The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

LQ: 9.6


Brain grade: 9.8
Fun score: 9.3

Game Type: , ESRB Rating: Everyone Platform/Console: LWK Recommended Age: 7+ Thinking Skills Used: , , , , , Academic Skills Used:

In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, players take on the role of Link, a young boy tasked with saving his friend Tetra from an evil ghost ship. Traversing the vast world of the “Great Sea,” players embark on an adventure spanning across many small islands, each of which contains its own unique characters and enemies. Using the DS touch screen, players guide Link across land and water in search of the ghost ship. Players must battle foes, solve puzzles, and collect items in their quest to save Tetra. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass features mild cartoon violence, but no blood or any other potentially offensive content. However, reading skills are required throughout the game. Due to the game’s mild violence and reading requirements, it is recommended to players ages 7 and up.

This Game is Good for Kids Who Need Help With:


Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks. Sustaining attention on long-term tasks.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is set in a massive ocean world covered with many islands. Players are given specific clues to direct them to their next objective, and must lead Link across both land and ocean. If players simply roam the world listlessly, without specific these goals in mind, they may wander for hours and fail to advance the story.

Focus skills also help players notice clues in the game -- like cracks in the wall or switches on the floor -- which can help lead them to hidden areas. During battle, good Focus skills allow players to concentrate on the attack patterns and movements of enemies, helping them to avoid taking damage and figure out how best to defeat their foes.

Working Memory

Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working. Following directions.

Controlling Link's actions requires players to recall specific touch-based commands, issued by using the DS stylus in different ways. Players drag the stylus to direct Link, tap and swipe enemies to attack, double tap to do an evasive roll, and draw circles to issue spin attacks. The variety of items players use also have unique controls. Players need to memorize the different commands that activate Link's abilities, using their Working Memory skills in to order defeat enemies, solve puzzles and maneuver through the game with precision.

Working Memory skills also help players remember the weaknesses of certian enemies (some need to be stunned before attacking, others can be hurt by deflecting their projectiles back at them), as well as which items are best used in different situations (the Boomerang can be used to hit distance switches, the Grappling Hook allows Link to reach far off areas, and the mouse-like Bombchu can scamper into tight areas to set off an explosion).


Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.

Preparedness is very helful when journeying into the game's more difficult dungeons, as players can stock up on useful items and gear up before attempting to conquer them. Purchasing Health Potions allows players to refill their hearts if they get to low, while stokcing up on arrows and bombs can be beneficial for battle. Also, if players get stuck or have difficulty defeating enemies, they can seek out Spirit Gems that can increase Link's attack power, up his defense and grant him new sword attacks. Choosing to seek out gems and upgrade these attributes can be immensely helpful later in the game against tougher foes.


Managing our actions, feelings and behaviors.

A major trademark of The Legend of Zelda series is big boss battles. A boss battle is the encounter with the final enemy of a given dungeon, who is generally large and very tough to beat. Defeating these strong enemies takes a lot of strategy, commonly requiring players to use a recently acquired item to attack the foe and open up a vulnerable weak spot. The solution is never readily apparent, and it may take several attempts before players figure out how to win. In order to use a trial-and-error approach players need to understand their own actions and decisions, requiring a level of Self-Awareness in order to learn from their mistakes. By being able to understand why they failed, what tactics were working and how they can amend their strategy next time around, players can continue to improve their performance until they figure out how to best the boss.


Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations. Trying new things.

The large arsenal of weapons and tools players can use increases throughout the course of the game, with each item offering unique powers and abilities for Link to use in battle. Items like the Grappling Hook allow Link to pull the armor off of his enemies, while the Hammer can be used to defeat previously indestructible foes. Arrows let Link take out enemies from a distance while the Boomerang can temporarily stun most foes. Doing well in the game requires players to be flexible in their battle tactics, wielding a wide array of items in order to gain an advantage during battle. The Self-Awareness skills players use to deduce working strategies and abandon poor ones are also aided by a flexible approach, as players that try new things in the game will be more likely to discover tactics that work well.

Time Management

Being efficient and aware of our use of time and effort.

In order to progress into new areas of the game, players must frequently return to the Temple of the Ocean King in order to acquire another Sea Chart, which is needed to explore new areas of the sea. Each time they return to the temple, they must delve deeper into it. However, they are being timed as they explore the mazes within, and must manage their time wisely to reach the Sea Chart before their time runs out. Players must navigate mazes, solve puzzles and battle enemies along the way (some of which can even "steal" time from players). It may take several attempts before players figure out the most efficient method of working their way through the temple within the given time limit.

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