The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

JP: Zelda no Densetsu: Daichi no Kiteki
Developed in Japan by Nintendo
Published by Nintendo
Released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS

Where do you even begin when discussing a mess like Spirit Tracks? In moving forward a game series associated with open, sprawling worlds, the chief method of travel is a train. Yes, the vehicle that is attached to rails. Even worse, this travel method is a glorified loading screen, requiring the bare minimum commitment (shooting crap with a cannon as it impedes your progress) in order to slog from one place to another. Upon reaching your destination, you’ll find a world of level design that neglects the lessons of Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening, where dungeons were the puzzles, not the individual rooms within each dungeon. In Spirit Tracks, dungeon design alternates between a series of painfully easy action sequences and a gauntlet of simple real-time strategy missions. Wait, what? Yes, Zelda pairs with Link to fulfill “play as the girl” on the marketing checklist, haunting suits of armor that are controlled in real-time with the stylus. In-fact, everything in this action game uses the stylus or the microphone. It sucks. And somehow, “awful control scheme” is far from the worst thing to be found in this game.