Fact: The Legend of Zelda is one of the most iconic video game franchises ever made. Multiple titles have been released detailing the adventures of Link, Princess Zelda, and Ganondorf in numerous different ways and taking place in various lands. There are so many monsters, items, dungeons, puzzles, and supporting characters across the multiple games released that there is quite simply too many to count. It’s just easier to say that the influence the Legend of Zelda franchise had had on video gaming cannot be ignored, as it’s nothing short of incredible.
It’s no surprise then that many video game creators have looked to the Legend of Zelda as an inspiration as they worked on creating new video games. Some were able to capture certain aspects of the gameplay in their games, while others were more inspired by the story itself. Some were even lucky enough to adapt both elements in their video games. While no video game will ever be the same as the Legend of Zelda, here are 6 videogames that come pretty close and are fun to play in their own right.
Similar Games to The Legend of Zelda
1. Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas
- System/Platform: iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
- Publisher: FDG Entertainment
- Developer: Cornfox & Bros.
- Release Date: November 14, 2013 (iOS)
One of the more modern games to be released to resemble The Legend of Zelda, Oceanhorn focuses on the journey of a young boy left all alone by his father, who has gone to defeat a beast known as Oceanhorn. The basic gameplay employs classic Zelda elements, such as the main character using a shield and sword (among other items such as bombs), displaying hearts to show how much life you have, destroying vases for various rewards, and solving puzzles throughout the game. It also bears similarity to the Wind Waker in terms of starting your journey on a small island and sailing to other islands and also shares with Breath of the Wild the similar main outfit worn by the main character. All in all, a modern game with a heavy Zelda influence.
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Trailer
2. Hyper Light Drifter
- System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Ouya, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
- Publisher: Heart Machine
- Developer: Heart Machine
- Release Date: March 31, 2016 (Windows, OS X, Linux)
Another modern gem, this game can be seen as a mix of both The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls as there are a lot of sci-fi elements thrown into a Zelda-like world. The combat is more in line with that of Dark Souls in terms of mastering certain patters of attacks and deciding when to strike. The story of you being a collector of lost knowledge, or Drifter, travelling the world looking for something to cure your mysterious illness is also somewhat different than most of the storylines of the Zelda games. That being said, the biggest similarity to the Zelda franchise would be the dungeon locations you travel to and have to solve in addition to the monsters you must face at the end of them. There may be a sci-fi twist to the game, such as having lasers as traps in certain temples or the main character utilizing blasters in addition to his sword. Not to mention the bigger themes of the games such as time travel (something explored in Ocarina of Time and Oracle of Ages). If you’re looking for a game similar to Legend of Zelda but having more of a sci-fi aspect to it, Hyper Light Drifter would be the starting point.
Hyper Light Drifter Trailer
- System/Platform: PlayStation 2
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Developer: SCE Japan Studio (Team Ico)
- Release Date: September 24, 2001 (NA)
An older title, but a classic one nonetheless, and even perhaps an underrated game to compare to The Legend of Zelda. The game focuses on Ico, a young boy born with horns who was locked away in an abandoned fortress by his village due to their fear of him. Ico’s exploration of the fortress leads him to Yorda, daughter of the Queen of the fortress that wishes to use Yorda for her schemes. As the game’s focus turns to Ico protecting Yorda from shadow monsters in order to help her escape the fortress, you’re reminded of various Zelda titles such as Twilight Princess, The Minish Cap, and Skyward Sword in terms of a story about going on a journey with a companion. In terms of actual gameplay, you’re mainly reminded of the Wind Waker, where Link must conquer 2 dungeons with Medli and Makar respectively. If you enjoyed the story aspects of the Legend of Zelda games where you had a companion and the gameplay interaction in order to advance the story, then Ico is worth playing.
Any Games Like The Legend of Zelda ?
- System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Xbox, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Majesco Entertainment (until 2010); Double Fine Productions (2011-present)
- Developer: Double Fine Productions
- Release Date: April 20, 2005 (Xbox, NA)
Psychonauts focuses on a young boy named Raz who runs away from his family in order to pursue his dream of being a Psychonaut, or a fighter with a mastery of various psychic abilities. Psychonauts definitely has some similarities to the Legend of Zelda games that aren’t quite as prevalent as other games on this list. While Psychonauts focuses on psychic powers for combat as opposed to melee weapons, the idea of Raz needing to complete one area of the campgrounds before moving onto another is reminiscent of Link not being able to explore certain parts of Hyrule until he obtained a special item or completed a certain dungeon. In addition, while the setting of certain fights may be in a character’s mind as opposed to the real world, the concept of solving puzzles and winning the boss battle is the same method used in Zelda’s dungeons. If you enjoyed the Zelda platformer approach to their games as a whole but would like to experience a completely different and quirkier take on it, Psychonauts is the game to play.
Psychonauts Trailer P
- System/Platform: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Clover Studio
- Release Date: September 19, 2006 (PlayStation 2, NA)
The most obvious comparison to Okami and The Legend of Zelda is the use of a wolf as the main character, as you play as a wolf for a fair amount of the game in Twilight Princess. Having said that, one of the underappreciated aspects of the Zelda franchise is the artwork, as each game has its own distinct appearance to it. Majora’s Mask is similar to Ocarina of Time as it serves as a sequel, and the Oracle Games have the same artwork as they are companion games. But the Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword all have different appearances as well as the handheld games such as Phantom Hourglass, The Minish Cap, and A Link to the Past. Okami has such a unique design to the game that stands out from most games made during that time in addition to most game being made now. With a main story with plenty of side quests in addition to puzzle solving and epic battles, Okami is definitely a game to play if you enjoyed Zelda for both its design as well as the gameplay.
6. The Binding of Isaac
- System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
- Publisher: Edmund McMillen
- Developer: Edmund McMillen
- Release Date: September 28, 2011
The basic premise of The Binding of Isaac focuses on a young boy named Isaac who has sought shelter in his basement form his mother, who believed that he must be sacrificed to God, Unfortunately, Isaac comes to discover that his basement is pretty dangerous to say the least. A 2D platformer, The Binding of Isaac definitely has a similar feel to the older handheld Zelda games not only in terms of appearance, but also boss battles, hearts, and even some items. The designer of the game also threw in several Easter Eggs that refer to the Zelda games. One of the new takes on the concept, however, is the fact that the dungeon layouts are randomly generated, encouraging multiple play-throughs of the game if you want to find everything this game has to offer. If you’re a fan of the 2D Zelda games and are looking for a modern game with a similar feel, then The Binding of Isaac has that and then some.
The Binding of Isaac Trailer
The Legend of Zelda will always be held in such a high regard that most videogames inspired by it will never be revered quite as much. However, a fair amount of videogames do come close, and these 6 games in particular can certainly give you a similar feeling of excitement that you had when you played The Legend of Zelda for the first time. But what do you guys think? Is there a videogame that you feel should have made the cut, such as Darksiders II, Ys I & II, Beyond Good and Evil, and/or Dust: An Elysian Tale? Let us know in the comments!