The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild has been out a few weeks and is considered one of the best games ever made, and while naturally a lot of gamers would still like to get their hands on it, purchasing a brand new console like the Nintendo Switch is an expensive investment for just one title. Furthermore, the cheaper Nintendo Wii U is at the end of its life-cycle, and despite having a good library of games, many gamers will be reluctant to buy an older and less successful machine.
So, if you’re still undecided about making the “switch” to Nintendo’s new console, here is a list of games that are a great alternative to the Zelda series to keep you busy until you make your minds up:
3D Dot Heroes
Platform: PlayStation 3
3D Dot Game Heroes was developed by Silicon Studios, who are perhaps better known for their Bravely Default series on the 3DS. It was designed as a love letter to the 8-Bit era of action RPGs, notably The Legend Of Zelda.
Aesthetically, the game is very similar to the Zelda series, with its progressive screen-to-screen level design, dungeon exploration, and puzzle solving. Your hero, which you can craft to be anyone you want (including Link if you like to get creative) is destined to save the Dotnia Kingdom from a dark plague.
3D Dot Heroes is a fun tribute to the games of yesteryear, and fans of old school Zelda-like games will find a lot to love in this one.
The Darksiders Series
Platforms: PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/Xbox One/PlayStation 4/PC
On the surface, the Darksiders series isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Zelda-like experience. Both the games are very similar mechanically, however, with their focus on solving environmental puzzles and using your weapons and equipment, such as your ‘hook-shot’ and portal gun, to reach new areas.
They take inspiration from other successful games, such as the Portal series, and the world in Darksiders 2 is far more open than the original, bringing the series a little closer to that Breath Of The Wild experience.
Both the Darksiders games were released again, remastered for the Xbox One and PS4, and should definitely be near the top of your list if you’re looking to get your Zelda fix. I’ve been reminded that Darksiders 2 was a launch title on the Wii U.
The Demon’s/Dark Souls Series
Platforms: PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/Xbox One/PlayStation 4/PC
While the Souls series may seem like an unusual choice as a Zelda alternative, the games share more than a few characteristics. The cryptic clues and messages, hidden walls, invading dark entities and interlinked worlds that become bigger after you complete the first major objective are all reminiscent of the original Zelda games.
In addition, the boss battles and the combat system of the Zelda series are comparable to Souls as well. In Zelda, the bosses are usually huge and require strategy and patience; the Souls series takes this to another level, but the combined feeling of dread and excitement when you encounter some of the larger creatures parallels the two games.
While on the surface the games couldn’t be more different, and there isn’t as great an emphasis on puzzle solving in the Souls series, they do share quite a few similarities, especially in the far more unforgiving Zelda games of old.
Ys: Memories of Celceta
Platform: PlayStation Vita/PlayStation 2/PC
With the exceptions of the game speed and style of storytelling, the Ys games are mechanically similar to the Zelda series. Ys’ dungeon exploration, strategic action based combat system and colorful sense of adventure, all feel very Zelda-like. Ys: Memories of Celceta is especially worthy of note, because it’s considered by fans as the best entry in the series so far.
The Ys series has seen a lot of releases and remakes through different generations of gaming systems, but similarly to the Zeldas, it can be picked up from any point in the series. The game is expecting a new release this year in the form of Ys VIII, which is releasing in the West for both the Vita and PlayStation 4.
Platform: Playstation 2/Wii/PlayStation 3/Nintendo DS
In Okami you play as Amaterasu, a deity, who, according to Japanese folk-lore, is the goddess of the sun taking on the form of a white wolf. She is tasked with saving a village from an eight-headed demon called Orochi and restoring color to a cursed land with the use of what is known as the Celestial Brush.
The timeless art design of Okami and the Celestial Brush mechanic provides the game with its own unique gameplay style and look, but it easily draws comparisons to the 3D Zelda games, especially the wolf sections in Twilight Princess.
It was followed up with a sequel on the Nintendo DS with ?kamiden, and despite a mixed fan reaction to the shift in platform, the game was well received and was nominated for several best handheld game awards.
Platforms: PlayStation/PSP/PS Vita
Alundra was a superb game for the original PlayStation that had unfortunate timing being released between Final Fantasy VII and The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. As a result, it went a bit under the radar at the time, despite the great critical feedback.
Alundra is considered a spiritual sequel to the SEGA Megadrive/Genesis game Landstalker, and in it your protagonist discovers that he’s a Dreamwalker. As a result, the ability allows him to enter people’s dreams – something he must do in order to save a village from a demon who is killing the villagers from within their nightmares.
Stylistically, Alundra is a beautiful game with intricately designed and challenging levels, and has some of the nicest-looking sprites in the genre. The game draws a lot of comparison to A Link To The Past and Link’s Awakening, so fans of those games should definitely experience this great little title.
Beyond Good And Evil
Platforms: PS2/PS3/PC/Xbox/Xbox 360 – Compatible with Xbox One
Beyond Good and Evil is another overlooked but superb game, and though aesthetically it couldn’t look any different to the Zelda series, its environmental puzzles and quest system have drawn a great deal of inspiration from that franchise.
In addition to gameplay, there are some more obvious nods to the series: the protagonist Jade wears a green outfit just like Links tunic, and her race is known as the ‘Hillyans,’ which sounds remarkably similar to the Hylian race of Hyrule.
Fans are still waiting for a long-promised sequel to the game, but until then you can pick up a HD remaster on the PS3 and Xbox 360.