User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 314 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 314

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  1. Oct 21, 2012
    6
    The only member of the franchise I can't stand. The gameplay itself works fine, being controlled entirely on the touch screen except when using items. Everything else annoys me, though. The over world is the worst in the franchise, the puzzles were pathetically easy, the music sucks, the Temple of the Ocean King got annoying really fast, and the plot felt like an excuse to play the game. Probably what annoys me the most, though, is how, while it has good replay value, I have no real incentive to play it. Other Zelda games that I've already experienced gave me a feeling of adventure when I replay them like Majora's Mask or Wind Waker. This one just bores me. In conclusion, it's a functional game, but falls flat just about everywhere else. Expand
  2. Nov 9, 2011
    6
    When I look at "The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass", im sad of how they could have done better with it. It had great originality, but failed in the lacking quality of gameplay and controls. Enjoyable overall...for the moment.
  3. Oct 27, 2010
    5
    This game is almost excellent. It maintains the classic Zelda style and feel, and while most of the dungeons are simplistic, it always feels like a Zelda game. The controls are some of the most intuitive I've ever seen - there was never a question of how anything works, and for the first time in a Zelda game I didn't find myself wasting bombs or arrows because of the imprecise aim.

    That
    said, the Temple of the Ocean King is the worst dungeon I have ever played. If I only had to do it once it might be fine, but the game forces players through the same dungeon levels about 10 times through the course of the game. As a point of game design, it is simply awful. Expand
  4. Jan 30, 2013
    4
    I'm a HUGE Zelda fan, and very accepting as well. But this game was a disappointment. One word, repetitive. The Temple of the Ocean King is the bane of my existence. At least Spirit Tracks got it right by making separate levels in the Tower of Spirits. Music was ehh, except for Linebeck's theme, which is very good. This game also allows you to have, like, four navis. 'Nough said.
  5. Aug 24, 2010
    9
    So imaginative for such a limited handheld! Blowing into the mic, the slate as porting, drawing to open doors and most of all the items you get to use and what you do with them in the dungeons are, again, really imaginative. The game is on the easy side (like for the kids) and you really can do without the side-quests as it doesn't really help you to finish the game so in a sense it is unbalanced, and I HATED the Ocean Temple revisits with a passion (or as much as I could muster), but overall I still give this game a nine+, just because it was done on a really limited DS. Expand
  6. Jun 9, 2011
    8
    Sequel to Windwaker, my personal favorite game ever, Phantom Hourglass is a good game but a sudden step down from the perfected formula Ocarina and Windwaker had. Good points; great controls and is completely comfortable with the DS stylus and still had the humor and charm Windwaker had. Bad points; Way, way, way too easy - pretty much the easiest Zelda game ever, forgettable story and too short, even for a handheld. Expand
  7. Oct 4, 2010
    9
    This is a great- first- run for a Zelda DS title! I love that they continued the story from Wind Waker. The gameplay is very unique for a DS title and it's humor is wonderful. The graphics are very impressive and the music is very well done.

    The only problem I have with the title is the whole hourglass concept. The later dungeons can get pretty tedious while you race against time to get
    to the boss. Expand
  8. Oct 22, 2010
    9
    What I have to say, is this game is awesome. The game is exiting and great for entertainment. A problem though, is that this game is really puzzle-ish, and so you might have to find a walk-through.

    This one might help: http://faqs.ign.com/articles/843/843071p1.html

    There is also a place where you have to go a LOt, and it gets boring after a while.
  9. Jan 4, 2011
    7
    Although Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is great as a whole there are some minor issues that I had with the game that really hurt the experience. I was not pleased with being forced to use the stylus for movement and actions as it makes some situations like boss battles and enemy swarms a real pain to deal with, was it that much of a chore to make an alternate d-Pad and buttons control scheme? Another thing that annoyed me was the abuse of the Hourglass Temple and Sailing gimmicks which take up most of the game. The story, music, and overall game mechanics are great in my opinion but the map design can be kind of awkward in some places. The dungeons are more or less absurdly easy to navigate and bosses are simple to take down usually by a key item you found in the dungeon it was in. There are a bunch of goodies and powers to hunt for and even a Wifi capture the flag minigame that can be played both wirelessly and over Wifi. It is a good game but has flaws in some areas. Expand
  10. Apr 10, 2012
    5
    Although initially charming, fun and easy to play, Phantom Hourglass soon degenerates into frustration. This is due to the unintuitive control method. In heated battles, it is very difficult to select a weapon (such as a boomerang) and then draw an attack course with the stylus. By the time you have done so, the target has already moved out of the way. It's a control scheme so annoying that it out-right kills the game for me, and I just can't continue past a certain point. That is a real shame because when it isn't murdering it's own combat system, Phantom Hourglass is good fun. Expand
  11. Jan 28, 2011
    10
    The first Zelda game I' ve ever finished and I feel so great doing it. The audio, characters, story, the puzzles... everything is so well done and they are so perfectly together!!!

    I am anxious to play Spirit Tracks and I started playing Twilight Princess because of this great game.
  12. Mar 12, 2012
    7
    Does Phantom Hourglass could be the best Zelda game made ? Nope , not at all . Nintendo at least, managed to capture the essence of the console versions but fails a little to make it ideal. The puzzles are one of the best made yet . But I'm not falling for that because it isn't that great the touch screen ( in this game ) is not responsive and the world doesn't feel compelling. I'm sure the other Portable Zelda games are much better and more appealing . Still, the story is passable and neat for DS owners. Expand
  13. May 9, 2011
    9
    The all-touch interface has pretty much been perfected the first time around with this - my mom has always wanted to play an epic adventure game, but never could handle the 3D movement and graphics of Ocarina of Time. She's used to her iPhone, though, so when I handed her this the touch-only controls worked perfectly for her! She's really excited to play it now. It's fairly easy as far as Zeldas go, but it's really enjoyable the whole way through, and being able to draw on your map adds a whole new dimension to the dungeons (not to mention how awesome the dual-screen boss fights are). Yeah, you have to redo one temple a bunch of times, but as you gain new abilities you find new items and learn how to bypass whole sections - it provides a fun sense of your progress in abilities. A great and epic adventure! Expand
  14. May 27, 2011
    10
    I found this game when I was browsing Target for a game I could play with my stylus since my D-Pad was broken. I picked up and bought this, and it was a BLAST to play. Slashing with Link's trusty sword felt smoother then ever with the stylus, and impressive graphics touch this game off nicely.
  15. Dec 5, 2011
    9
    Great game overall, but one of the worst Zelda games (in a good way). The story is very nice, but the lack of side quests, make it a very short game. Zelda games are known for their gameplay, and this game is no exception. The unique controls really show off what the DS can do.
  16. Oct 15, 2011
    10
    gets the title of the best zelda game to compete with mm, rush out, buy it, cause i cant deny the awesomeness, not as good as dq 9, hgss or layton 3, but i was rly harsh, but this is sensational, so go get out and buy this and spirit tracks!!!

    96%
  17. Apr 2, 2012
    8
    This game had big shoes to fill because its a sequel to Wind Waker. This game is not as good as wind waker because of the control interface, but it has decent puzzles and story.
  18. Nov 30, 2011
    6
    This game has a neat story, great characters, and makes creative use of the DS system, but I didn't find it enjoyable and it was not what I have come to expect from the Zelda name. The controls were very annoying, and the dungeons were boring. The sailing in this game doesn't feel like exploration and you're constantly bombarded by pointless enemies. While I can see why people love this game, I just couldn't get into it. Expand
  19. Apr 5, 2012
    7
    Not too bad, but far from impressive. Whoever thought that visiting Temple of the Ocean King not once, not twice, but five freaking times was a good idea, needs to be slapped in the face.
  20. sLm
    Jul 4, 2012
    7
    Awesome game. Very original in the use of stylus, good graphics, and many laughs at characters. The worst part was the last temple, which you have to repeat several times to give meaning to the "Hourglass" thing. When I was at half the floors of the temple, my Hourglass timer was already to 0:00, and my hearts became my new timer from then to the end of the game, using the respawning vessels to fulfill my health bar and go on through the temple while I got hurt. But as a whole, it's a fantastic game, showing the power of DS at its highest point. Buy it if you have one. Expand
  21. Aug 23, 2012
    8
    Played this game non-stop until I 100% the game. Only things I did not like was the slow sailing and the time it took to get through the phantoms in the Temple of the Ocean King.
  22. Feb 8, 2013
    7
    An amazing game in many respects, but there is one design decision which just ruins the game for me. The game controls great, is lengthy, the world has an amazing wind waker feel and makes use of all the DS's abilities. The dungeons are also all great EXCEPT the temple of the ocean king. This dungeon ruins the game for me and not in the way that many people hate the water temple in OOT, the reason I hate this dungeon is that you have to visit it multiple times doing the same floors each time with a few extra at the end. This made me give up near the end as the time limit and frustrating gameplay made me pull my hair out. It's frustrating as other than this the game is perfect Expand
  23. Sep 28, 2013
    8
    This game was a continuation of a game I had never played, but I did know the lore of. The story was light, but enough to make me want to keep playing. The characterization was lively and i could actually feel the characters grow on me a bit as I watched them grow. I didn't like being forced to only use the touch screen rather than have the option of being able to use the D-pad. The art and music is what is at least expected from the Zelda series. Ultimately, I did have fun with it, but I probably wouldn't replay it because of the more annoying parts, like the Sea King's temple, which forces you to repeat past floors each time.
    Music: 8
    Art: 8
    Story: 7
    Gameplay: 7
    Expand
  24. Apr 13, 2014
    8
    Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass is another great entry into the Zelda franchise, if disappointing given its pedigree. Phantom Hourglass continues the Wind Waker storyline, and that along with the characters that this storyline introduces like Tetra and Linebeck make it one of my favorite storylines in the the franchise. Phantom Hourglass draws heavily on Wind Waker as an influence, almost to a fault (Much like Twilight Princess did with OOT) The sailing mechanic is back, as well as the art style from wind waker, which looks really good on the DS graphic wise. The sailing is fun and adventurous just like in Wind Waker, but unfortunately the game itself is linear (meaning that you have to do dungeons in a set order, as opposed to WW where you could explore and complete each dungeon in whatever order you wanted.) This is unfortunate because it lessens the sense of exploration brought on by the sailing. The touch controls are also very innovative. While the novelty for touch only controls wears off very quickly and they don't always work 100% correctly for movement, drawing on the map is very fun and helpful. Being able to draw your route on the map while sailing is very cool and helpful because you can just set it and focus on fighting enemies, maybe having to make subtle adjustments once in a while. A lot of the puzzles revolve around marking things on the map and then finding them, which is a cool feature. Using the stylus to draw a path to throw the boomerang is also a cool, and feels more natural than just tapping a button and having it go in one direction. The game also cleverly uses the DS mic to do things like blow dust off of map charts. Upgrading your ship is addictive and a very cool game mechanic, as is dredging for chests on the ocean floor in places marked on your map by finding treasure charts. The combat and dungeons as always in Zelda games are great. The touch controls lend themselves well to combat and the dungeons are well designed, though a bit easy per series standards. This game however has one glaring flaw that may turn a lot of people off. That is the Temple of the Ocean King. For some reason, they found the need to make you return to the same uninteresting, not particularly well designed dungeon after every real dungeon. This is not only incredibly lazy, but also really interrupts the flow of the game. I always tell people that if they can survive this dungeon, you can enjoy the rest of the game. Furthermore, the soundtrack is relatively weak by Zelda standards, though Linebeck's theme is one of my favorites of the series. Unfortunately, while this game is very kid/Zelda starter friendly, the more seasoned Zelda fans may find the dungeons and bosses too easy. Overall, Phantom hourglass is a great addition to the Zelda franchise and, despite its flaws, is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and i recommend it to any fan of the franchise (unless you're one of those poser/whiny Zelda fans that always compares every new Zelda to their personal favorite, not being able to enjoy every game on their own merit, or just trashes them because its different.) if you're this type of fan, just ignore it, it doesn't deserve your attention anyway. While this game is far from the best the series has seen, it is still a great game in its own right and worthy of a play through. Expand
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 57 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 57
  2. Negative: 0 out of 57
  1. There are many excellent games on the DS but few masterpieces. This one, though, is a masterpiece. And worth every penny you'll pay for it. [JPN Import]
  2. 20 of the finest gaming hours of the year. [Dec 2007, p.42]
  3. It's a game that should be seen from start to finish, if only to witness some of the finest level and puzzle concoctions ever to grace a Zelda game and, without question, the finest single-player experience to grace the DS. [JPN Import; Sept 2007, p.68] Hourglass drips quality and innovation, no DS owner should be without it. [Dec 2007, p.62]