User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 181 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 181

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  1. 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.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.
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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.
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  2. 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.
  3. 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 suffersI 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
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.