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The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass hands-on

Back on solid ground, the inhabitants of Hyrule are - as ever - on hand to impart nuggets of advice to Link. Talking with a few villagers steered the quest we were playing toward finding a way past a sealed door. By exploring the island we found several markers that, when looked at on the map, bore a striking resemblance to the door's magic seal. Thanks to the touch screen you can annotate your map at any time, jotting down quick notes - in this case, numbering the markers to help unlock the door elsewhere on the island. Obvious stuff, but a different kind of Zelda puzzle, for sure.

After getting past the sealed door we were greeted by a familiar Zelda dungeon and - once inside - we were able to try out Link's stylus steered boomerang. Simply trace a path that you want the projectile to follow and it'll dutifully fly along the requested flight path. In this case, we had to guide it to two different switches, separated from Link by a massive, bottomless chasm.



Above: Phantom Hourglass uses the same art style as Wind Waker. Which is absolutely fine by us

At the end of our E3 quest we were treated to a battle with a floating octopus monster... perhaps a new type of Octorok? During the duel, Link remained on the touch screen, but was able to send things flying into the second, upper screen to damage the boss. The faster pace of this battle made learning the nuances of the touch screen all the more difficult, but chances are that by the time you reach this point in the final game you'll be a dab hand with the control system.

The Legend of Zelda is one of the most respected, consistently amazing series in video game history and Link's touching DS debut promises to continue the tradition with another magical adventure.

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