The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks DS

Metascore
87

Generally favorable reviews - based on 75 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 75
  2. Negative: 0 out of 75
Buy On
  1. Without question a solid game experience, but you still can't wash off that feeling of the Zelda-franchise getting a little exploited here. As a direct sequel to Phantom Hourglass it does it's job good, but maybe too good since it's almost a carbon-copy of the previous game. The railroads are a new addition of course, and the time-limit is gone, but in all other aspects this is the same game more or less.
  2. Spirit Tracks is the weakest title in the series. It isn't a bad game, but it symbolizes a need to retire Link before his career is tarnished.
  3. 70
    Aside from the travel issue, Spirit Tracks is, in every way, a better game than Phantom Hourglass. Sadly, the travel gets so frustrating later in the game that it really drags the whole thing down.
  4. Maybe it's indicative of Nintendo's current business model; making family friendly games that are simple, and won't rock the boat. Yes, they had a winner with Phantom Hourglass, but Spirit Tracks reeks of complacency.
  5. But like the train you conduct, much of Spirit Tracks feels rigidly stuck on rails.
  6. Your 15th trip through the barren Hyrule countryside sums up not just dodging trains in Spirit Tracks, but basically the entirety of Spirit Tracks.

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed DS Game of 2009
#15 Most Shared DS Game of 2009
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 215 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 53
  2. Negative: 4 out of 53
  1. Jun 9, 2011
    9
    Huge improvement over Phantom Hourglass. Improved DS Stylus control, better story - Princess Zelda is the best companion you will ever have inHuge improvement over Phantom Hourglass. Improved DS Stylus control, better story - Princess Zelda is the best companion you will ever have in a Zelda game and is actually funnier, difficulty is a bit more balanced but just not there yet (Nintendo should stop catering for casual gamers on difficulty, it's like they might cry if they keep dying or can't do it and this was a huge setback for Phantom Hourglass. A challenge would actually benefit them) and a more reasonable handheld length. Though the train travel is actually more tedious than the sailing in Windwaker and Phantom Hourglass, it's actually nice to travel on something new in a Zelda game. Full Review »
  2. Oct 21, 2012
    10
    I hated Phantom Hourglass. The over world sucked, the music was bland, the puzzles were insultingly easy, and the plot was an excuse. So whyI hated Phantom Hourglass. The over world sucked, the music was bland, the puzzles were insultingly easy, and the plot was an excuse. So why does this game get a perfect ten from me? Because it did just about everything right. Admittedly the over world wasn't as good as in the 3D Zelda games, but it's still a vast improvement. The music offers some of the best tracks in the entire franchise, such as the Sacred Duet and the Overworld theme. The puzzles were easily the best out of any Zelda game, making it a bit more of a puzzle game than an action-adventure title. Finally, the plot was probably the best in the series, involving many great characters with a lot of life to them(Especially Zelda and Byrne). This game is different than other Zelda games, but as we established with Majora's Mask and Skyward Sword, different doesn't mean bad. Full Review »
  3. Aug 13, 2012
    3
    I don't know how they did it, but they managed to screw up a Zelda game, and royally at that. I will admit many of the Zelda series can beI don't know how they did it, but they managed to screw up a Zelda game, and royally at that. I will admit many of the Zelda series can be rather samey, given how many of them are out there, but they are usually enjoyable none the less. This addition is not. It is terrible, and not worth your time or money.
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    Where to begin? Basically, if you take everything you love about the Zelda series, and flush it down the toilet, and you will obtain the Spirit Tracks. Overworld exploration, a staple of the series, has been eliminated entirely, replaced with the Spirit Tracks and a train the runs on them. Essential you ride a train between several points on a map, each representing a location you can visit in the game. Riding the train essentially boils down to selecting the correct direction when you reach various intersections, and just waiting otherwise. Poor choices at intersections essentially amount to more waiting. Simply put, the trains do little more than waste time whenever you want to transition between maps, and are a horrible substitute for the overworld map found in most installments.
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    Next is the controls. Crippled is the only way to describe them. Rather than use the D-Pad for movement and the buttons for the sword and items, the stylus is used both to move link and to attack enemies. Both actions are carried out by clicking on the appropriate portion of the screen. Accidentally click just to the side of a monster, a you will walk face first into them rather than strike them with the sword. It only gets worse with items. One of the first you get fires tornadoes. You first have to select it with the stylus, then select the direction with the stylus, and then blow on the microphone to fire the thing. Its awkward as hell to operate, you can't move the character while doing so, and background vibrations, such as the motion of the car, can cause the thing to unintentionally fire. With a sensible control scheme, just about anyone would find much of this game a cake walk. Much of the difficult in playing this game arises from the terrible control scheme, not the puzzles or challenges. These controls wouldn't even be acceptable on a indie title written in somebodies garage, the fact that they made it into a Zelda game is inexcusable.
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    I found the dungeons and puzzles to be dull and uninspiring. The aesthetics are terrible. The dungeons all appear rather similar, and exploring them gets boring rather quickly. The puzzles simply are not interesting. The unique dungeon delving mechanic in Spirit Tracks involves an AI companion that you give pathing instruction to. The companion move rather slowly, so a lot of time will be spent just waiting for the AI to move around. The companion probably doesn't waist as much time as the bloody trains, but its still more unnecessary waiting.
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    The short of it is that you have a game with crippled controls, two mechanics that just waist the players time, and nothing to really see or do that justified putting up with these problems. You really are not missing anything by skipping this installment. Don't trust the positive reviews, too many people are willing to give any installment in this series a past. Their are far better uses for your entertainment budget.
    Full Review »