The Zelda game series is immensely popular around the world and they’re often cited as some of the greatest video games of all time.
With that in mind, we thought it would be appropriate to put together a list of what we believe are the best Zelda games of all time, based on sales and popularity, so you can decide which ones you want to play.
So, without delay, here’s a list of the 15 best Zelda games of all time (ranked):
The 15 Best Zelda Games of All Time (Ranked)
These are the 15 best Zelda games of all time (ranked):
15. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons is one of two Zelda games released for the Game Boy color in 2001.
The game was developed by Flagship and is the seventh installment in the Zelda series.
Orale of Seasons is played from an overhead perspective, and players control the protagonist, Link.
In the game, Link is transported to Holodrum, armed with a sword and shield, and must battle his way through enemies and puzzles while searching for the eight Essences of nature and the eight Essences of time.
Oracle of Seasons was deemed a critical success as it sold more than 3.9 million copies.
It was also incredibly popular in Japan, becoming their third best-selling Game Boy color game!
14. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
As mentioned above, Oracle of Ages was released alongside Oracle of Seasons and is the eighth installment in the Zelda series.
This time, Triforce transports Link to the forest land of Labrynna, where Veran possesses Nayru, and Link must defeat Veran to set Queen Ambi free.
Much like its companion title, Oracle of Ages sold over 3.9 million units and was deemed a critical and commercial success.
It was rated the 39th best game made on a Nintendo System, in Nintendo’s Power Top 200 Games List, and critics praised its gameplay, colorful designs, and graphical quality.
13. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Next on the list is Twilight Princess, the thirteenth installment in the Legend of Zelda series.
The action-adventure game was developed and published by Nintendo and released on the GameCube & Nintendo Wii.
It was initially set to be released in 2005; however, it was delayed due to developers needing to refine certain aspects of the game, and was therefore officially released in 2006.
It follows Link on his journey to prevent Hyrule from being taken over by a corrupted parallel dimension, known as the Twilight Realm.
During the game, Link takes on the form of a wolf and a Hylian and is accompanied by Midna, a mysterious creature.
Twilight Princess received critical acclaim and sold 8.85 million copies worldwide by the end of 2015.
It’s considered by many to be one of the greatest video games of all time!
12. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Coming in at number twelve is Four Swords Adventures.
It’s the eleventh installment in the Zelda series and was released for the GameCube and other home video consoles throughout 2004-2005.
In this installment, Link goes on an adventure to restore peace to Hyrule, after finding out that his evil counterpart, Shadow Link, has been causing all kinds of mayhem.
Four Swords Adventures received positive reviews from critics and was considered the 48th-best game made for a Nintendo system, by Nintendo Power.
It was also the best-selling game of June 2004 in North America, with over 155,000 units sold!
11. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
The eleventh best Zelda Game of all time is Phantom Hourglass.
The game was developed and published by Nintendo and released on the Nintendo DS in 2007.
It’s the fourteenth installment in the Legend of Zelda series and the sequel to The Wind Waker.
The game’s story follows Link’s journey to rescue his friend Tetra from Bellum, all with the help of Captain Linebeck and his trusty ship, the S.S. Linebeck.
Phantom Hourglass received a positive response upon release, with critics giving praise to its control scheme and gameplay.
It won the Nintendo DS Game of the Year award from GameSpot, IGN, and GameSpy, as well as several other game industry awards over the years.
10. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo.
It was released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS and rereleased in 2016 for the Wii U Virtual Console.
Link finds himself traveling across the game’s Overworld in a steam train to pick up his engineer’s certificate from Hyrule Castle.
However, Link soon finds himself helping Princess Zelda escape from the castle, escorting her to the Tower of Spirits, as that’s where she believes the mystery of the disappearing train tracks lies.
Upon release, Spirit Tracks was ranked as the second best selling game in Japan, selling more than 290,000 copies, and won the “GAME” Award of 2009 in the BAFTAs via a reader’s choice nomination!
9. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is the twelfth installment in the Zelda series and was developed by Flagship and Capcom, with some input from Nintendo.
It was released in Japan and Europe in 2004 on the Game Boy Advance and then the following year in North America and Australia.
In this installment, the story expands on Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures and revolves around a magical talking cap called Ezlo, which can shrink Link down to the size of a bug-sized race, the Minish, that live in Hyrule.
The Minish Cap received a positive response from critics and was GameSpot’s 2005 Game Boy Advance Game of the Year!
8. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The eighth best Zelda game of all time is Skyward Sword.
Developed and published by Nintendo, Skyward Sword is the sixteenth mainline installment in the Zelda series and was released worldwide in 2011.
Players take control of the series protagonist, Link, and navigate him around the floating island of Skyloft and all the land which lies below it.
While browsing, Link must complete a series of quests that advance the story and unlock useful information.
Skyward Sword was a critical and commercial success, selling over three million copies worldwide, and won numerous game industry awards.
7. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Wind Walker is a 2002 action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo.
It’s the tenth installment in the Nintendo Series and was released directly for the GameCube.
Set on a group of islands, the game follows the series protagonist Link, as he embarks on a mission to save his sister from Ganon, an evil sorcerer, while simultaneously trying to obtain Triforce, a sacred wish-granting relic.
Several allies accompany Link throughout the game, such as Tetra, the pirate captain, an incarnation of Princess Zelda, and a talk boat called the King of Red Lions.
Upon release, The Wind Walker received critical acclaim for its gameplay, design, story, and visuals and won several Game of the Year awards.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Link’s Awakening is one of the oldest Legend of Zelda games on our list, released in 1993.
It’s the fourth installment in the Zelda series and was developed and published by Nintendo.
In this installment, Link finds himself in a different land to Hyrule, as he’s transported to the Island of Koholint, which is heavily guarded by a whale-like deity called the Wind Fish.
As a player, you’re in control of Link and must guide him through many puzzles and quests to find the eight musical instruments that will allow Link to awaken the sleeping Wind Fish and free himself from the island.
Link’s Awakening is considered to be one of the best video games of all time and was a critical and commercial success.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Coming in at number five on our list of the best Zelda games of all time is Majora’s Mask.
This action-adventure video game was released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64 and is the sixth main installment in The Legend of Zelda series.
Majora’s Mask is set in an alternate reality to Hyrule, Termina. Link must hunt down the mischievous imp called Skull Kid as he’s stolen the most powerful ancient artifact known to man, Majora’s Mask.
If Link doesn’t manage to find him, things can go wrong for Termina very quickly!
Upon release, Majora’s Mask earned critical acclaim with praise given for its gameplay, graphics, and exciting storyline.
After selling over 3.3 million copies worldwide, the game has been cited as one of the greatest video games of all time!
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
A Link Between Worlds is the seventeenth installment in The Legend of Zelda series and the sequel to A Link to the Past.
It was developed and published by Nintendo in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS and is an action-adventure game that follows the usual series protagonist, Link.
After the evil sorcerer Yuga captures Princess Zelda, creates chaos in the Kingdom of Hyrule, and escapes through a rift to the world of Lorule, Link makes it his mission to go after him, rescue the princess and restore the balance to Hyrule.
Within only five short months, A Link Between Worlds sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide and received multiple industry awards and nominations.
3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The third best Zelda game of all time is A Link to the Past.
Developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it was released in Japan in 1991 and North America and Europe in 1992.
The action-adventure video game focuses on Links’ journey to save Hyrule, defeat the dark lord Ganon and rescue the descendants of the Seven Sages.
In this installment, the game is played from a top-down perspective, which pays homage to the original Legend of Zelda video game.
A Link to the Past has sold over four million copies worldwide and is considered a landmark game for Nintendo.
It received critical acclaim and commercial success, and is considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time!
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The second best Zelda game of all time is Ocarina of Time.
It was developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 and was released in 1998.
In this installment of the action-adventure game, players control the series protagonist, Link, as he’s on a quest to stop the evil spread of King Ganondorf’s wrath across Hyrule.
Link has to travel through time and navigate several dungeons on his journey, but he must do whatever it takes to restore order to the kingdom.
Upon release, Ocarina of Time received widespread critical acclaim and became a huge commercial success.
It won industry awards left, right and center, and is cited as the greatest video game ever made!
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Topping the list of the best Zelda games of all time is Breath of the Wild.
Developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U, on March 3, 2017, this action-adventure video game quickly became the best-selling Zelda game of all time, with over 17.84 million copies sold worldwide.
Set at the end of the Zelda timeline, players control Link after he’s awoken from a hundred-year slumber.
His mission is to hunt down and destroy Calamity Ganon before the beast has the chance to destroy the kingdom of Hyrule.
You’re able to explore the open world as you wish, and little instruction is given on where to go, so it’s entirely up to you!
As you would expect from the best Zelda game of all time, Breath of the Wild received critical acclaim for its open-ended gameplay and attention to detail.
It’s regularly cited as one of the greatest video games of all time and has won countless “Game of the Year” awards.
By the end of 2019, Breath of the Wild had sold over 17.84 million copies worldwide, cementing its place in history as the best-selling Zelda game ever!
We hope you enjoyed our list of the 15 best Zelda games of all time (ranked).
What do you reckon? Do you agree with the top three?
It mostly comes down to personal preference, but based on sales alone, Breath of the Wild smokes the floor with the rest of the Zelda games on the list, and just so happens to be our favorite!
Here’s a quick recap of the 15 best Zelda games of all time (ranked):
- Breath of the Wild
- Ocarina of Time
- A Link to the Past
- A Link Between Worlds
- Majora’s Mask
- Link’s Awakening
- The Wind Waker
- Skyward Sword
- The Minish Cap
- Spirit Tracks
- Phantom Hourglass
- Four Swords Adventures
- Twilight Princess
- Oracle of Ages
- Oracle of Seasons
What’s your favorite Zelda Game? Leave a comment below.
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