User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 364 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 364

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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.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. 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
    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
  3. 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.
  4. ChrisC.
    Oct 7, 2007
    6
    The best handheald Zelda game so far, but also the easiest. Great graphics and storyline is what gave the game a 6. No friendly Zoras was a major surprise, and the Gorons seemed to have deproved from LOZTP. The Goron dungeon was the only I enjoyed, as you were able to play as another character during one room and the boss fight. The gossip stones and tablets basicly gave away how to do The best handheald Zelda game so far, but also the easiest. Great graphics and storyline is what gave the game a 6. No friendly Zoras was a major surprise, and the Gorons seemed to have deproved from LOZTP. The Goron dungeon was the only I enjoyed, as you were able to play as another character during one room and the boss fight. The gossip stones and tablets basicly gave away how to do all puzzles, and redoing the Ocean King Temple 5 times was annoying. If your planning on buying a DS but can't decide on a game choose this, as it introduces all features for the DS. Expand
  5. LouisB.
    Nov 11, 2007
    6
    There are some good moments with the game, such as the same old zelda formula. But the shaved down world, rehash of the same damn Ocean King Temple, and the half ass controls really disappoint. Playing through the game now, and I have to say the controls are lacking. While you can move great, your hand covers the damn screen. Secondly the movement and swinging the sword with any precision There are some good moments with the game, such as the same old zelda formula. But the shaved down world, rehash of the same damn Ocean King Temple, and the half ass controls really disappoint. Playing through the game now, and I have to say the controls are lacking. While you can move great, your hand covers the damn screen. Secondly the movement and swinging the sword with any precision are simply painful. I cannot mention enough there should be options to use the controls or the stylus. Or at the least the ability to use the D-pad for hot swap option. Dumb. The fact that you cannot move and strike independently is simply stupid. The other problems include the damn timed dungeon that you have to backtrack several times throughout the game. Part of the quest is to find more sand for an hourglass so you can go further in the timed dungeon. Who the hell thought that was fun? Also, I do not like screeming into a handheld device unless I am on the phone with customer support - definitely not while playing a game. All in all, if this were not a Zelda game, I would have given it a lower score. The nolstagia of playing that tried and true formula does count for something. However, the gameplay is lacking. Expand
  6. BabyJ.
    Dec 12, 2007
    6
    The games is one of the worst Zelda games I have ever played. The awkward touch controls have made it the first hand held game that I have yelled and screamed at. It has also made me thrown my DS at the floor in frustration for the first time. I thought it would have just been the beginning of the game I was having trouble with, and that the rest of the game would pick up. No it The games is one of the worst Zelda games I have ever played. The awkward touch controls have made it the first hand held game that I have yelled and screamed at. It has also made me thrown my DS at the floor in frustration for the first time. I thought it would have just been the beginning of the game I was having trouble with, and that the rest of the game would pick up. No it didn't. The timed parts of the same dungeon that you have to keep going back to and do the same thing got repetative the first time I had to do it, not knowing that I was going to have to almost repeat it infinitely. This game also has boring characters that I either I hate or don't care about at all. The sailing is the opposite of fun. The multiplayer uses the worst part of the game and it was something I will never play again. Expand
  7. LionelE.
    Oct 16, 2007
    7
    Phantom Hourglass has some very strong aspects. It makes full use of the DS controls in innovative ways (especially the bosses), it manages to create startlingly good graphics with little system power, and it packs a decent amount of game onto a small cartridge. However, it's also quite easy, lacks the typical Zelda side-quest depth and the stylus controls can be a pain for simple Phantom Hourglass has some very strong aspects. It makes full use of the DS controls in innovative ways (especially the bosses), it manages to create startlingly good graphics with little system power, and it packs a decent amount of game onto a small cartridge. However, it's also quite easy, lacks the typical Zelda side-quest depth and the stylus controls can be a pain for simple things like moving or changing items. It also makes the bewildering decision of having users fight through the same dungeon many, many times in the game, slowing it down quite a bit. It's fun and gimmicky, but not as deep as many people suggest. Expand
  8. JenniferM.
    Oct 5, 2007
    7
    It is a good Zelda game, but is dog down by imprecise and forced stylus control. The puzzles are too easy and the dungeon design a bit bland when compared to other Zelda games, even Minish Cap.Graphics are nice but no match to 2D sprites. Hardcore Zelda fans will find the easy dungeons to be a massive disappointment, where as Nintendo fanboys will probably just lap it up.
  9. iTrike
    Oct 5, 2007
    7
    I've enjoyed the Zelda franchise for years and, like many, thought it was a perfect fit for the DS. Coupled with pre-release hyperbole, I was expecting to have the definitive DS experience with this game. Nope. It's a good game, but its simplicity, been-there-done-that familiarity, and the fact that seasoned DS gamers are no longer wowed by stylus-driven gameplay, makes it less I've enjoyed the Zelda franchise for years and, like many, thought it was a perfect fit for the DS. Coupled with pre-release hyperbole, I was expecting to have the definitive DS experience with this game. Nope. It's a good game, but its simplicity, been-there-done-that familiarity, and the fact that seasoned DS gamers are no longer wowed by stylus-driven gameplay, makes it less than stellar. Ultimately, PH is an enjoyable game that doesn Expand
  10. KevinC.
    Nov 4, 2007
    7
    One of the best games for the DS. However, it's a bit too short, easy, and repetitive. The ocean king's temple (the only temple you have to revisit) takes only 15 or so minutes on each run, so it isn't too bad. The sailing was fun for awhile, but got boring after a couple of trips. But hey, it was like that in wind waker, too, and there are tons of cyclones in PH, unlike One of the best games for the DS. However, it's a bit too short, easy, and repetitive. The ocean king's temple (the only temple you have to revisit) takes only 15 or so minutes on each run, so it isn't too bad. The sailing was fun for awhile, but got boring after a couple of trips. But hey, it was like that in wind waker, too, and there are tons of cyclones in PH, unlike wind waker, which greatly shortens the traveling time. Plus, the refreshing new usage of the DS screen takes, at most, a couple of minutes to get used to, and is quite fun to use. However, I would hope to see a better story (PH's story sucked... really bad), longer dungeons (The average dungeon was about... 20 minutes long, first time through), and a LARGE increase in difficulty (Stone tablets and Ciela, your fairy, give you all the information you need for... everything?). I did like the minigames, though, but there weren't enough prizes to keep you entertained (There's only... 16 hearts? And... they don't come in pieces? Only heart containers?) All in all, Phantom Hourglass is a pretty fun and decent game, if you don't mind a couple of minutes of repetition. Expand
  11. Pushkin
    Jan 7, 2008
    7
    Wind Waker is the only Zelda game I have missed out on (skipped out that generation of console), so any references to the storyline or characters from that game are lost on me. However, I still found the storyline weak (being turned to stone = Minish Cap). This was my main complaint with the game. Zelda has always been attractive to me for its characters and plot; this game seemed to lack Wind Waker is the only Zelda game I have missed out on (skipped out that generation of console), so any references to the storyline or characters from that game are lost on me. However, I still found the storyline weak (being turned to stone = Minish Cap). This was my main complaint with the game. Zelda has always been attractive to me for its characters and plot; this game seemed to lack poorly in both. It took me almost an hour to get fully used to the stylus controls (had trouble pulling switches, getting Link to run enough to jump platforms) and I still have trouble remembering to put my selected item away before trying to swipe the sword, but apart from that the controls make good use of the DS's capabilites and is easilly the best game I have that allows me to really USE the DS. I'd still recommend it for buying, but wait until it's on offer, or trade in once you've completed it as there is little else to do once you've completed the main quest. Expand
  12. RickyT.
    Apr 21, 2008
    7
    Best game I have played on the DS so far - manages fairly decent gameplay AND makes use of the touch screen ot great effect, is hard to find a game that manages both. Reading other people's comments make me laugh - some people are complaining that the dungeons are too short whilst others are complaining you can't save halfway through! The DS is a handheld system not a full Best game I have played on the DS so far - manages fairly decent gameplay AND makes use of the touch screen ot great effect, is hard to find a game that manages both. Reading other people's comments make me laugh - some people are complaining that the dungeons are too short whilst others are complaining you can't save halfway through! The DS is a handheld system not a full console - you're not meant to sit and play for hours on end solid, its meant to be something to pick up and play whilst on the train or bus for a short time hence short levels and relatively short game. I'm not a fan of cell shading so for me that is a detraction on the graphics, but for others its a plus. Would have liked more puzzles thrown in rather than 'fetch the clue and we'll tell you the exact answer', I really liked the puzzle in the Ocean Temple to ge the Seel, a few more curve balls like this would have made the game even better Expand
  13. TomC
    Jun 26, 2009
    7
    My main problem with this game is the temple of the ocean king, this very boring dungeon was clearly mad so that it made the game seem longer without having to make any more proper dungeons. So yeah The rest was quite enjoyable, so yeah not a bad game but definitely not as amazing as some people make out.
  14. DrMissile
    Nov 23, 2007
    5
    I certainly can appreciate the appeal of this game. By and large, it is very well crafted both functionally and aesthetically and there are some very fun moments. However, the repetitive design of the Ocean King's Temple is, in my opinion a deal breaker. It is a cynical and egregious ploy to draw out play time, Far far more offensive than the old "change a monster's color and I certainly can appreciate the appeal of this game. By and large, it is very well crafted both functionally and aesthetically and there are some very fun moments. However, the repetitive design of the Ocean King's Temple is, in my opinion a deal breaker. It is a cynical and egregious ploy to draw out play time, Far far more offensive than the old "change a monster's color and name" trick to save on production cost. From the very first time entering the temple until the very end of the game, the core game play is boring drudgery. Painful, dreaded, awful. it's a chore. I would prefer having to watch a 20 minute status bar with a new piece sea chart at the end. That the enemies are invincible and your character is utterly neutered by this fact is bad enough, but having to replay the same levels over and over and over and over and over is, from a game design perspective, utterly pathetic. So, to the team of developers that let this happen. Shame on you. You know its crap, everyone knows it's crap. Go be accountants. Expand
  15. JohnS.
    Dec 25, 2007
    5
    This is easily the worst Zelda game I've ever played. I don't mind the stylus controls, my biggest complaint is the fact that your hand covers most of the screen which is especially annoying while fighting some bosses. The first thing that annoyed me was the bad graphics with ugly character models and drab olive green/brown environments everywhere. The shockingly simplistic This is easily the worst Zelda game I've ever played. I don't mind the stylus controls, my biggest complaint is the fact that your hand covers most of the screen which is especially annoying while fighting some bosses. The first thing that annoyed me was the bad graphics with ugly character models and drab olive green/brown environments everywhere. The shockingly simplistic dungeons and overworld sections and the dreadful timed stealth sections which must be repeated umpteen times eventually made me stop playing. There are some decent parts to the game but for every one I ran into another annoyance such as a certain enemy which turns sailing into a chore later on; even Minish Cap destroys this game in my opinion. I advise everyone to try this game before buying, they might just be as disappointed as I am. Expand
  16. AnneC.
    Nov 24, 2007
    5
    I was really excited about getting this game due to the universally great reviews it got but when I finally bought it and played it, it was a let down. There were several things that annoyed me and even though it had some good things they weren't enough for me.
  17. 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 controlAlthough 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
  18. 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 annoyingAlthough 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
  19. 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 sureDoes 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
  20. 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 thisThis 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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 respawningAwesome 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
  23. 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,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
  24. Sep 25, 2014
    7
    While it's not as great as other Zelda games, "Phantom Hourglass" is still a pretty fun and well-made game. The story was great; I especially liked the characters. They all seemed to have likable personalities. The dungeons were rather interesting as well as how the items were used and manipulated with the touch screen. The biggest problem, however, was the boat. The boat segments feltWhile it's not as great as other Zelda games, "Phantom Hourglass" is still a pretty fun and well-made game. The story was great; I especially liked the characters. They all seemed to have likable personalities. The dungeons were rather interesting as well as how the items were used and manipulated with the touch screen. The biggest problem, however, was the boat. The boat segments felt very linear unlike "Wind Waker"'s free-roaming boat. Expand
  25. Nov 23, 2014
    7
    Phantom Hourglass is all in all a good game. Some of the dungeons are great, but the sailing is boring. As you've probably heard, the Temple Of the ocean king is awful. However, it is a good game to play.
  26. Dec 11, 2014
    5
    Set some time after The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass opens with Tetra and her pirate crew along with Link chasing down a ghost ship claimed to have taken sailors and residents of the local islands. The crew discovers the ship, but when Tetra goes aboard to explore, she disappears. Link attempts to follow her but ends up adrift in the ocean.
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]