User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 163 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 163

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  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 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. Expand
  2. Oct 10, 2010
    10
    Phantom Hourglass was, definetely, one of the worst Zelda titles, and yet, it was fun. Spirit Tracks is better in pretty much every way it could be. The little problem we had with using the touchscreen were fixed, like the rolling attack. The soundtrack is, possibly, one of the best in the Zelda series. Spirit Tracks uses prety much everything the DS has to offer. The microfone, the touchscreen. The buttons on the other hand... Spirit Tracks is definetely worthy of the "Zelda" title. It starts with easy dungeons, but by the end, you'll find yourself stuck for several times. The biggest problem in Phantom Hourglass, the central dungeon, is still here, but differently from the Temple of the Ocean King, the Tower of Spirits will never force you to go through floors you have already visited, instead, it will take you to differente challenges. It's a great Zelda to have in your pocket. The game is a tad bit short, lasting about 25/30 hours of gameplay. IF you are going through all the sidequests, it's a LOT longer, and for people who wants some real challenge, there is the Dark Ore Quest. Overall, Spirit Tracjs is one of the most inspired Zeldas out there, it might not be the best one, but it is one that is worth it. Expand
  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 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.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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.
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  4. 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 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. Expand
  5. Oct 15, 2011
    10
    not as good as ph but still awesome, so buy asap, and enjoy the amazing story, train rides, and ending... and just overall, like zelda: you'll need to... 92%
  6. sLm
    Jul 8, 2012
    8
    Though it may feel a bit similar to Phantom Hourglass, it's a good game, and they fixed many issues present in the previous game. For example, now you don't have to repeat the last Temple all over again, and there's no countdown, which is very very good in my opinion, it let's you enjoy the dungeons relaxed and without hurry. Also, you can control Zelda, who can possess special soldiers with cool abilities. Regarding dungeons, we get a couple new items very cool, like the sand lifter and the whip (I love this xd), as well as old ones like the boomerang and arrows. Bombs looks not to be needed to go ahead in the game, but you can take them too. Dungeons start easy, but in the mid-end game they become truly challenging, which may be a let down at first, but after you discover how to solve the difficult puzzles, it feels more rewarded than solving easy ones, which is very good. The hardest part of the game was the train pursuit almost at the end of the game, where you must destroy all the mad trains (it's really hard, they change their direction any time and pursuit you lol, you have to memorize their tracks to get them or you are dead). I recommend saving game after beating that xD. So, after some really frustrating moments in which I literally went mad at the game haha, I think it was worth playing it, because it's very rewarding in the end, due to it's difficulty. :) Expand
  7. Feb 3, 2013
    9
    I guess Nintendo decided to carry on the easy, casual gameplay they brought in with Phantom Hourglass, because, this is quite frankly, one of the easier titles in the series. Nevertheless, Spirit Tracks provides the same fun, innovative touch-screen gameplay as it's predecessor and offers a smooth, progressive storyline. The action is not something to get worked about. Although, some of the boss battles can be quite challenging at times. The game also offers some challenging dungeons (though few) and is a great DS title to add to your collection. It is a must-buy for DS owners and fans of all Zelda games. Expand
  8. Apr 10, 2013
    3
    I love The Legend Of Zelda but this game should never have been released. The train-travel sections are mind-numbingly boring and feel as if they're included just to pad the game out, while the dungeons are short and overly simple. For a good hand-held Zelda game, try Phantom Hourglass, or the 3D remake of Ocarina Of Time. Spirit Tracks is a complete embarrassment.
  9. LBC
    Sep 9, 2010
    5
    While Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks certainly delivers the high-caliber dungeons and storyline that Zelda fans have come to expect, it falters in a big way. By adding the Train game-mechanic, Nintendo has essentially flushed out over world exploration, which is in my opinion one of the defining characteristics of the Zelda franchise. I refuse to believe that Nintendo couldn't find a way to keep exploration in the game and incorporate the Train at the same time. I also found that this game is noticeably easier than Phantom Hourglass. Hardcore Zelda fans will be pleased, but the rest of us on the fringe will find better gaming experiences elsewhere. Expand
  10. May 20, 2012
    10
    I was truly blown away with Spirit Tracks, it's a phenomenal game and I honestly can't bring myself to give it anything less then a 10/10, It's truly a masterpiece. The story and characters a fantastic, and provide some truly emotional and laugh out loud moments, the gameplay is fantastic featuring solid combat backed by great controls (although I probably would have preferred a more traditional control scheme, this one works very well) and some really complex puzzles that will have you using every ounce of brain power you've got. The graphics look fantastically adorable, but don't let it's cuteness fool you this is every bit a hardcore gamers game(that also can be enjoyed by more casual gamers), and the soundtrack is outstanding and one of the best I've heard in a video game. And the bosses are epic most of them take up both screens and require skill along with quick thinking and reflexes, and the new items are great and the inventory system is fantastic. the game also packs a lot of content in the form of side quests and treasure hunting, the treasure hunting makes excellent use of the ability to write notes and mark locations on the map and kinda gives it a Indiana Jones feel, well that and the whip XD. I'm sure you've heard the complaints about the train by now and I'm just gong to give my opinion, I liked it, I thought it was a pretty sweet addition especially when you use it for combat (which controls wonderfully by the way). I highly recommend this game it's truly a amazingly fun experience and that's why I give it a 10 out of 10. Expand
  11. Apr 12, 2012
    8
    Spirit Tracks is an enjoyable and suitable epic Zelda adventure. The world is sprawling and the unique DS features (touch controls, microphone) are used in imaginative ways and get the most of the handheld. The two primary concepts of ST are the trains used to navigate the world and having Zelda as a very useful companion. These are both great but are also responsible for the game's main flaws. As fun as the train mechanics are, they are used to such an extent that it becomes a bit tiresome and feels like padding. As for Zelda, her AI can be downright embarrassing at times. These aren't huge grievances but they do detract from the overall experience. Overall, the good far outweighs the bad in Spirit Tracks and the high quality of the LoZ series is kept intact. Expand
  12. Jul 25, 2011
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. For sure the worst Zelda game to date. It is a great game in every aspect except for two:
    1.story
    2.travel

    What makes this game sad is that there is no story, it is a big joke. Train people and an evil leprechaun hardly stand up well in my mind. It felt more like a bit from mario, silly goofy, not at all zelda.

    The travel was the worst. I actually spent half an hour because I made the wrong turn on a train track a couple times. Unlike horse travel or boat travel, if you make a wrong turn, you can't turn around. Imagine hyrule field, now imagine instead of going back 2 feet, you walk around the entire field before going inside. Its brutally unfair to such minor mistakes, especially when you try to free cam to fight off enemies or get a good look at the next dungeon. By far the most annoying thing to date, sadly the shortcuts aren't worth the time spent to unlock them.

    However, the game does provide the same fun dungeons we have come to see, and it is without fail. When majora's mask followed up on ocarina of time, it was a more difficult game, but it worked, this game just doesn't.

    I am on the fence, if you crave zelda and puzzles to solve, get it, it will be worth it. However leave it if you are just looking for the good ones.
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  13. Apr 12, 2012
    8
    The game play improved, the story is decent, but the temples are too short, and when the game is too easy, it is really easy, but when it is hard, it's extremely hard, some puzzles don't give you a clue to solve, so you will get stressed, but I must admit that it's funny and very cute. You only need some patience to finish it. Not the best Zelda's game.
  14. Nov 5, 2011
    10
    Spirit Tracks does everything Phantom Hourglass did and more. Although the same basic formula of a central dungeon with stealth that must be revisited, many things have changed. The most iconic feature of Spirit Tracks is the Train, you use this to travel the realms in order to reach destinations such as temples and towns. This is quite similar to the boat, you have a cannon, you can customise each part of the train etc. However, there are many improvements from the boat, although the tracks are pre-made, there are many routes you can take, this makes drawing your path less awkward and enables your route to be changed easier once you have already started moving; it also allows for more challenging gameplay as you must dodge the Phantom Trains on the track (which feels slightly similar to Pacman). As well as this, your movement is more advanced, you have the ability to control the speed of the train allowing more strategic movement than Phantom Hourglass's boats allows. Personally, I preferred the train a lot more than the boat and the music complementing how fast your train is going really made the train rides fun and engaging. The train journeys can get repetitive, but the more you progress through the game, the more warp points you'll unlock and the more tracks you'll recover, meaning getting from one place to another gets quicker and quicker with every quest you complete.

    The next new feature is the Spirit Flute, fans of musical instruments that almost always appear in Zelda titles will be a fan of this. It works the same as the Ocarina, only it combines touch screen and blowing to play it. There are many songs, each with different effects, which will come as familiar to anyone who has played Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask or Wind Waker. The touch and blow combo can make some of the songs a little challenging, especially the sequences where you have to blow with precise timing, which can be very frustrating. Apart from that, the flute is as worthy an instrument as the Ocarina.

    The central dungeon this time is very similar to the Temple of the Ocean King; there are phantoms patrolling the area which you must sneak by, whilst solving puzzles. However, there are many changes; the time limit is removed, this makes it easier in some sense, but allows the puzzles to become more complex (which nearer the end become very challenging). You no longer have to repeat floors which you have already done multiple times, in Phantom Hourglass the temple became annoying as you could only start on the 1st floor or the 4th, which made the dungeon quite repetitive, Spirit Tracks fixes this. The main unique feature of the Spirit Tower is that Zelda is able to possess a Phantom after they have been struck by Link's tear-infused sword. This allows many unique abilities, such as a Phantom which feels very similar to playing as a Goron in Majora's Mask, and a Phantom which can teleport to seekers. This feature also allows puzzles to become more complex, more unique and makes the tower feel a lot different to the Temple of the Ocean king. In dungeons, there are many new tools and mechanics to go alongside these. Some very unique tools that have never been in Zelda games before, as well as some of the most epic and most fun bosses in the series. There are also tons of extras, loads of mini-games, such as the rabbit rescue which keeps the train journeys more enjoyable as you'll be searching for rabbits whilst you travel to your next destination. Many side-quests which use the trains mechanics, such as transporting resources from one location to another, making sure you aren't attacked or your train doesn't turn too fast and lose some of the cargo. As well as many classic mini-games such as target shooting and agility-based races which take place on foot.

    The soundtrack is also one of the best in the series, from the wonderful overworld theme which changes slightly based on the speed of the train, to the epicness of the final boss theme. It really does sound beautiful.

    In conclusion, there are many features which feel similar to Phantom Hourglass, and a few issues such as some frustrating flute playing and train journeys which might become boring (although they didn't for me). But there is a lot of fun to be had with this game and many aspects of the game have improved from Phantom Hourglass, as well as this there are tons of new unique features such as Zelda's ability to possess Phantoms. Spirit Tracks has changed enough and added new unique features to feel fresh and exciting, it isn't perfect, but it's certainly worthy of a place in the Zelda series.

    9.5/10 (rounded up to 10 for Metacritic)
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  15. Nov 20, 2011
    8
    Well this game didn't really have much of a Zelda feel to it, although it was okay. I didn't like how some parts needed the microphone and then it didn't respond properly. Some temples were really easy while others were really hard. Also the train rides were very boring and bland. Even when you want to play around at an area, it got boring sometimes because the arsenal was very small. But all in all, this was a good game. Expand
  16. Jan 20, 2012
    7
    A nice game, with controls and visuals that suit the DS well. The boring part about it though is that is too easy, suppose its target audience is kids around 7-8 years old, because nearly every puzzle has an obvious solution. Also, the story is a joke (unless you are about 7-8 years old or younger...).
  17. Aug 23, 2012
    9
    Large improvements from Phantom Hourglass, enjoyed it through the whole game (100%).
    Minor setback was the pan flute, it's not my ideal instrument and playing next to a complete stranger makes it awkward to play.
  18. Aug 30, 2012
    3
    I have no clue whatsoever why everyone seems to not hate this game, never mind actually LIKE it. It just about makes it to 'playable', but you will NOT enjoy playing it. The controls are annoying (Couldn't they have just made it possible to use the D-Pad?), paticularly when you have to blow on the microphone. It provides limited levels of entertainment for a few hours. Then it suffers from the same affliction to plague the whole Zelda series. Bottlenecks. You're in a dungeon. It's mildly enjoyable despite the fact you're fumbling a bit with the awkward control scheme. Then you come to a room full of random objects. It gives you no clue as to how to proceed. You know that due to the way the series works if you do some random sequence of things the door will open. That's it. It gives you no clue as to what this sequence of things might be. If you can figure it out by pure chance then you have some awkward combat. Repeat ad infnitum. I hate this game. Expand
  19. Mar 14, 2013
    9
    When Phantom Hourglass was released, I was impressed: they seemed to have envisioned the perfect DS Zelda game. It made good use of pretty much every DS feature, from the touchscreen (you actually control Link's moves and sword attacks with the stylus) to stuff like the microphone (used to blow into one of the weapons and shout).

    Enter Spirit Tracks, and it seems Nintendo has made the
    old adage "if it itsn't broken, don't fix it" ring truer than ever. Everything I loved about Phantom Hourglass is back, along with some new features. The game succeeds by pretty much every metric: charming cell-shaded graphics, dynamic and fun controls (which have been considerably improved to give the touchscreen more sensibility), funny characterization, amazing sound.

    The train setting is even more fleshed-out than the seas of Phantom Hourglass, and just as endearing. Side quests should give you a lot of extra stuff to do in game (even though some of them, like the train customization, is a bit too tedious to really get going). Overall, Spirit Tracks is a game that does exactly what it should and almost never disappoints.
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  20. Jan 12, 2014
    8
    A wonderful addition to the DS and LoZ library of games. The touch control similar to that of Phantom Hourglass is greatly designed, although I would've preferred D-Pad moving...It does take all the capabilities of the ds and uses them well. Although some puzzles and the story may be a bit dumbed down, it's definitely a fun game that's worth your cash! The multiplayer is addicting as well....and the ability to have single card download play is a great addition to this game

    Gameplay: 9/10
    Story: 8/10
    Music: 8/10
    Presentation: 8.5/10
    Length: 8/10
    Overall: 8/10
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  21. Sep 2, 2013
    8
    Spirit Tracks is the standard zelda- dungeon structure, items, bosses, puzzles. Though it doesn't innovate as much as it should, it's a solid adventure.
    Link must, as usual, take on some terrible evil, rescue someone, and save the land of Hyrule. To do this, he must traverse dungeons, fight enemies, solve puzzles, and explore Hyrule. This is the ordinary zelda we have known for years.
    I
    won't talk about the structure of a zelda game, or any of that, because you know it already. Instead, the differences.
    The graphics are good but not great- scenery is especially flat, but dungeons look good. The music is often great, woth a lovely overworld theme, though I wasn't keen on the dungeon music.
    Spirit Tracks has an unusual control scheme ehich using the stylus for everything, like Phantom Hourglass. While this sounds cumbersome, in reality it opens up new possibilities. It's used in a variety of clever ways, from drawing a path for you to throw the boomerang to control where Link (or Zelda) goes. And Spirit Tracks deserves an award for being the first ever game to make blowing into a microphone fun. One item, the whirlwind, which you obtain early in the storyline, lets you create a gust of wind. You do this by blowing.
    Another innovation is one I didn't enjoy: the train driving. Link has explored before by horse, by boat, on foot, by bird... but now he commands a train. The touch screen is used well for this, but when on the rails, there is little to do, and in the end you're just sitting there waiting for the train to reach its destination. There are other features brought in to try to make it more interesting, like enemies, but all you do to kill them is to shoot with cannons, an incredibly boring experience. Worse, if they hit you enough, you'll die, forcing you to make the entire journey again.
    Thankfully for Spirit Tracks, there are very many stations and places, so when advancing through the storyline, you'll rarely be driving for a very long time in one go. There are many fiendish overworld puzzles, which are excellently presented. Sometimes I however found myself hating those tedious fetch quests.
    Spirit Tracks also has a 'tower of spirits', which plays a vital part in the storyline. You'll progress through it in between dungeons, but it's like a giant dungeon, with multiple sections, in itself. I found it a little uninspired despite introducing an interesting new mechanic.
    Spirit tracks' dungeon gameplay is thankfully as good as ever- puzzles are inventive and challenging, and you'll find a surprisingly high amount of mini-bosses, something which I love. The dungeon bosses are very cleverly constructed too. And don't be put off by the fact there are only five dungeons, as Spirit Tracks has a lot more content in between each dungeon than other zeldas, resulting in 30-40 hour experience. There are also plenty of side quests to complete, which could add on over twenty extra hours, too.
    Spirit Tracks is a Zelda game, through and through. While this means it plays it a little too safe, it also means you're guaranteed a great time. There's even a multiplayer battle mode that sees you fighting to collect more gems than your opponents. It's crazy, and, surprisingly, hilarious fun with plenty of traps you can activate to bring down your opponent. Expect a lot of fun from that feature.
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  22. Dec 22, 2013
    6
    The worst zelda game to date the story is way more bland than size matters gameplay is so watered down and the music is super bland don't get me wrong this is a fairly average game but it is not what I expected in a zelda game.
  23. Jun 27, 2014
    9
    Phantom Hourglass was a good game and it was a lot of fun, but it had lots of little problems that irritated a lot of people. Spirit tracks fixed lots of those problems such as the very boring over world, and the train to me just seemed more fun than the boat. It is much more detailed than Phantom hourglass in just about every way. Its main dungeon the tower of spirits is more interesting than the temple of the ocean king because you can control a phantom. It has less dungeons than most zelda games but a lot of side quests some of which are quite fun! I cant think of many things that this game did wrong, i can only think of things that would have made it better. Spirit tracks is one of the best games on the ds and a great entry in the legend of zelda series. Expand
Metascore
87

Generally favorable reviews - based on 75 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 75
  2. Negative: 0 out of 75
  1. Spirit Tracks' aging tricks continue to carry you cack into the narcotic realms of pure ritual, until you're deep in the caverns yet again, holding the magic yellow boomerang once more, and wondering what quirky brilliance it will bring with it this time. [Christmas 2009, p.92]
  2. Not a huge leap forward for the series but a wonderful game nonetheless. Enjoy. [Christmas 2009, p.91]
  3. A superb quest that doesn't rewrite the rules but delivers another engrossing Zelda adventure. If you own a DS, buy it.