After ranking all of the Mario games and Final Fantasy games on Switch, I’ve gone and set my next target on one of Nintendo’s other flagship brands: Pokem- what? We’re doing that next time? Oh, okay. I guess today we’re doing The Legend of Zelda. There are several Zelda games to choose from on the Switch. A couple of mainline entries, a couple of remakes, and a handful of spin-offs. Note that I am not counting the games available via the Nintendo Switch Online retro console apps, but those are a good place to go for more fancy Zelda dining. Since Jared is in another dimension right now and Mikhail is distracted by a set of Falcom games dangling off a chain, this is yet another perfect opportunity for me. Like before, I’ll be ranking all of the games from the very worst to the very best. I take sole responsibility for these potentially bad opinions. Time to unintentionally (yet knowingly) make people angry!
7. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
I should stress that I don’t think any of the games on this list are anything less than good. I like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity a lot, but something has to come at the bottom of the pack and I’ve decided this is it. While it was great to revisit the world of Breath of the Wild and go on new adventures with familiar characters, the technical performance really dragged down what could have otherwise been a top-notch Warriors game. Its focus on the world of Breath of the Wild also keeps it from doing its own thing in the same way the previous Hyrule Warriors game did. Still, if you can overlook its considerable technical struggles, there’s a really strong game here.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
Full respect to Skyward Sword, because I don’t think we get to Breath of the Wild without it. This HD version of the 2011 Wii release does its best to address some of the criticisms it received back in the day to varying degrees of success. While the attempt at aping the motion controls via the second stick is hit-or-miss, just about everything else is either better or on par with the original. The art style, setting, and dungeons in this game are still amazing, but some of the deeper issues keep it from competing with the top dogs on this list.
5. Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo doesn’t loan out its major IPs often, especially to indie developers. But that’s just what it did here, leading to an outstanding mash-up of Crypt of the NecroDancer and The Legend of Zelda. It plays a lot like the former, but it doesn’t feel out of place as a Zelda game either. The soundtrack is mind-blowingly good, and as long as you aren’t completely turned off by rhythm games there’s really no reason to skip on this. That’s the level of quality on this list. A must-have game is chilling out at the third-lowest spot.
4. Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
The third time was definitely the charm with this release of the game that originally debuted on the Wii U, made its way to the Nintendo 3DS, and finally ended up on the Switch. The subtitle says it all, because you benefit from all of the updates and additions that happened across those ports and releases. The game itself is a joyous celebration of the Legend of Zelda series, packed with colorful characters each with their own set of abilities to unleash. Koei Tecmo has gotten really good at making its Warriors mash-ups take on the character of the property in question, and this might just be the apex of that kind of thing so far.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
If any ranking on this list has potential to spark disagreement, this might be it. Yes, I prefer the original version to this remake. But I also really love this remake. It has a very different mood from the original, but I absolute love how it looks. The core game is as great as ever, and while some of the additions don’t do a whole lot for the overall experience, I truly believe there’s something valuable in having a slightly different spin on this all-time classic.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
After many years and many installments that struggled to get out from under the shadow of Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shattered conceptions of what a Zelda game could be and redefined the brand for a new generation. Its impressively alive open world, myriad secrets, and sheer sense of unbridled discovery stoked the fires of curiosity in the same way the original game did on the NES back in 1986. It’s not hard to see why this rocketed past every other entry to become the highest-selling game in the series, a title it may well hold for a very long time.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
How can you surpass something like Breath of the Wild, especially on the same hardware? It was a question on the minds of many leading up to the release of Tears of the Kingdom, and it turned out the answer was to add a lot more stuff to find and do, pen a fascinating story, and double down on the opportunities for silly and amazing organic moments. You could easily spend hundreds of hours exploring the world of Tears of the Kingdom even if you did the same in its predecessor, and you might not even notice just how long you’ve been playing. The question now becomes how the Zelda team will improve on this, but I’m sure they’ll have a good answer for us in due time. For the moment? This is the top of an excellent bunch of games.
Well, that looks about right. As usual with any list, I’m sure most of you will disagree with some or all of it. Such is life. But if so, I’d love for you to comment below and let me know what your favorite Legend of Zelda games are on Switch. I’m sure at least someone out there has some spicy takes to share! I’ll likely swing around again with another zesty ranking list in the future, but I can’t imagine what the topic might be-kachu. Thanks for reading!