Hey! A little fairy has been whispering exciting rumours about Nintendo’s next mobile game after Super Mario Jump and Fire Emblem Heroes, and it’s about as big as it gets: Zelda. The Wall Street Journal is reporting this week that Nintendo are working on a smartphone game set in the Legend of Zelda franchise, and that the game is likely to launch later this year after the planned Animal Crossing mobile game (which, aside: squeee!).
The Wall Street Journal is as reliable a publication as they come, so you can probably leave the salt cellar on the table. Sadly, what the bombshell report leaves out is just what form this game could take. Nintendo, unlike their former rival Sega, have been very wary of simply porting its hit games over to touchscreens, preferring to create new experiences created with iPhone and Android displays in mind. That means a port of Breath Of The Wild is pretty unlikely (boo) but if anybody knows how to make a good spin-off game, it’s the folks at Nintendo. So what can we expect instead? We’ve got a few ideas, ranked in order of probability, hyrulest to lowest.
Link’s Mobile Crossbow Training
Our bag of rupees is very much on this. The original Link’s Crossbow Training was a gimmicky little spin-off for the Wii, primarily designed to showcase the Wii Zapper light gun accessory, and while we think it’s unlikely Nintendo will have you strapping your smartphone into a moulded gun accessory and have you point it at people on the bus, we do think the concept could translate well to the powerful computer that’s always in your pocket. For one, it could use your phone’s camera to let you play in augmented reality, bursting bubbles on top of your colleagues’ heads in the office or taking photos of Tingle’s lifeless body, run through with a quiverful of arrows, lying on the grass in the park, just like Pokémon GO’s AR mode. Maybe not that last one, actually.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes
While not that well received when it launched on Nintendo 3DS in 2015, we’d argue that much of the disappointment came from the fact that fans were getting a spin-off instead of another mainline Zelda installment. Tri-Force Heroes is a perfectly charming game, and more importantly, heavily focused on co-op play (as you might have guessed from the name, three of you must team up to work your way through puzzle infested dungeons). Nintendo have studiously avoided true competitive multiplayer in their mobile offerings so far, but this seems like the perfect opportunity to roll it out, not least because a co-op multiplayer mode without the ability to swear would reduce the inevitable trolling.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
While we’re not convinced that Nintendo would break protocol for Zelda, we can certainly dream. While none of the fully 3D Zelda games would translate well to a touchscreen (admit it, twin glass thumbsticks are not fun), we’re confident that the top down viewpoint and less demanding nature of this wonderful 3D outing would translate brilliantly to mobile. A sequel of sorts to the seminal SNES classic, A Link To The Past, this bitesized adventure is perfect for stop start sessions on smartphones, and frankly, Zelda is arguably the one franchise where fans would pay top dollar on iTunes or Google Play instead of coughing up pennies at a time for a cynical freemium model that locks you out after a certain amount of time.
Flappy Bird remixed with Tingle, the friendly 35-year old fairy man, anyone?
Majora’s Mask: The App
No, not a remake of the unsettling N64 outing, but an app designed for 2017’s “digital natives”, designed to unseat the likes of Snapchat. The concept is simple: you snap photos of you or your mates, then overlay them with the various masks from the game and laugh as your friend is transformed into a Deku Scrub or a bloated Goron. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But last we checked, Snap was worth more than $28 billion on the stock market, so.
Bejeweled: Hyrule Edition
What it says on the tin (or should that be milk bottle?). It’s Bejeweled, only with brightly coloured rupees, and you have to play it while standing in a bush. From Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensei to Mario and Sonic sports titles, Nintendo is not shy about mashup collaborations, so don’t rule it out, we say.
Zelda II: The Endless Adventure Of Link
Would Nintendo double dip on the endless runner format so soon after Super Mario Run? It’s unlikely, certainly, but we love the idea nonetheless. For the unacquainted, the original Zelda II for the NES was actually a sidescrolling platformer – and the perfect nostalgia blast to play on your phone on an endless loop as you ping deku nuts, arrows and spells at oncoming obstacles. New sprites, such as Link in later, less 8-bit incarnations, would surely be available as in-app purchases.