By Spencer . July 9, 2007 . 4:44pm
Between playing Persona 3, Luminous Arc and E3 planning I haven’t spent too much time on the Phantom Hourglass. I started it over the weekend and the adventure begins when Link gets separated from Tetra. He awakens on an island, without a sword and a shield to defend himself with. The first thing you have to do is get used to the touch screen control. You point to where you want Link to run and you can tap on a pot to make Link pick it up. Once Link is holding a pot over his head you can tap on the screen where you want to throw it. While the system sounds unorthodox, the Legend of Zelda: the Phantom Hourglass feels natural and intuitive.
By entering a cave (how familiar!) Link can find a sword and slash red slimes by swiping the stylus. There are three basic attacks Link can do:
A wide horizontal slash by drawing a curved line with the stylus.
A thrust attack by drawing a straight line from Link’s position to where you want to poke. The lunge doesn’t have as much width, but Link steps forward when he uses it.
A spinning slash by drawing a circle around Link. Similar to the Wind Waker, if you use the spin attack Link may become dizzy and freeze for a few seconds.
With a sword in hand Link is ready to take on the first cave and switch pulling puzzle. There are four switches and Link needs to pull them in order. Clues are written on four rock slabs, but you need to be able to read Japanese to figure out the correct order. If you put in the wrong order worms fall from the sky and attack Link. This isn’t the only puzzle that requires reading Japanese to solve and it looks like the Phantom Hourglass is not going to be an import friendly game.
Thus far it’s been enjoyable and the graphics are brilliant. I also like how the Phantom Hourglass is lighthearted and peppered with humor in contrast to the Twilight Princess. More impressions are coming once I get through a few dungeons.