The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Not only one of the greatest handheld Zelda experiences you can ask for, but one of the greatest experiences on the Nintendo DS.

By BrunoBRS, Posted 15 Nov 2011

I'll save you some time by saying it right away: if it has Zelda on the title, you know it's great and worth buying (the CD-i never existed!), and Spirit Tracks is among the best in the series. So if that's what you've been wondering, go ahead and buy it. Oh, still want the review, eh? guess there's no way to avoid it then...

Spirit Tracks is a sequel to 2007 title Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Set about 100 years after the original game, you travel around the lands of "New Hyrule" on a train, the main focus of the story, if you haven't guessed already. Turns out, though, the rails people have been using for their trains for so long are actually chains that keeps an evil demon named Malladus from escaping, and those chains are slowly disappearing. It is up to recently graduated train engineer Link to save the day, of course.

The controls are the same from Phantom Hourglass. Everything is controlled with the stylus, and it works great. you hold the stylus in a place and Link runs on its direction. the closer to Link, the slower he moves. Tap the screen twice for a roll. Tap an enemy to attack it, or do it "manually" by slicing in front of Link. Draw a circle for a spin attack. Tap the item icon (or hold one of the shoulder buttons) to ready the equipped item. And that's it. simple as it can be, perfectly functional and really enjoyable.

The Legend of Zelda, Spirit Tracks, Review

Yes, you. It's about time you work to get your name in the Title.

There's a huge focus on the use of the DS' built-in microphone this time. you'll use it to play your flute (and that will be done all the time for the most variable reasons) and use the first dungeon item you get, the whirlwind, for example. At first it might be awkward, but after five minutes, you're already used to it.

On board of the train is a little different. At first glance, it's a more limited version of PH's sailing, but playing the game for some time will make you notice how different it is. To make the train start moving, you have to draw your route. You don't necessarily have to follow it, and many times you'll have to get off of the planned route to avoid a game over. You can also just point the direction you want the train to move when leaving the station and taking the turns depending on the situation.

Being literally on-rails might sound like something limited, but in fact it just improves the game. Being limited means less places to run to, and less time spent on useless scouting for secret places, since you know they have to be somewhere on the rails. And this plays a major role in the game. You'll often have to go to the opposite direction to avoid the invincible bomb trains that run on the rails, fight enemies, look for the secret bunnies hidden all over the place and, if you're carrying a passenger, obey the sign posts. If you don't, they might get angry and leave the train. And no tip.

The Legend of Zelda, Spirit Tracks, Review

Believe me, it's more fun than it sounds.

After a certain turn of events that happen early in the game, Zelda starts following you as a spirit. That not only adds many humorous moments to the game, but also implements a whole new feature, which is dungeon crawling as a team. On the Tower of Spirits, after you collect 3 Tears of Light, you can hit a phantom on its back so Zelda can transform into it. Controlling Zelda is really easy. You just draw a route for her to follow and she'll do it. As a phantom, Zelda can do many things you can't, like walking over lava or spikes. On the other hand, there are things only Link can do, so both of them have to cooperate in order to progress.

The game is relatively long, at least longer than Phantom Hourglass was. There are 5 main dungeons and 6 "tower of spirits" dungeons. The game starts off easy, but as time goes by, the challenge increases gradually. There are also many hidden puzzles and mini-dungeons, and those tend to be the toughest. The number of sidequests increased and few of them are still "fetch quests". Most of them involves bringing a certain cargo from somewhere else or transporting people around, but one of the most enjoyable ones, in my opinion, is finding the hidden place for all the stamp stands and collecting the stamps, as those stamps are usually very well hidden and you don't get to it without some extra exploring.

As for those wondering if the tower of spirits is another temple of the ocean king nightmare, it's not. there's no time limit, no retracking all the way through and no need to remain hidden all the time. They are completely normal dungeons, weren't it for the fact that you don't get dungeon items from it and Zelda helps you.

The Legend of Zelda, Spirit Tracks, Review

The game makes great use of both screens to give scale to bosses.

Spirit Tracks is a gorgeous game. Even if you don't take the DS as the standard, it looks great. The cel-shading from the previous game was improved, and the chances of seeing huge pixels has been drastically reduced. Sound plays a major role in this game, so it's no surprise that the soundtrack is excellent, maybe one of the best in the series. The train song is especially catchy, and don't be surprised if you find yourself whistling it (i know i do it all the time).

Like i mentioned earlier, Spirit Tracks is a great game for the Zelda standards, and that means being one of the best of the best. Great visuals, great soundtrack, excellent control scheme, clever puzzles, there's nothing you can find wrong on Spirit Tracks, unless you want to nitpick and say that drawing on the map still feels a bit inaccurate and Zelda's AI might not be as "intelligent" as the term implies, but other than that, it's a flawless game.

Bruno Sampaio, NoobFeed.

comments powered by Disqus


General Information

Platform(s): 3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2009-12-07

View All

Popular Articles