The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass DS

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 439 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 38 out of 439
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  1. 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.
  2. DaveH
    Jan 4, 2010
    4
    Just like the review of NintendoWorldReport, I have to agree that this game is rather for 8 year olds rather than zelda veterans, the poor story, poor overworld, dungeons and characters make it the worst zelda game there is. Its a pity that very few publications have the guts to give a Zelda game a mixed or negative review.
  3. MarkusE.
    Sep 25, 2007
    3
    Dungeons: You have some of the most linear (even more so than TP), generic, and simple dungeons you will ever see in any Zelda game. There _are_ some challenging puzzles in Levels 6 and 7 (think TP Master Sword puzzle difficulty), but for the most part, the dungeons are cake. The "jot down notes on your map" gimmick gets old by the second half of the game. If you want to challenge Dungeons: You have some of the most linear (even more so than TP), generic, and simple dungeons you will ever see in any Zelda game. There _are_ some challenging puzzles in Levels 6 and 7 (think TP Master Sword puzzle difficulty), but for the most part, the dungeons are cake. The "jot down notes on your map" gimmick gets old by the second half of the game. If you want to challenge yourself, try memorization. Dungeons will take an average time of 20-40 minutes each for an unaided first playthrough, making some of the shortest dungeons since the days of ALttP/LA. Game Length and Difficulty: I'd expect an average player to finish in 10-15 hours for an unaided first playthrough, and 20 hours for 100% completion. Veterans of this series should not take more than 10 if they focus on the main quest. The average player will score some gameovers, but nowhere near as many as the early NES/SNES/GB games. This game also takes a giant step backwards from TP in a lot of ways: Dungeon design: Instead of themed dungeons in TP, where each dungeon has a unique gameplay mechanic to remember it by (for example, guiding the statue in the Temple of Time), PH's dungeons are once again generic (Level 3 could have easily been Level 5, and vice versa), linear (even more so than in TP), and almost jokingly easy until near the end. Inventory: There are no new items (i.e. everything is taken from previous LoZ titles). There are two items for which you draw out their flight paths in advance, and for the remaining five, you point your stylus where you want to use the item. Neither is particularly revolutionary or interesting. Stylus controls: Surprisingly, they're not as bad as people make them out to be. You will get used to them by the end of the game. There are occasional annoyances (for example, your hands get sore after long periods of play much more easily), and I can't say that I prefer this scheme to the traditional D-pad/analog stick setup, but it's definitely tolerable. Plot development: Three cutscenes: beginning, middle, and end. No dynamic characters. Story has almost nothing to do with The Wind Waker or the franchise. Tetra has about 10 minutes of on-screen time and you'll get the feeling she was thrown in just for the heck of it. Music: For the first time since ALttP, each dungeon does not have a unique theme. In fact, the same theme, which consists of just 4-6 repeating notes, is used in all eight dungeons, and it gets really annoying fast. Most songs are simply remixes of classic tunes, and in many cases, their quality has been downgraded. For example, the Goron theme from TP got nerfed, and the light world dungeon theme from ALttP was "borrowed" to become a character's theme in PH, and boy, it sounds awful. Other gameplay gripes: You have to return to the Ocean King's Temple [the master dungeon] a grand total of six times, and must restart from the topmost floor (there are 13 basement levels) upon each visit. This becomes an annoyance. Yes, after a few return trips, you will be able to open a checkpoint at the halfway mark, as well as use alternative pathways/puzzle solutions with newly acquired inventory items. Nonetheless, there's still a lot of overlap and repetition (think six return visits), and it gets stale. The time limit is _NEVER_ a problem as long as you remain patient and refrain yourself from taking chances and running into phantom guards. Since there are time bonuses on almost every level of the dungeon, it's actually possible to finish the whole thing with a net time of zero. Verdict: Solid rent for me. The game's strong points are its graphics, boss battles, and multiplayer mode. Everything else is meh. I really think this game is being incredibly overrated by the press. Expand
  4. JaredC.
    Oct 2, 2007
    0
    Zelda when she is a baby, and weak, and pethetic, this game is just like that. It misses out on the main story and cliches the slackness of undarkening material. it just doesn't work with all the others.
  5. JCA.
    Oct 2, 2007
    0
    So boring. The levels are cheap, and they never teach you how to defeat the impossible with horrible moves. Now why doesn't Zelda have these moves in the other games?
  6. MejaR.
    Oct 9, 2007
    2
    It's very repetitive... eg the Ocean King's Temple ... give me a break... fancy graphics, etc do NOT make a good game. RENT IT and save your $$.
  7. JakeH.
    Oct 17, 2007
    1
    Horrible game. Too repetitive.
  8. MiguelM.
    Mar 21, 2008
    4
    I was initially excited about the thought of a Zelda game on the DS, having enjoyed the Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time on my Wii. At first I thought Phantom Hourglass had a lot of potential with an attractive cell shaded art style and surprisingly well Integrated touch screen controls. However, the overall game design is surprisingly terrible. Between every step of the game you are I was initially excited about the thought of a Zelda game on the DS, having enjoyed the Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time on my Wii. At first I thought Phantom Hourglass had a lot of potential with an attractive cell shaded art style and surprisingly well Integrated touch screen controls. However, the overall game design is surprisingly terrible. Between every step of the game you are forced to return to the same dungeon and redo the parts you did before. Way to ruin the pacing and sap the fun out of the game. The ship travel is far too slow and the inability to save in the middle of a dungeon is crippling for a portable game. This game probably would have had some potential if it hadn't shot itself in the foot. Expand
  9. PhilG
    Mar 21, 2009
    0
    The worst LoZ game yet. Awful graphics and art style, terrible controls (the touch screen is mostly useless), lame story and characters...a poor recap of Wind Waker is all that drops you into the action and leaves you there to struggle with the poorly thought out touch screen controls. For further complaints, check out Zero Punctuation's review. Those were my main ones though.
  10. ZvenA
    Sep 4, 2009
    3
    Boring + terrible in a game, wish they would have kept it to the old school style.
  11. Anonymous
    Jan 3, 2010
    2
    Boring movement throughout the world map, dungeons that a toddler would solve easily, gimmicky control failure, and going through the same dungeon a gazillion times? This the Zelda game you'll wish you DIDN'T buy.
  12. Mar 16, 2016
    4
    This game is repetitive, very very very repetitive. Every time you go into a dungeon you have to go back and go through the exact same temple of the ocean king again. It never changes, ever, they don't introduce new or interesting mechanics on levels you've already been to.

    Its just the same thing, over, and over, and over again with forced stealth mechanics and a timer and it
    This game is repetitive, very very very repetitive. Every time you go into a dungeon you have to go back and go through the exact same temple of the ocean king again. It never changes, ever, they don't introduce new or interesting mechanics on levels you've already been to.

    Its just the same thing, over, and over, and over again with forced stealth mechanics and a timer and it completely sucks any enjoyment out of the game for me.
    Expand
  13. Feb 20, 2017
    3
    This game is the worst Zelda game ever made. The touchscreen controls are terrible and unlike in the Windwaker, sailing is boring as hell. The Phantom Hourglass is one of the most annoying items in the Zelda franchise, and yet the game is named after it. Most of the game is boring backtracking, while I believe backtracking in Skyward Sword was amazing, in Phantom Hourglass it just made me suffer.
  14. Mar 28, 2017
    0
    Maybe for a DS game, it's okay, but otherwise this game is awful. The touch screen controls make me roll into enemies when I wanted to hit them with my sword! ITS SO FRUSTRATING! Freaking garbage graphics don't help the game either. It's pretty short and the soundtrack made me want to commit suicide, almost. AND THAT STUPID PHANTOM HOURGLASS WHICH GIVES YOU A TIME LIMIT! Do yourself aMaybe for a DS game, it's okay, but otherwise this game is awful. The touch screen controls make me roll into enemies when I wanted to hit them with my sword! ITS SO FRUSTRATING! Freaking garbage graphics don't help the game either. It's pretty short and the soundtrack made me want to commit suicide, almost. AND THAT STUPID PHANTOM HOURGLASS WHICH GIVES YOU A TIME LIMIT! Do yourself a favour and don't play this game! At least spirit tracks had some fun dungeons... Expand

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed DS Game of 2007
#1 Most Shared DS Game of 2007
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. Nintendo Gamer
    95
    20 of the finest gaming hours of the year. [Dec 2007, p.42]
  3. Games Master UK
    94
    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]