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Generally favorable reviews- based on 153 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 153

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  1. Jun 9, 2011
    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
    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. Oct 21, 2012
    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
  4. Oct 15, 2011
    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%
  5. Feb 3, 2013
    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
  6. May 20, 2012
    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
  7. Nov 5, 2011
    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)
  8. Aug 23, 2012
    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.
  9. Mar 14, 2013
    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.

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.