First off, being a side game doesn ’ metric ton mean a game is bad. There are some spin-offs that are pretty fun, such as Link’s Crossbow Training, Hyrule Warriors, and Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland. But the spin-offs that truly deserve mention are Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda’s Adventure. These games were created for the Philips CD-i, an obscure 90s console/CD player, and nowadays they are known more for the YouTube Poops and meme created from their goofy animations than for their gameplay .
Okay, immediately that the CD-i games are out of the manner, let ’ s get down to the kernel and potatoes of this discussion : the main-series Zelda titles .
18. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
The cel-shaded graphics and plat lengthiness from The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass make this game well worth play, but it lacks a batch of the elements that make Zelda games capital. Its use of an overworld map makes you feel more like you ’ re playing a mash-up of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Legend of Zelda, and locomotives, while cool, are kind of a eldritch summation to the Zelda universe .
17. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
This one gets a gloomy rank for its heavy multiplayer focus. While it ’ south quite potential to play Four Swords Adventures as a single-player plot, you always feel like you ’ re missing out if you ’ ra not playing it with friends, and in my opinion, it ’ sulfur crucial that single players are able to get a complete and fulfilling experience from a Zelda style. The same review can be applied to its predecessor, the Four Swords multiplayer game paired with the Game Boy Advance acquittance of A Link to the Past. Due to the compound nature of that release, I won ’ metric ton be treating Four Swords as a standalone game for the sake of this ranking .
16. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
First of all, Roman numerals are a weird deed choice. What is this, a Rocky movie ? honestly, this is precisely an odd title overall. Why “ The Adventure of Link ” over “ Link’s Adventure ” ?
But that ’ s not why I ’ megabyte giving this Nintendo Entertainment System classic a relatively low spotlight on this list. As person who enjoys the top-down Legend of Zelda titles about adenine much as the more modern installments, the gameplay in Zelda II just own ’ triiodothyronine deoxyadenosine monophosphate good as the gameplay of the sequels that followed it. Playing Link in a side-scroller feels weird—there ’ s a reason that none of the subsequent Zelda titles ( aside from the aforesaid CD-i games ) went down that road .
15. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
I don ’ triiodothyronine truly have much to say about this title, one of the more forgettable Zelda games in late years. It suffers from the same multiplayer-focus issues as Four Swords Adventures, but the gameplay is pretty crisp, and the puzzles are playfulness. It ’ s a pity the single-player options are lacking—and that playing as a pair is literally impossible .
14. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
Released as a pair aboard Oracle of Seasons, this Game Boy Color game features authoritative top-down gameplay and a bunch together of fun puzzles. But it ’ south my opinion that the interconnected-game factor that makes the Oracle games so unique kind of shoots them in the metrical foot. In holy order to very experience the plot of the games, you need to purchase both, which—though a pretty aplomb concept—isn ’ t ideal for Zelda fans on a mean budget .
13. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
pretty much the like review that I gave Oracle of Ages, but Oracle of Seasons is cool because of its singular season-changing machinist .
12. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
This one is a personal darling of mine, so it ’ s probably a bit higher on this list than you expected—but this is about arsenic high as I could justify putting it. It ’ second got the lapp cel-shaded 3D graphics that I love in Spirit Tracks and The Wind Waker, and its plot and gameplay are reasonably solid. But the heavy reliance on touch screen controls ( and a microphone ) feels like a bit of a device designed to showcase the then-relatively-new Nintendo DS .
11. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
This is a seriously big game. The fact that it ’ second coming in at No. 11 is just a expression of how well the Zelda series is as a whole, not an indictment of Link’s Awakening itself. But while it deserves props for being the first Zelda bet on to be released for a hand-held bet on device, its plot is lacking many of the classical Legend of Zelda plot elements. Call me a hidebound, but… no Hyrule ? No Triforce ? No Zelda ? It ’ s a damn thoroughly game, but dang, Nintendo. Give the people what they want !
10.The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Released in 2004, this Game Boy Advance game provides players with a fresh take on the top-down gameplay of the master Zelda titles, a lot like the Link’s Awakening remake will do for the newest coevals of Zelda fans. The game is fun as heck, but its relatively abruptly narrative gives it less replay value than some other Zelda titles .
9. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
If Phantom Hourglass was a device designed to showcase the singular controls of the Nintendo DS, then Skyward Sword was equally gimmicky in its mandate use of the Wii ’ s motion controls. The history and gameplay are broadly quite estimable, but the gesture controls get tiring fast, and introduce new and thwart challenges for disabled gamers .
8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
This fantastic follow-up to Link to the Past did department of justice to its harbinger, with a very cool and singular wall-merging mechanic to spice up the reasonably familiar gameplay and universe of LttP. There was nothing particularly revolutionary about A Link Between Worlds —it ’ south merely full antique Zelda fun .
7. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
I in full realize that I am entering hot-take district by ranking Twilight Princess this low, but what can I say ? I just didn ’ t like it ampere much as any of the games that follow on this list. It has a short ton of amazing elements that deserve praise—I mean, who doesn ’ metric ton love Epona ? But to me, the dark story and aesthetic represents a passing from the lighthearted and colorful fun of the Zelda series, and the gesticulate controls of the Wii version are a moment unwieldy ( though this emergence is not confront in the GameCube passing ) .
6. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
This sequel to the esteemed Ocarina of Time has become a classic in its own correctly. It ’ s birthed memes and characters that remain Nintendo staples to this day, such as Skull Kid and that bizarre moon. But despite the eldritch darkness of the story, Majora’s Mask manages to preserve the cartoonish playfulness of its predecessor with a truly singular time-repeating mechanic evocative of Groundhog Day. Plus, it brought us one of the most fun Super Smash Bros. stages ever : Great Bay. Majora’s Mask was a brave option by Nintendo ’ south developers, and one that paid off in spades .
5. The Legend of Zelda
This is the true OG of Zelda games, the one that spawned the series. For that rationality alone, The Legend of Zelda has undoubtedly changed the lives of countless gamers far and wide. But it wasn ’ thymine just influential—it was well, besides. With its iconic open scene, its narrative invention, and its amazing replay value, the original Zelda claim deserves its high position on this list .
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Oh man, this is getting hard, guys. All of the remaining games have a solid argumentation for the greatest bet on of all time. This was the first Zelda bet on I ever played, and by far the best of the top-down entries in the series. The global is immersive and detail, and every dungeon pushes you to your limit while being eminently beatable for players who are willing to put in the influence. The inclusion body of a playfulness side game, Four Swords, in the GBA unblock doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate hurt, either .
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
There ’ second so much to praise in Breath of the Wild. Its focus on exploration meshes perfectly with the Zelda serial ’ authoritative open-world elements. To bring The Legend of Zelda to the Switch, Nintendo ’ randomness developers re-engineered the entire series from rub. While puzzles are an important element of about every Zelda crippled, the entire world is the puzzle in Breath of the Wild. With about countless replay value and in truth breathless graphics, Breath of the Wild will go down angstrom one of the greatest games of all clock time .
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The first cubic Zelda title is besides one of the best. Ocarina of Time innovated many of the gameplay elements that have made subsequent three-dimensional Zelda games some of the most well-received titles always. I placid remember winning a copy of the Master Quest GameCube port at a school consequence and running family to give it a whirl—I don ’ t think I ’ ve ever been as excited for a television game since then. And on top of its amazing gameplay and beautiful soundtrack, Ocarina of Time has become one of the most democratic speedrunning titles, leading to some rightfully fathead and entertaining strategies .
1. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
I might get some antiaircraft for putting this one on top of my list, but The Wind Waker is a perennial classic, destined to withstand the examination of prison term better than any other Zelda crippled. Its bold cel-shaded graphics are iconic and alone, holding up just american samoa well in the Switch era as they did on the GameCube. The aquatic capable worldly concern is a blast to explore, and the game ’ s battle system is ampere intuitive as it is fun. The Wind Waker is the best Legend of Zelda game—if you disagree, see me in the comments.
Read more: Where Does Link ‘s Awakening Fit in The Legend of Zelda Timeline ?
top visualize via Nintendo
This article was written by Alexander Lee, an esports diarist, lifelong Nintendo fan, and proud cat dad. Follow him on Twitter @ alexleewastaken, and check out more of his function on his web site www.alexlee.work .