overall, double thumbs up from us.

It’s classic Zelda adventuring with a unique twist to it, with around 20 hours of puzzle solving and seafaring to make anyone a happy bunny.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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