Universal acclaim - based on 57 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 57
  2. Negative: 0 out of 57
Buy On
  1. There are many excellent games on the DS but few masterpieces. This one, though, is a masterpiece. And worth every penny you'll pay for it. [JPN Import]
  2. 100
    Easy and approachable enough for the DS' vast install base of casual users but rewarding and challenging enough to satisfy the hardest of the hardcore Zelda fans. Somehow, magically, it succeeds on both counts. Phantom Hourglass isn't perfect, but it's one of the best experiences, casual or hardcore, available in gaming today.
  3. If there's an imaginative and genuinely fun way to use the touch-screen this game finds it and exploits it to the fullest.
  4. 100
    It’s not often that a game comes about to justify the purchase, or even the existence of a particular console, but with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Nintendo has delivered a game that every DS owner should experience.
  5. Nintendo again shows that it's the master of its own hardware with another sublime entry in the Zelda lineage. If you own a DS then this is an utterly essential purchase - it really is that simple.
  6. It is groundbreaking in every sense of the word, and successfully bridges that gap between the hardcore and the casual. A feat that is in no way easy.
  7. For many gamers, this is the Zelda title they've been waiting for on the DS. Even amidst high expectations, Phantom Hourglass passes with flying colors.
  8. Nintendo Gamer
    20 of the finest gaming hours of the year. [Dec 2007, p.42]
  9. It may not live up to the lofty standards recently displayed in "Twilight Princess", but this adventure is worthy of Zelda canon, and still has enough great stuff going for it to be considered one of the year's best adventures. [Oct 2007, p.126]
  10. 95
    All in all, Phantom Hourglass is a successful sequel that improves on everything that its predecessor did right. [Nov 2007, p.92]
  11. Nintendo Power
    Just know that it's the same Zelda you've always known and loved, and that's a good thing. [Nov 2007, p.98]
  12. 95
    Phantom Hourglass is still a solid title that fans have expected for a long time, and it does a great job to not only please the fans, but welcome newcomers who want to immerse themselves in this great adventure.
  13. It's not just the best DS game I've ever played, but it's also one of the best games I've ever played, period.
  14. Phantom Hourglass is the perfect adventure, accessible to all ages from the novice adventure to the hardcore Zelda fan.
  15. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    The best and most complete portable adventure ever. Even if you’re not a fan of the series, you should feel compelled to play it and recognize it as a masterpiece. [Nov 2007]
  16. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    Everything you could ever want from a Zelda game and more. [Nov 2007, p.80]
  17. We stand before one of the best games for Nintendo DS, evidence that this isn’t just a platform for mini-games.
  18. Games Master UK
    It's a game that should be seen from start to finish, if only to witness some of the finest level and puzzle concoctions ever to grace a Zelda game and, without question, the finest single-player experience to grace the DS. [JPN Import; Sept 2007, p.68] Hourglass drips quality and innovation, no DS owner should be without it. [Dec 2007, p.62]
  19. Much like Gears and Halo for the 360, or Metroid Prime 3 and Twilight Princess for the Wii, Phantom Hourglass should be "the" game every DS owner has in their collection.
  20. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass pushes the envelope when it comes to taking advantage of every feature on the DS, and while many thought it would just turn out to be just another gimmick, Nintendo has once again proved them wrong and at the same time seems to have expanded the audience.
  21. It’s a spectacular blend of touch-screen combat, brilliant puzzles, and Wind Waker beauty. A can’t-miss adventure – one of Nintendo’s finest, and one of the year’s best.
  22. Another satisfying title, The Phantom Hourglass is sure to please anyone who enjoys a Zelda adventure.
  23. 92
    Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was a fun game. On top of that, it was creative and used the DS in ways that really showed off the potential of the system.
  24. A great-looking game, it uses the DS better than any other title I’ve ever seen, and most importantly, it’s fun to play.
  25. 91
    Not only does it raise the stature of the handheld console in the eyes of many gamers, but it also brings Link and his related protagonists back to a much wider audience. It brings together Nintendo's two great successes of recent decades: compelling hardcore gaming and casual play on the go.
  26. Edge Magazine
    It is an instinctive, ingenious joy to play for every minute, and it sets a new gold standard for game interface design on any platform. [Sept 2007, p.86]
  27. games(TM)
    Phantom Hourglass launches from into the DS’s feature list like the past is over and out, moving from one new technology-application marriage to another. [Sept 2007, p.106]
  28. 90
    While it may be more casual than we'd like, it's captivating, entertaining, and a true adventure worthy of the Zelda name. It's different, but it's still the real deal.
  29. Phantom Hourglass wraps the standard Zelda formula in an innovative and fun control scheme that gives new life to several of the series' age-old concepts.
  30. Nintendo has once again done this series justice and it should make any level of gamer, from casual players to veterans of the series, satisfied that they purchased this title.
  31. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a phenomenal Zelda game, pure and simple. The creative minds at Nintendo have managed to take classic gameplay and infuse it with all of the Nintendo DS’ unique capabilities to create an adventure for Link unlike any before.
  32. An invigorating blend of old and new, classic puzzle-based adventuring spliced with a user-friendly, touch-screen interface, and finally, a sparkling re-invention to a formula that has been mostly untouched ever since Shigeru Miyamoto’s original recipe came to light twenty long years ago.
  33. 90
    One of the finest portable adventures ever created, and yet another high point for one of gaming's greatest franchises.
  34. Bringing the classic Zelda experience to the DS with a range of creative touches, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is an overwhelming success for the format. It may not have the sheer weight of the likes of Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess, but it is nonetheless geared suitably for a stylish and entertaining handheld experience.
  35. AceGamez
    Arguably the DS' greatest title so far.
  36. I can't see how you won't be wholly satisfied by PH, whether you're a hardened Zelda fan or a newcomer to the series, or even games in general. Yes it's a tad short, and yes it's full of recognisable Zelda moments, but that doesn't stop it from being a fun, refined gem of an adventure game.
  37. Pelit (Finland)
    A great example of how to use the special abilities of the DS cleverly and how to make a familiar series feel fresh. The only gripe in the game is the backtracking that is required quite often. [Nov 2007]
  38. Phantom Hourglass won't disappoint fans. It has all of the core elements that has made the Zelda series so popular, while also breathing new life into it by introducing intuitive touch screen controls.
  39. It's just nearly-perfected Zelda gameplay. If you're looking for something more than just a new way to play Zelda, as in, something different in terms of how Zelda plays, then you're barking up the wrong tree.
  40. The game is well-suited for casual gamers, but is definitely reminiscent of the classic Zeldas of old.
  41. As with many Zelda titles, the game isn't to replayable and sadly Phantom Hourglass is a fairly short adventure. That being said, it is a fantastic example of classic 2D Zelda gameplay placed in a 3D world.
  42. Overall, Phantom Hourglass is a pretty good game. While the controls do prove to be an issue, it succeeds in other areas, and does so with flair.
  43. The quickie dungeons and throttled exploration are outright disappointing, but when held up against the rest of the DS library, it’s an impressive game. But it’s just a good Zelda.
  44. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    By all rights, a "Zelda" game controlled entirely by stylus should be a disaster, but somehow Nintendo has performed a miracle. [Nov 2007, p.114]
  45. 86
    Phantom Hourglass not only capitalizes on the potential of a Zelda game, it taps into the oft neglected talents of the DS, from great graphics, to touch controls, to the casual appeal of the handheld.
  46. Play Magazine
    Phantom Hourglass is absolutely worth playing and is certainly one of the better games in the DS library, but its quest is one of the less memorable entries in the Zelda cannon. [Oct 2007, p.96]
  47. Sure, it's a rehash of every Zelda game, but similar to all those cookie-cutter James Bond films, we quickly devoured it.
  48. 80
    The biggest problem, if it can be called one, with Phantom Hourglass is that it's too beholden to what's come before it. Innovation arrives in tiny steps, touch screen controls be damned.
  49. 80
    Whether it’s making notes on the map screen using the stylus and yelling into the mic to expose the weakness of a sound-sensitive enemy or drawing symbols on doors, the Phantom Hourglass is a great way to show the kinds of things that the DS can do.
  50. 80
    The real reason to get Phantom Hourglass is for its charming, DS-centric high-seas adventure.
  51. 80
    What makes a Zelda game Zelda? Whatever that might be, this game’s got it. Chalk up another success for a classic franchise, and another must-have for just about anyone that owns a Nintendo DS.
  52. It may not have the epic feel of its big console cousins, but the DS manages to create a Zelda experience that is truly unique.
  53. Phantom Hourglass absorbed me and ate my time more so than the Wii Zelda has done. Maybe it’s because it can sit in my bag calling to me, tempting me to do just one more thing. More likely, it’s because Phantom Hourglass is uncluttered, pure and wonderful Zelda gaming at its best.
  54. The dungeons would actually be perfectly fun without the timed gimmick. They’re all fun to go through once, but none of them are fun enough to go through 20 times. Hourglass is so good for the most part that I still enjoyed the game, but the time I spent racing through dungeons removed all thoughts of its being perfect.
  55. It becomes difficult to fully enjoy Phantom Hourglass if you are a Zelda vet. The lack of even an option for D-pad control tells me that Nintendo did not have their Zelda fan base in mind when they were creating Phantom Hourglass. And that’s okay, I guess. It’s still a decent game, but it’s also a game apart from the rest of the series. It just feels different, and I think it demonstrates that Nintendo is reluctant to sail into the murky waters beyond Wind Waker.
  56. 60
    But Zelda: Phantom Hourglass goes the opposite extreme, and turns sailing into a boring and utterly joyless exercise in line drawing. Basically, instead of controlling the ship directly, you'll merely draw your route on the touchscreen and watch your ship travel to that destination.

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed DS Game of 2007
#1 Most Shared DS Game of 2007
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 508 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 43 out of 508
  1. Oct 21, 2012
    The only member of the franchise I can't stand. The gameplay itself works fine, being controlled entirely on the touch screen except whenThe only member of the franchise I can't stand. The gameplay itself works fine, being controlled entirely on the touch screen except when using items. Everything else annoys me, though. The over world is the worst in the franchise, the puzzles were pathetically easy, the music sucks, the Temple of the Ocean King got annoying really fast, and the plot felt like an excuse to play the game. Probably what annoys me the most, though, is how, while it has good replay value, I have no real incentive to play it. Other Zelda games that I've already experienced gave me a feeling of adventure when I replay them like Majora's Mask or Wind Waker. This one just bores me. In conclusion, it's a functional game, but falls flat just about everywhere else. Full Review »
  2. Nov 9, 2011
    When I look at "The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass", im sad of how they could have done better with it. It had great originality, butWhen I look at "The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass", im sad of how they could have done better with it. It had great originality, but failed in the lacking quality of gameplay and controls. Enjoyable overall...for the moment. Full Review »
  3. Crazyqazqaz
    Oct 27, 2008
    Zelda games are famous for having incredibly long story lines, mind boggling puzzles, scores of mini-quests and the notorious Water Temples Zelda games are famous for having incredibly long story lines, mind boggling puzzles, scores of mini-quests and the notorious Water Temples that consume hours of your life and have even been made into a slang (if a bit underused) term for something incredibly difficult. This, though, is a breath of fresh air. The game is lovingly crafted using bright, welcoming colours and a story line that manages to be genuinely funny while being brilliantly unpredicable. The control scheme is fabulous, I really can't see what people have been complaining about. It isn't overly difficult but not a total breeze either. It will stump you at times, but that is nothing that a little creative thought and a small amount of thinking outside the box won't solve. A brilliant little game, can't praise it enough! Full Review »