The Legend of Zelda has grown and evolved over the years, offering players different flavors of its unique formula. But at the core of the overall Zelda experience remains that sense of adventure that has come to define the series.
And while the series has stayed exclusive to Nintendo consoles since it was first introduced on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986, many games have sought to replicate that experience on other platforms with varying levels of success. What follows are some of the very best ones that can be played through Xbox Game Pass.
7 Fable Anniversary
When Fable was first announced prior to its release on the original Xbox in 2004, it was with a lot of features that didn't end up making it into the final game. Regardless of that, it was still able to wow players with its beautiful visuals and open-ended gameplay, going on to sell more than three million copies.
The action RPG owes a lot of that gameplay to innovations introduced in 3D Zelda games like Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, such as the ability to lock on specific enemies during fights. The Anniversary Edition of the game comes bundled with The Lost Chapters expansion, all of which has been spruced up with HD visuals and smoother framerates.
6 Death's Door
Another game that often gets compared to The Legend of Zelda is Death's Door. Released in 2021 before eventually making its way onto Xbox Game Pass in early 2022, the action-adventure title has you playing as a crow whose job it is to reap the souls of the dead.
The game is played from an isometric point of view but showcases several elements reminiscent of a classic Zelda release, like item-based puzzles and dungeons with bosses you'll need to fight at the end. It still manages to strike out an identity of its own though, through its dark yet whimsical setting and sharp gameplay that is challenging without being too difficult.
One aspect of the design in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that gets remarked upon often is its sense of discovery, and Fe is another game that takes that design philosophy to heart, where you can head in almost any direction and still encounter enough sights and wonders to keep yourself engaged.
Players control a fox-like creature who traverses its painterly world through some light platforming and an ability to glide from the top of trees and other pinnacles, much like you can do in Breath of the Wild. Unique to the game though is the ability to communicate with other animals through non-verbal shouts, which can be used to reveal points of interest or nearby objectives.
Developed by Shedworks and released exclusively on PC and Xbox consoles, Sable is an open-world game where players step into the shoes of the titular young nomad. As part of a rite-of-passage known as the Gliding, she must embark on a journey that would take her across a vast desert landscape filled with points of interest.
The game employs a cel-shaded visual style not unlike The Wind Waker, giving it a distinct drawing-brought-to-life aesthetic that is both vibrant and minimalistic. Like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it encourages you to explore its vast open world while meeting various characters and solving environmental puzzles.
In Moonlighter, players take on the role of a shopkeeper whose daily duties are supplemented by nighttime adventures. As such, the game blends the social interactions and day-to-day management of a typical life sim like Stardew Valley with action-RPG elements typically found in traditional Zelda clones.
Its top-down pixel art style in particular should immediately call to mind 2D Zelda games like A Link to the Past and The Minish Cap. And much like those games, you'll be fighting your way through dungeons and slaying all manner of enemies on your quest to become a hero.
While The Legend of Zelda might not be the first thing you think of when playing Undertale, there is no denying the influence the series had on the development of the indie title. This can be seen through its world, which is made up of several unique regions, and the dungeons you'll need to explore during your adventure.
There are even several direct and indirect references made to Zelda games, from power bracelet-shaped croissants to the general aesthetic of its 2D top-down, retro-style graphics. The game itself is distinct for its use of humor and its memorable cast of characters, and it is those things that ultimately make it a standout title that needs to be experienced.
From the very first moment Tunic was announced and shown off to the public, it was clear that it aimed to be a love letter to classic games in The Legend of Zelda series. This is immediately apparent through the green tunic that clads its fox protagonist, to his use of classic Zelda weapons like a sword and shield, among others.
The biggest parallel to the Nintendo series though comes in the form of the in-game instruction manual whose pages you'll need to gather and piece together in order to fully understand some of the game's mechanics and objectives. And those pages are adorned with artwork that looks ripped straight off an actual manual from one of the early Zelda games.
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