If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then The Legend of Zelda must be getting tired of all the compliments thrown its way over the years. With decades of games and spin-off titles to its name, Nintendo’s Zelda series has had a huge influence on the industry, one that can be found in dozens of other games that run wild with familiar gameplay mechanics centered around exploration, clever secrets, and collecting a magical arsenal of weapons to move forward.
Even if you’ve clocked a hundred hours in Breath of the Wild or have kept a Wii U around just to play the best version of Wind Waker, these rove-likes from other studios are worth diving headfirst into for a fresh spin on classic gameplay formulas.
A Short Hike
Zelda games at their best aren’t just a gripping exploration of the world around Link, but also of what you the player are capable of as you inhabit the body of the legendary hero. A Short Hike captures that idea brilliantly, boiling it down to a simple task of climbing a mountain to get a decent smartphone signal and attempting to avoid any distraction on that hike upwards. It’s a deceptively simple setup that steadily becomes more complex as you ascend higher and discover a game that consistently gives back and rewards you for your effort. Low-poly visuals and endearing character interactions only sweeten the deal in this wonderful interactive metaphor about conquering your own personal mountain.