The Legend of Zelda is to High Fantasy gaming what Harry Potter is to contemporary literature. No matter how long the franchise stretched, or how much it was commercialised officially and by spin-off and copy artists, the world has followed Link and his adventures. For some of us, we just can’t get enough.
However, things tend to get a little repetitive and redundant after playing 3 games from the series. You do crave something that has the same sort of fun element, the eagerness to progress through the levels, a similar but fresh fantastic setting and a whole different mission to tackle, perhaps at a different pace as well.
If you’re looking for one as well, here are 20 games like Zelda that we think should get you your favorite kind of entertainment at little cost.
1. Final Fantasy XV
The Final Fantasy games have been a beloved series, currently running its 15th version. The games have a similar theme where you cruise through an enchanting world much similar to the earth but different in several crucial aspect, battle out to complete game missions and go on to defeat the game using your character’s skills as a warrior as well as fantasy elements such as magic. The game is available in multiple iterations for virtually every build of popular devices, which makes it an especially accessible option. Not to mention, it has helped the game become the cult phenomenon it is today.
2. Spiral Knights
Another MMORPG that can very well replace The Legend of Zelda is Spiral Knights. The game has been received quite enthusiastically by the gamer community, and it is easy to see why. The game is a fast paced battle sequence with multiple people from across the world that ensures you always face a new strategy and game plan, and the difficulty levels remain at par with how well versed you are at the game. The gameplay is easy, there is little unnecessary frill and most importantly, the game is engaging and enticing.
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3. The Binding of Isaac Rebirth
The Binding of Isaac was a pretty fun game, so the developers made another iteration of it. The Binding on Isaac Rebirth is fun to play as well as watch being played. The many power-ups, the enemies to defeat and the abilities your character develops are all light hearted and comical. The game is a great way to introduce the idea of germs and infection to the minds of kids as well, for what it’s worth. In terms of difficulty though, this might need more experience with the controller or keyboard in the higher levels. In all other aspects, The Binding of Isaac Rebirth is among the best high fantasy games in the market, and it is almost a shame it wasn’t introduced to me before i tried out some choices while researching for this article.
I totally understand if you’re looking for a game that has the familiar DOS inspired interface. Anodyne is one such example that I’m sure you will love. What’s cute about this game is that the character you play is armed with just a broom stick that you wield to slay enemies or to move dirt around and create an open path. The game does remind you of maze arcades that were once all the rage back in the 90s. I don’t mind paying for the game because it honestly a blast. The additional $3 for the soundtrack seems a little out of place, though, even with the extent to which I adore game tracks.
5. Beyond Good and Evil
Raise your hands if you think Ubisoft is the best game developer company. Okay, maybe not many see it that way, but after their South Park game won my heart, I was more than excited to check it out. The storyline is a bit trope infested, but then who cares if you’re having fun, right? It’s certainly better than Mario’s repetitive storyline. Anyway, points to the game for the neat approach to high fantasy. The gameplay can be a bit slow in the beginning, and I did leave it once to return to playing The Binding of Isaac Rebirth, but that could be because I enjoyed it so much. I’m certainly excited for Beyond Good and Evil 2 which should be out any time now.
For those who love minecraft, there is a game with a Zelda like high fantasy layout. Trove wins at gaming because it is uncomplicated and fun. The worlds are expansive and you can build your own corners, cruise through the areas that come pre arranged in the game and fight off enemies that grow tougher and more numerous as the game progresses. Trove is a classic example of how you don’t need graphics high in realism or a complicated storyline to engage players and keep them entertained. If you disagree, maybe the next game will be more your type.
7. Dust: An Elysian Tail
Dust may come off as a bit juvenile in the beginning, with a slow story mode with too many cutscenes that will leave you no option but to let out a groan. But 10 minutes into the game when they abate, you discover how much this game is a marvel. The game becomes challenging pretty quickly, which is what keeps you engrossed. The animation and effects are cute, the characters being a little too kawaii IMO. It is almost a reinvention of Sonic and Prince of Persia. Speaking of which…
8. Prince of Persia
OK every 90s kid has played this game, and those who haven’t have never lived their childhood. Prince of Persia is based roughly on the tale of Aladdin we all have watched as a beloved cartoon series as well as a Jake Gyllenhaal movie, and it was perhaps the first instance the Arab protagonist figured as a blonde dude. Seriously. Jokes aside, PoP is a classic, and it is the perfect alternative to Zelda for those looking for one. The challenge lies in completing the game within the hour the game allows you or watch as the princess suffers an anxious death.
Not a lot of High Fantasy games take things the way of “A Bug’s Life”. There are a lot of side missions in this game, which is what I find attractive. The characters are adorable, though the gameplay tends to get a little cliched at times. There is little else to chastise the game about. I’d call it a poor cousin of EA Games’ Harry Potter series, but the game chooses to delve more in the physical aspects of the game than the fantastical, unlike HP’s equal stress on both.
Skyrim is a name everyone is in love with. It’s not that high for being a high fantasy game, but I guess it does have dragons and some magic so it should count. The game has pretty neat graphics, and the area to explore through the game is a bit too much if you ask me. I won’t shy away from saying that the game is better than Zelda. There is more to the game than just rescuing someone Mario style, which is what interests me. The storyline and cutscenes are enjoyable and remain relevant to the scenario, which is something of a rarity, which is why this game makes it to this list.
11. Tomb Raider
You’re not a real gaming geek until you’ve played Tomb Raider. The game is everything that defines entertainment for our generation. It has action, a storyline decent enough to spawn a movie expected next year, and an experience to propel the game to cult status. The action is pretty fast paced, relies quite extensively on the player’s strategy and manages to keep you on the edge of your seat, allowing you to choose your upgrades and more. There is a lot to enjoy in the game besides the mission as well, such as the shooting, the exploration of the many lairs and levels as well as the pretty advanced graphics. I recommend using a good quality graphics card with this one.
12. Hyper Light Drifter
The most mesmerising part about Hyper Light Drifter are the graphics. Even though the game opts for a pixel-based approach to graphic design, it is still pretty fancy. It is like playing the Dust game in two dimension motion instead on a simplistic forward-backward routine. The story is more attractive than Zelda’s original first few games, but I think the action could have been taken further in the first few levels. The game is only a year old, but there’s more to blame for the game’s lack of popularity despite the decent gameplay. The storyline and its angsty tone could be one.
If a 20 minute exposition doesn’t bother you, you might enjoy Okami. The game itself is pretty engaging, where you must go ahead to save the Kamiki village by fulfilling your quest as the hero, accompanied by a helper bug. Collect the 13 deities on Restoration and conquer evil to restore the village you are dedicated to protecting. The game has some pretty neat animation and the storyline is better than most of its rivals. The game could have been paced better, but if you enjoy the high fantasy genre of gaming, you’ll be less likely to complain. Do check this one out.
Oceanhorn is a game that is a Zelda alternative in the true sense. The characters are similar, especially the protagonist. The designs are pretty alike too. The game, however, does have better graphics from the original zeldas, and the gameplay is adequately paced. The story gets into cliches and tropes, but it can be chucked aside since there isn’t much you see of it while playing the levels. Like Tomb Raider, Oceanhorn is best played with a good quality graphics card installed.
15. Darksiders 2
Darksiders 2 is like an angsty version of Dust: An Elysian Tail. The characters, the settings and the graphics all have been designed as dark and morose. It lends a lot of seriousness to the entire game, so people who enjoy Zelda like high fantasy but with more darkness in the theme might find this more suitable to their palate. It does remind one of God of War, another iconic game series along with Zelda, but at least the first few hours of the game are unique and engaging, to say the least.
Bastion is nothing like Zelda, it is better. The game takes your character to a cruise through a fantastic world where you must battle monsters, break objects to earn power ups and clear the way forward. The action sequences are pretty intriguing and the powers your character has are pretty wide ranging too. Zelda had fewer displays of creativity, IMHO. To be fair, however, Bastion did come out in 2011 when many of the elements invoked had been around to almost be considered public domain. Nevertheless, the game strikes all the right chords with users, which makes it a potential Zelda for this decade.
17. Secret of Mana
Another Zelda alternative that operates in the same paradigm as Zelda, using a very Dos-like interface and Zelda-esque missions to accomplish, Secret of Mana is a pretty intriguing game that you must try out. The game is pretty old, having come out 24 years ago, but it is still good if you like getting a little nostalgic, and to show your kids what gaming back in your day was like. You certainly won’t find it stand in front of giants like Tomb Raider or even Prince of Persia, but it is certainly a collector’s item if you find games like Zelda and Mario appealing.
18. Across Age
For the Anime-like exposition and art, the layout that looks like Pokemon Red does surprise you. Not everything is in that format, though. The menus, the icons and the interface are more contemporary in appeal. The game did come out in 2010, but it could still work. The same old anime tropes (the female characters being clad like a Victoria’s Secret model, the emo-teen targeting characters) do make this game a bit exhausting and frustrating, but if you can overlook those, this is a good game to try out.It definitely makes a good substitute for the Legend of Zelda.
19. Megaman Legends
This one’s 20 years old, but it is still a good Alternative to Zelda. The game’s poor graphics and the ugly transition makes the game pretty unattractive, and it does lose your attention a couple of times, but when you’re engrossed, there is not much you find missing. A pretty wholesome experience, I would say.
Also, something I didn’t notice right away was the detail in the scenes. It’s not too much, but they did put in quite a bit of effort into it, so it deserves appreciation.
20. Kingdom Hearts Series
This game has some pretty neat graphics, and that is what stands out with this game, not much else. Not even the Disney characters. The gameplay does get interesting in the final scene and the boss fights are intriguing too. But not much else can be said about this game. The games are good for entertaining yourself over the weekend, and it doesn’t take much effort to finish the game. But there are gems in the series like the 1.5 Final Mix version which is set in a pretty wonderful beach and the characters are especially well animated. Do consider watching a walkthrough or a trailer online before downloading it; it is one of those games that can please and displease gaming fans in equal likelihood.
That’s all for this list. As many as 20 alternatives for a game as iconic as Zelda; who knew it was possible? Well now that you do, you need to figure out which ones you’re going to try out right away.
Have a different game you think should be on this link? Tell us all about it in the comments below and maybe we’ll add it to this list.