The wait for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a tough one, but fans can try out these five Zelda-like experiences to tide them over until the game’s release.
When it comes to The Legend of Zelda, franchise fans are lucky to get more than one new game in any given console cycle. These long gaps between home console releases make every new The Legend of Zelda release feel like an event, but the downside is that fans don’t have much to play in-between games.
Luckily, other developers have stepped up to the plate, delivering games that heavily borrow elements from The Legend of Zelda. While not all of these copycat games are homeruns, some of the Zelda play-a-likes released over the years have been quite good, and could help fans stay entertained while they wait for new games in the series, like the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Anyone looking for the best Zelda “clones” to tide them over until The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, look no further than the five following games.
Beyond Good & Evil
Beyond Good & Evil, a delightfully weird game from Rayman creator Michel Ancel, features Zelda-style dungeons and puzzle-solving, but also adds enough new ideas to feel unique. Beyond Good & Evil also has a politically-charged science-fiction plot, a remarkable main character named Jade (whose work as a photojournalist is integral to the story as well as the gameplay), an engrossing world players can explore via hovercar, and so much more. Since the original game’s Zelda-inspired gameplay elements earned it such critical acclaim at the time of its release, it will be interesting to see if the long-awaited sequel retains these features or blazes a new path entirely.
Darksiders is what happens when someone takes the dungeons and puzzle-solving of The Legend of Zelda and combines it with God of War-style combat. The franchise is two games strong so far, with a couple of remastered versions bringing the post-apocalyptic series to new-gen consoles. Fans have been waiting patiently for the next chapter in this Zelda-inspired franchise, and with publisher THQ reborn as THQ Nordic, we may hear news on the third game sooner rather than later.
Hyper Light Drifter
If Darksiders is a combination of God of War and The Legend of Zelda, then Hyper Light Drifter is a combination of The Legend of Zelda and Diablo. More specifically, Hyper Light Drifter takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, as lead developer Alex Preston wanted to recreate the feeling of playing the classic SNES game. Praised for its retro visuals and addicting gameplay, Hyper Light Drifter successfully mimics classic 2D Zelda, whereas most other games on this list are inspired by Link’s three-dimensional adventures, which may make it especially enticing for fans of the older Zelda games.
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas
Originally released as a mobile game, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is one of the most blatant Zelda clones on this list. While some may criticize Oceanhorn for being especially derivative, it’s one of the few titles amongst a sea of knock-offs that’s playable on most current-gen consoles, and it has soared to 1 million units sold since its launch. Oceanhorn‘s continued success will see the game ported to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation Vita later this year, and the development team has also started work on the sequel, Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm.
Some Zelda fans may not realize this, but Resident Evil developer Capcom actually has a long history with Nintendo’s franchise. Collaborating with Nintendo, Capcom created the Game Boy Color-era hits The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, as well as The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for Game Boy Advance. After creating some of the most critically-acclaimed handheld Zelda games, Capcom decided to try its hand at creating an original IP with the Zelda framework, and the result was the beautiful Okami.
Okami, a game that earned near-universal acclaim and spawned a well-received handheld followup, is one of Capcom’s highest-rated games. Its gorgeous cel-shaded art style pays homage to ancient Japanese culture, and its “celestial brush” gameplay mechanic opened the door for main character Amaterasu to have truly unique abilities. Out of all the Zelda clones, Okami may be the one that arguably surpasses some of the games that inspired it.
From Beyond Good & Evil to Okami, these five games should give The Legend of Zelda fans plenty to do ahead of Breath of the Wild‘s release in a couple of weeks. The wait for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the Nintendo Switch may be hard, but these games will make it a little less excruciating.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be available on March 3, 2017 for Nintendo Switch and Wii U.