Generally favorable reviews - based on 75 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 166 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks sets hero Link on a daring new adventure. The game provides players with a new story, more puzzles and even a new mode of transportation. In this game, Link voyages by train, which offers up new possibilities for problem-solving. The game has the same look and feel established in Phantom Hourglass. Link has a valuable new companion. While navigating dungeons, he's accompanied by a Phantom, a hulking suit of armor that responds to his commands. Players can tap the Phantom to take command of him, then draw a line on the touch screen to direct him where to go. The stout Phantom can walk through fire or lava, be used as a platform to carry Link above dangers, or even run interference to block Link from harm. When Link conducts the train, players enjoy a satisfying combination of action and real-time puzzle solving as they determine which track to take and how to best manipulate their speed. When on the train, Link must plot the best route to the end of the line around ever-moving obstacles. While en route, Link might need to fire an onboard cannon at enemies who attack the train or sound the whistle to scare animals off the tracks. Link uses a variety of new items and weapons, including the Whirlwind, which players activate by blowing into the microphone of the Nintendo DS system. As with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, players can draw notes on the in-game maps using the stylus on the touch screen. [Nintendo] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 75
  2. Negative: 0 out of 75
  1. 100
    Zelda fans are going to love this - but the multiplayer mode is a little bit boring.
  2. 93
    The bold lines, simple colours and innocent aesthetic emphasises the idealism of the Zelda series at its finest: this tiny, wide-eyed boy can conquer unimaginable evil, and his stoic determination can achieve more than even omnipotent deities could manage. These games might be perfect for children, but they're as fine an example of gaming as any adult could hope to encounter.
  3. A fun time and very well executed game. If you’re looking for something to play on the road while on vacation, or hiding away from society in a bomb shelter until Christmas blows over, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks makes as good a companion as a Ghost Princess.
  4. A perfectly solid representation of Zelda. The puzzles are not easy, despite the cartoon appearance of the main character, the characters are interesting, the controls work well, and the story is adequate.
  5. Don’t let some minor quibbles prevent you from playing this very enjoyable chapter of the Zelda series as Nintendo effectively brings together several gameplay ideas together to form a great game overall.
  6. 80
    In summation, it looks great, the music is wonderful and no matter how frustrated the player gets with any one puzzle, it's an enjoyable enough experience that they won't want to stop until they've finished it.
  7. Your 15th trip through the barren Hyrule countryside sums up not just dodging trains in Spirit Tracks, but basically the entirety of Spirit Tracks.

See all 75 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 45
  2. Negative: 4 out of 45
  1. 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
  2. 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)
  3. 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% Expand
  4. Apr 12, 2012
    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. Expand
  5. Sep 2, 2013
    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.
  6. Jan 20, 2012
    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...). Collapse
  7. Aug 30, 2012
    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

See all 45 User Reviews

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