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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Game Poster Image
Fab remake of classic game shines on Wii U.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy, puzzle solving, how to help others, and the strength of family bonds in this colorful and upbeat action/adventure game. Players will need to figure out effective tactics when fighting enemies and use logic to solve puzzles within the environment. They also have the ability to craft helpful hints and messages that they can send off for other players to find. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD's contextual conundrums and ability to let players help players make it an engaging learning adventure.

Positive Messages

Themes of courage, heroism, honor, duty, and bravery abound in this traditional fantasy adventure. Violence plays a prominent role in conflict resolution but it's generally quite cartoonish and sometimes even humorous.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young Link makes a pretty good role model. He only fights when he needs to, and he's always willing to lend a hand to his neighbors and friends, whether that means cutting some grass or rounding up pigs. Plus, he's a devoted brother who risks his life to save his sister.

Ease of Play

In-game tutorials teach players all of Link's moves and usually provide time for players to practice before they need to use them. However, younger players should know that some of the fights get a bit hairy, and the puzzles can take a while to figure out. To help kids, special "Tingle" bottles found within the game provide hints written by other players for that particular area. Players looking for a real challenge, meanwhile, can switch on Hero Mode whenever they like, which makes battles much more difficult. It can also be switched back off.


Players use traditional weapons, including a sword, a boomerang, a bow, and a shield, to fight cartoonish enemies, such as slimes, various types of goblins, bats, skeletons, and armored creatures. There's no red blood, but some enemies leak a bit of green liquid when struck. All simply disappear in a puff of smoke once defeated.


This game is part of Nintendo's popular Zelda franchise, which includes plenty of merchandise outside the game -- including toys and stuffed animals -- to tempt young fans.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a cartoonish action game with a bit of light role-playing thrown in. The game's hero, Link, is a young boy who enjoys helping those in need and is particularly concerned with rescuing his little sister from some evil kidnappers. Players use weapons including a sword and a shield to fight a variety of fantastical creatures -- including goblins, skeletons, and bats -- who fall to the ground and disappear in colorful plumes of smoke once defeated.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCommonSenseReviewer October 7, 2013

Wind Waker HD is an excellent atmospheric action-puzzle game, as it was 10 years ago

Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was released a little over 10 years ago on the Nintendo Gamecube, and is now on the Wii U in high definition. The graphical upd... Continue reading
Adult Written byDCB2524 November 19, 2017

Fun Adventure Game

This game is great for kids and adults. Adventure, puzzles, and a few parts that even made me laugh out loud. The only concern I have as a parent is that it may... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 7, 2013


Get it. Just get it. The controller is great for tiny hands, but it does get hard at some points of the game. Sometimes it even stumped me! I also have to say j... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old October 6, 2013

Zelda is FINE

Zelda is fine for 6 year olds. It has not very graphic violence, and all of my fiends have it.

What's it about?

Not a fresh Zelda adventure but rather a remake of a decade-old GameCube classic, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER HD puts players in the green suit and pointy cap of a young boy who has come of hero's age. Tragedy strikes on his birthday when, shortly after learning how to use a sword and a shield, his sister is kidnapped by a giant bird. In hopes of finding her, Link decides to hitch a ride on a passing pirate ship. From there, he adventures far and wide to islands around the ocean, growing ever closer to the source of the evil that took his sister. Along the way he finds and equips himself with better and stronger weapons and items and learns new abilities, all the while fighting goblins and skeletons, helping people in need, and solving plenty of contextual puzzles so he can keep moving forward.

Is it any good?

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD isn't just a prettied-up, high-definition version of the game that came out in 2002. Nintendo's designers tweaked several key elements in an effort to create a better and more modern gaming experience. For example, you can now purchase an item called the Swift Sail that makes sailing from one location to another a much speedier process than in the original game. Also, the GamePad controller is put to use in several interesting ways, from offering an easy-to-reference map and inventory guide to providing a quick way to remap frequently used items to primary buttons. The screen can even be used to play the game away from the TV. Finally, a new Hero Mode, which can be switched on and off whenever you like, gives experienced players seeking a greater challenge a way to make battles much more difficult.

Whether these changes are enough to make older players who have sunk dozens of hours into the original game feel the need to play again is debatable. Still, Nintendo does a great job of modernizing a classic game and making it relevant to a fresh generation of younger gamers, many of whom weren't even born when The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker first came out.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. What criteria does your family use to determine whether a game is too violent for you and your siblings? Do you think the judgments are fair?

  • Families also can discuss gender roles in games. Why do you think the Legend of Zelda games don't put kids in control of Zelda, but instead a boy named Link must usually save the titular princess? Do you think many boys would refuse to play a game in which they controlled a female hero?

Game details

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