Thanks to the length of the console’s lifecycle, as well as the classic game collections that its online service provides to players, the Nintendo Switch has one of the absolute best libraries of first-party games of any of the company’s platforms. This includes The Legend of Zelda series, which appears on the console almost in totality between full retail releases and digital ports of classic games available on Nintendo Switch Online. That said, some games have yet to make their way to the Switch whose absence is sorely felt.
In terms of the games in the Zelda series that have absolutely no presence on the Switch whatsoever, there are two standouts in the GameCube and DS-era titles. Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks; none of these games are available on the platform in any way, shape, or form. Beyond these curiously absent titles, though, are a slew of classic Zelda games that are only available via the Nintendo Switch Online service and its classic game collections, whether the standard or premium Expansion Pass subscriptions. All of these games deserve to come to the system as their own dedicated series collections showcasing the history of The Legend of Zelda and freeing them from digital exclusivity.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time may be available as part of Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack premium subscription, but it deserves much more than just a digital release. The first 3D Zelda hit a major milestone this year in turning 25 years old, and it’s incredible to see just how well the gameplay of Ocarina of Time holds up in comparison to other games of the era and to other Zelda games. There’s a reason that every subsequent 3D game in the series follows Ocarina of Time‘s formula until the radical shift of Breath of the Wild, and the game deserves a special anniversary release on its own dedicated Switch cartridge.
Not only that, only being able to access Ocarina of Time via Switch Online limits players to only playing the game when within radius of a Wi-Fi signal. The Switch still needs to check and verify player subscription before they can access any of the games in the classic game collection, meaning it’s impossible to enjoy some Ocarina of Time on-the-go without use of a mobile hotspot. In terms of which version should come to the Switch, it’s hard to argue against the excellent Ocarina of Time 3D remaster for being the definitive version of the game that should come to Nintendo’s hybrid console.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Just like Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask is one of the best 3D Zelda games in the history of the series and is also only available on the Switch courtesy of the Nintendo Switch Online service. And, also like its Nintendo 64 predecessor, Majora’s Mask has an excellent remaster that is exclusive to the 3DS. Bringing Majora’s Mask 3D to the Switch is practically a no-brainer, as several of the players whose first games in the series were Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask still revere both games as being some of the best in the series. For all the same reasons that Nintendo needs to bring Ocarina of Time to the Switch, Majora’s Mask deserves to come to the platform and reach a wider audience. What would be even better is packaging the games together as part of a Zelda 64 collection.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
That The Wind Waker has yet to come to the Switch is surprising, especially when considering its excellent Wii U remaster in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. The Switch continues to be the de facto home for Wii U titles that went largely unnoticed on Nintendo’s rare flop of a console, and it’s truly a head-scratcher as to why Wind Waker HD isn’t one of the first-party Wii U titles to receive a port. Looking at Wind Waker and seeing how well its charming, cartoon-style visuals hold up compared to most other action-adventure games from the 6th generation makes it even more confusing.
Wind Waker is one of the best Zelda games, and the complete turnaround in fan perception of the title in the years following its initial controversy more than warrants a dedicated Switch port. Plus, the prospect of seeing the game’s vibrant visuals and enchanting world on a Switch OLED screen at 720 is too enticing to ignore. The Switch’s successor may be coming as early as next year, but Nintendo still has time to bring one of the best Zelda games in the series to the current hardware.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Just like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, The Minish Cap is yet another classic Zelda game available as part of the Expansion Pass subscription tier for Nintendo Switch Online. Thanks to its exclusivity to the Switch Online service, players have to have a reliable Wi-Fi connection in order to play this overlooked series gem in handheld mode, which is surprising given that the game debuted on a Nintendo handheld! The Game Boy Advance actually has one of the better Legend of Zelda libraries, and a collection for the Nintendo Switch packaging all of these titles together (with The Minish Cap as the highlight) would likely sell well and bring games like the GBA port of A Link to the Past and Four Swords into players’ collections.
Aside from the validity of having a Switch GBA Zelda collection, The Minish Cap is one of the most unique 2D Zelda games and a fitting conclusion to Nintendo and Capcom’s partnership in developing original Zelda games together. Taking The Minish Cap and both Oracle games and bringing them to players all on one Switch cartridge would both be a fan dream come true, and a display of how well Capcom understands the fundamentals of what makes a great Legend of Zelda game.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess happens to fall in the same camp as Wind Waker by being one of the GameCube titles not in the Switch’s Zelda library and having a Wii U remaster that would be perfect to port to the hybrid console. As the darker, more adult take on The Legend of Zelda following the whimiscal and cartoonish Wind Waker, Twilight Princess still holds a special place in many fans’ hearts as one of the best 3D games in the series and a true spritual successor to Ocarina of Time. The Wii U remaster has plenty of upgrades over the GameCube and Wii original release, and the developers even have plans to enhance it for an eventual Switch port.
Both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom are incredible games that help to revolutionize the aging 3D Zelda formula, but the “classic” 3D Zelda games aren’t very well-represented on the Switch. In terms of which console has some of the best 3D games in the series, it’s hard to make a case against the GameCube being the winner. Both Wind Waker and Twilight Princess highlight the brilliance of The Legend of Zelda series while also being polar opposites of one another, and both games deserve a place in the Switch library.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Phantom Hourglass is the direct sequel to Wind Waker, so it makes sense that if one were to come to the Switch that Nintendo would eventually port the other. The first Zelda for the DS continues the “Cartoon Link” art style of Wind Waker but dramatically switches up the gameplay through clever implementation of the DS’ stylus. One of the primary things likely preventing Nintendo from porting DS and 3DS games ot the Switch is the hybrid console’s lack of a dedicated stylus, but the touch screen of the platform means Nintendo could easily provide fans with official first-party peripherals to rectify this problem.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Both the follow-up to Phantom Hourglass and the final Zelda game for the DS, Spirit Tracks is another largely overlooked handheld Zelda title that deserves more fan appreciation and a wider audience. The Switch is one of Nintendo’s best-selling pieces of hardware, and as a hybrid console it’s perfect for porting over games originally designed for handhelds. If Nintendo ever brings over DS and 3DS titles to the Switch or its successor, it’s almost a guarantee that both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks will end up on the system, and it would make perfect sense to package them together as part of a collection.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
While it’s not a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, A Link Between Worlds does still take place in the same iconic version of Hyrule from the SNES classic. This 3DS-exclusive Zelda is remarkable for how it plays with longtime fans’ nostalgia and upends expectations by placing players in a familiar setting. It also happens to have one of the most unique and ingenious puzzle mechanics in the series with Link’s ability to switch between being full-3D and a 2D painting capable of sliding along flat surfaces. A Link Between Worlds bridges the gap between the final “classic” 3D Zelda and the series’ reinvention in Breath of the Wild, making it an important footnote in the series’ history.
Much like the DS Zelda games, Nintendo could easily port over A Link Between Worlds and other 3DS games and package it as part of a collection. In terms of what other game(s) this potential collection would include, the most obvious answer is A Link to the Past, which is also only available on Switch via the Nintendo Switch Online service. Putting two games set in one of the most iconic and fun versions of Hyrule on the Switch would be a dream come true, and the Switch is in dire need of more great 2D Zelda games to accompany the excellent Link’s Awakening remake.