Previews

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Is Nintendo's latest an hourglass-figured beaut? Corset is

Phantom Hourglass is the first internally-developed handheld Z-game for eight years, so it's no surprise that Nintendo wants it to be as breathtaking as the London Marathon. With all the big code-conjurers of Zeldas past on board, it'd be no shock if the team simply decided to stick their idea-straws directly into their own brains and suck up a tribute game that borrows heavily from the last 20 years of chicken-slicing brilliance. Instead, we've got a brilliantly innovative title, set to change the way we play ol' Pointy Ears forever.

Fairy boys take our fancy
Phantom Hourglass takes place shortly after the events of Wind Waker, as evidenced by the fact that Link hasn't managed to grow that cel-shaded 'do out yet. The plot is simple: Mr Green-Hat has lost contact with Tetra and his ship, but he has found time to befriend a fairy, in that slightly unusual way he does. The as-yet-unnamed pixie is integral to the manner in which you play the game.

Zoom

The fairy is controlled with the stylus, navigating Link around in a point-and-click manner. A slashy stylus motion will prompt Link to lash out with his sword, and tapping on NPCs will encourage him to talk their heads off. Phantom Hourglass is controlled entirely by touch - you must by now be aware of the ability to plot your boomerang's fl ightpath
with a single penstroke. But one of the funkier features is sending the top screen map plummeting toward the touch screen so you can quickly scribe your notes on it - especially useful when you consider that 87% of Zelda players refuse to ask for directions. This game is shaping up to be gold-on-toast - more when it comes in.

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