Zelda fans tend to get a new game in the franchise about once a year, though they shift between console and handheld titles. Last year was the first time in ten years that a Zelda title wasn’t released, making it a very sad year for diehard followers. However, this year we are definitely getting a new Zelda game, but what is it and why should you care?
A “New” Zelda Title
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks follows the trends set in Phantom Hourglass by being on the DS, retaining the exact same graphical style, and controlling identical to its predecessor. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how much you enjoyed Phantom Hourglass’ control scheme and art style.
All controls are managed via the touch screen, which takes some getting used to. You move Link around, you tap enemies for him to shoot with arrows, you draw out paths for him to throw a boomerang on, and you slash between Link and enemies to make him swing his sword.
Overall, yes, the controls work, but at the same time you’ll be wondering why you couldn’t just use the shoulder buttons to swing your sword like you want to. It’s a DS game so I get that it MUST implement touch screen controls, but it doesn’t feel right compared to what you’re used to with the series.
The story this time around is…well, we don’t know quite yet. The only things we’ve seen are cutscenes with Link driving a train around.
Yup, he’s a conductor this time, so you’ll get from one area to the next via an upgradeable and customizable train that follows a set of tracks that I assume are called the “Spirit Tracks.” So basically, take Phantom Hourglass, replace boats with trains, and you have Spirit Tracks.
It’s a Mystery To Us All
As far as actual new things, we haven’t seen much. There will be more use of the touch screen, this time allowing you to take control of statues and force them to do your bidding in order to solve puzzles and such.
Also expect to be blowing in the mic a whole lot since the DS Zelda titles seem to love that gimmick. You might find yourself lightheaded if you’re not careful. You will definitely look like a goober if you attempt to play the game in public, but that’s to be expected.
Nintendo is keeping the lid on this title extremely well. We’re still waiting to hear exactly how this title does anything different compared to Phantom Hourglass besides adding the train, but all will be revealed in December.
Expect a holiday 2009 release for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.