The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

LQ: 9.5

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Brain grade: 9.4
Fun score: 9.5

Game Type: , ESRB Rating: Everyone Platform/Console: , LWK Recommended Age: 8+ Thinking Skills Used: , , , Academic Skills Used:

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks follows a young boy named Link as he tries to break the curse that has destroyed the magical railways of the Kingdom of Hyrule. To restore the disappearing train tracks Link must battle monsters, solve puzzles, and travel to far-off lands on his train. Players control Link using the DS touch screen, dragging the stylus to direct him and tapping enemies to attack. While on the train, players use the touch screen to chart courses, control their speed, shoot the train’s cannon, and even toot the whistle to scare off animals blocking their path. The game contains mild cartoon violence but no blood or other potentially offensive content. There is a good amount of reading required though, as players have to talk to many characters in the game to figure out what to do next. Due to the mild violence and reading requirements, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is recommended to players ages 8 and up.


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This Game is Good for Kids Who Need Help With:

Planning

Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals. Improving short-term planning.

One of the main features of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is that players get to traverse the Kingdom of Hyrule by train. To do this, they have to first chart a course on their railway map, choosing the best path to avoid enemy trains. They then control the speed of their train, slowing down to let enemies pass or speeding away before being noticed. By planning their course correctly, players can avoid enemy confrontations and get to their destination unharmed.

Players will also be able to draw routes that guide items (like the path of a boomerang) and direct characters around the game world. This mechanic is commonly used to activate switches and open doors. Before doing so, however, players must look over the map and environment to make sure their route is sound.

Lastly, before entering a challenging dungeon, players should stock up on useful goods, like healing potions, bombs and arrows. They can even upgrade the gear on their train, like its armor and cannon, making traversing the dangerous tracks of Hyrule all the easier. Without sound Planning skills, players may end up stuck with the odds stacked against them.

Flexibility

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

Players are able to control both Link and Zelda at certain points in Spirit Tracks. In her spirit form, Zelda will possess Phantoms (large suits of armor) in order to help Link through dungeons. Players control Zelda by drawing a path for her to follow on the DS touch screen. She can do some things that Link cannot, like cross spiked floors, but her Phantom form is much slower than Link and not as useful in combat situations. Players are encouraged to switch control between Link and Zelda when their specific abilities are most useful, using Link to protect Zelda while she helps out in areas where Link needs aid.

Furthemore, as players get further into the game, the amount of tools and weapons in Link's arsenal continually increases. As new items are acquired, new enemies arise, with certain items being used to take out specific foes. Whether stunning foes with the Boomerang or deflecting projectile attacks with the Whirlwind, players will need to keep switching up their tactics as the difficulty level rises and they acquire more and more gear.

Working Memory

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

The many tools and items Link acuires throughout the game each have specific controls and commands, which must be recalled and issued at a moment's notice. Since each item is useful against particular enemies, players need to recall which tactics work best in a variety of situations, and apply that info in battle.

Many treasure boxes and hidden items are scattered all over the game world, and even hidden away in places that are inaccessible unless Link has the proper equipment to reach them. Players must remember where such treasures are hidden, so that they can return later when they have acquired the proper equipment. Similar navigational skills come in handy when exploring the environment or in the game's maze-like dungeons, which tasks players with absorbing facets of their surrounding, memorizing locations and using the map to avoid getting lost.

Self-Awareness

Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.

The bosses in each dungeon of Spirit Tracks have different attacks and movement patterns that players must learn to anticipate. It may take several attempts to defeat a boss creature that has not been encountered before. Players must be able to evaluate their own performance in battle, realizing which tactics are working and which strategies should be abandoned. For instance, if players keep taking lots of damage right off the bat, then perhaps they should start the battle off defensively, waiting for an opportune time to attack.

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