Seeing as a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was announced for the 3DS just the other day, it seems like a good time to write about that other great portable Zelda game, Phantom Hourglass. I only played it for the first time very recently, but I was immediately struck by how well it suited being played on a handheld console – unlike the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time, which tried to squeeze a console game to the size of a tiny box. Phantom Hourglass is designed to be played on the go for short stints, and it’s all the better for it.
I was also impressed by how well the controls have been mapped to the DS stylus. I wasn’t sure how combat would work, but it quickly became second nature, and the boomerang works particularly well with the touch screen. In fact I reckon that the Phantom Hourglass boomerang is the definitive version in the Zelda canon. I love the way you can scribble all over the maps too: it reminded me of making my own paper maps for Head Over Heels back in the old days.
It was great to see the return to the Wind Waker cel-shaded version of Link as well: I love this design, with his big ol’ head and tiny little feet. I remember how controversial it was when it was first revealed, so it’s funny how now cel-shaded Link is now as readily accepted as the Ocarina of Time version. I think I prefer him, to be honest.
Having said that, I’m very much looking forward to returning to the top-down Link of A Link to the Past 2 later this year, but before then I still have loads of Zelda to catch up on: Skyward Sword is still waiting on my shelf to be played, and Spirit Tracks sounds worth a look, plus I never got around to playing The Minish Cap or Oracle of Ages/Oracle of Seasons when they came out. So many Zelda games, so little time…
[As dictated by Lucius Merriweather. Another game falls from The Mantelpiece.]