Every Zelda Game On Nintendo Switch
From the original Legend of Zelda to the latest masterpiece Breath of the Wild, here's all the Zelda action you can play on Nintendo Switch.
The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo's most venerated franchises. If any of Nintendo's first-party mascots is as well-known as its mustachioed plumber, it's the noble sword-and-shield adventurer Link. Zelda games also often happen to be among the best-reviewed of Nintendo's first-party stable, often receiving critical acclaim for their lively atmosphere and ingenious puzzles and dungeons.
As a result of its popularity, a bunch of entries in the series can be found on the company's current best-selling console. The Switch enjoys a wealth of games built from the ground up for the hybrid handheld-console, along with remakes and remasters of older games, and even classics brought back through the Nintendo Switch Online library.
Zelda games tend to be large adventures, some consisting of dozens of hours of gameplay. That means the Zelda games available on Switch could keep you occupied for quite a while. From recent masterpieces like Breath of the Wild to classics like the original Legend of Zelda to spin-offs like Hyrule Warriors, here are all the Legend of Zelda games you can enjoy on Nintendo Switch.
Major Legend of Zelda Releases
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
One of the Switch launch games and still one of its all-time best-sellers, Breath of the Wild reinvented The Legend of Zelda for a modern age and inspired a parade of imitators. The freeform, open-world format was a radical change from other 3D Zelda games. Now a sequel is coming, with a title yet to be announced. Fans have taken to simply calling it Breath of the Wild 2, since it's a direct successor to this genre-defining game. (Read our Breath of the Wild review)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
A full remake of the classic Game Boy game of the same name, Link's Awakening is a throwback to the series' roots with a top-down presentation. This adventure takes Link to the mysterious island of Koholint, where he must find magical instruments to wake the mythical Wind Fish. While it has a lot in common with other top-down Zelda games, Link's Awakening is unique thanks a standalone story and unusual elements like Mario creature cameos. This version also has a lovely figurine-inspired look that gives everything an adorable plasticine sheen. (Read our Link's Awakening review)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was the latest console Zelda game before Breath of the Wild changed the paradigm, and its somewhat rigid adherence to structure is widely seen as a major reason why BotW broke so heavily from the formula. But there are definitely charms to Skyward Sword regardless, especially the relationship between Link and Zelda and some incredible dungeon design. Originally released on Wii, it received an HD remaster on Nintendo Switch, and recent trailers have heavily implied that Breath of the Wild 2 will tie into it plotwise. The remaster also includes reworked motion controls and a non-motion control option. (Read our Skyward Sword review)
Legend of Zelda Spin-Offs
Cadence of Hyrule
Nintendo has been more open about allowing other developers access to its franchises, but this was an unexpected twist. The indie game Crypt of the Necrodancer got a Zelda-themed semi-sequel with Cadence of Hyrule, which took the basic rhythm combat mechanics and mapped them into the world (and musical selections) of the Zelda series. The result was a wholly original Zelda game unlike any other. (Read our Cadence of Hyrule review)
A spin-off from Koei Tecmo series Dynasty Warriors, this combat-focused Zelda game takes familiar heroes and places them on sprawling battlefields filled to bursting with monsters. Like any Dynasty Warriors game, you're overpowered compared to the average grunt and you take them down en masse with a single strike, but it also introduces elements like contextual equipment. Hyrule Warriors a big wild hack-and-slash mash-up of various Zelda games. (Read our Hyrule Warriors review)
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
A follow-up to Hyrule Warriors, Age of Calamity was declared a companion story (of sorts) to Breath of the Wild set in the same era. As a result, you get a lot of BotW's familiar trappings, including appearances from major characters and gameplay elements like environmental puzzles and paragliding. This is still a hack-and-slash like its predecessor, so most of your time will be spent tossing around hordes of Bokoblins like ragdolls. (Read our Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity review)
Retro Zelda Games with Switch Online
In addition to full games available on Nintendo Switch, a few classic Zelda adventures are available through the Switch Online service. Switch Online costs $4 per month or $20 per year, with a family plan available for $35. Among other things, a membership entitles you to the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System apps, which each house dozens of games within them. The Switch Online games also have the benefit of save states, making it a little easier to keep your progress for some older games.
The Legend of Zelda
The original that started it all, The Legend of Zelda can be found in the NES collection with your Switch Online service. This is the foundation of much that would follow, from Link and the Master Sword to a series of dungeons that house unique equipment to the final boss, Ganon. It can be difficult at times, but Nintendo also offers a special version save file that starts you with all of the equipment, just to help you along. You can find this version with a red "SP" ribbon on the selection screen.
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
The second Legend of Zelda game on NES was a departure from the first, trading its top-down perspective for side-scrolling combat. The Adventure of Link also experimented with more overt RPG mechanics, including a series of magic spells and experience points. Like The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo offers a special save file that starts you with fully upgraded life and magic bars, along with all of the spells in your inventory from the start.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Widely regarded as one of the best Zelda games of the 2D era, if not one of the best of all time, Link to the Past can be found in the Super NES library. This third game in the franchise took an approach more resembling the original NES classic, though it still has some magic spells akin to Zelda 2. The combat is sharper, the puzzles more ingenious, and the story more fleshed out than it had ever been before. The story takes you from the kingdom of Hyrule to a corrupted Dark World, with parallels between the dimensions.
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