All 18 Legend of Zelda games ranked from worst to best

Legend of Zelda games ranked: #12-7

Here are the Zelda games that we have determined belong in the dead center of our ranking.

12. The Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures

Zelda Four Swords Adventures

Zelda Four Swords Adventures (Image credit: Nintendo)
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CategoryThe Legend of Zelda
TitleFour Sword Adventures
DateMarch 18, 2004

Four Sword Adventures is, in our opinion, the most realized multiplayer Zelda game, held back from greatness by the convoluted control scheme. It did improve on a lot of the issues we had with the original Four Swords. There were more team-up opportunities, better puzzles, an overworld to explore, and an actual story. And when you get a bunch of friends, the gameplay is so frenetic and fun.

So, what was the problem? Well, to play multiplayer, every player needed a GBA and a GCN to GBA link cable. During the GameCube era, the system was the go-to console for local multiplayer. So, Nintendo decided to have players ignore their GameCube controllers in favor of a Gameboy Advance and a cable. While the second screen was certainly unique, the gimmick was just that, a gimmick. Why is Nintendo hellbent on making me play my Zelda games in weird ways? I just want to use the controller I already have! I do think that Four Swords Adventures could shine as an NSO title today. Nintendo, you have an opportunity to right an egregious wrong here!

11. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages / Oracle of Seasons

Zelda Oracle Of Ages And Seasons

Zelda Oracle Of Ages And Seasons (Image credit: iMore)
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CategoryThe Legend of Zelda
TitleOracle of Ages | Oracle of Seasons
DateFebruary 27, 2001
PlatformGame Boy, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 3DS

Our next entry on the list is actually two different games. Released on the exact same day, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons offer very different stories and games that intertwine. Since these games tie into one another, we've placed them together, especially since you can transfer items between them and get a special boss battle after completing them both. What makes these games unique is that choices can determine what happens later in the game. Selecting a specific partner, for instance, determines the layout of particular areas.

While Oracle of Ages is more puzzle-focused, Oracle of Seasons is all about action. Each provides something special and connecting both games with the Game Link Cable or passwords, you can interact with both games. Unfortunately, you do need both games to do this. But if you have them both, you can really get a full experience, including that hidden boss fight. The puzzles are challenging, the music is unique, and they earn their spot.

10. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Zelda Minish Cap

Zelda Minish Cap (Image credit: Nintendo)
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CategoryThe Legend of Zelda
TitleThe Minish Cap
DateJanuary 10, 2005
PlatformGame Boy Advance, Wii U

The Minish Cap is the third game that follows the Four Sword legend and expands the story of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. But in this game, there's no multiplayer requirement or any real multiplayer at all. This was the first traditional Zelda game on the GameBoy Advance and the second Zelda game developed by Capcom. Taking inspiration from other 2D Zelda games, we follow Link as he explores Hyrule and the Minish miniature world.

Minish Cap stands out for its unique art style, taking full advantage of the Gameboy Advance hardware. The pixel art shines, even to this day, and the unique characters and setting help Minish Cap rise above many other Zelda's on this list. While it didn't break new ground, it's still a very solid and fun Zelda game. The Minish Cap debuted on the GBA in 2004 but was given away to 3DS ambassadors, and in 2014, it made its way to the Wii U.

9. The Legend of Zelda

Zelda Original Take This

Zelda Original Take This (Image credit: iMore)
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CategoryThe Legend of Zelda
TitleThe Legend of Zelda
DateFebruary 21, 1986
PlatformNES, Famicom, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, NES Classic, Nintendo Switch

What can be said about the OG, the game to start it all? The original Legend of Zelda is a classic that, regardless of it's NES graphics, completely holds up today. What's better is that you don't need to dig out your NES to play this amazing game; it's available on the Switch for anyone with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription! Based on Shigeru Miyamoto's exploration as a child, this game keeps things simple. Link is on an adventure to find the Triforce periods so he might defeat Ganon and save Princess Zelda.

The OG Zelda defined the action-adventure genre. From its top-down world view to the open-world exploration, this game is a great balance of challenge and accessibility. You do have to figure out a few things on your own, but there are no horrible difficulty spikes or easy-breezy sections. It's well balanced, and while the graphics may have seen better days, the retro-look isn't distracting. There's a reason why people keep returning to this classic title, and if you haven't played it yet, you should.

Link Between Worlds

Link Between Worlds (Image credit: Nintendo)
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CategoryThe Legend of Zelda
TitleA Link Between Worlds
DateNovember 22, 2013
PlatformNintendo 3DS

Positioned as a spiritual successor to A Link to the Past and the first original Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds takes place in the 3DS version of Hyrule, but this time without the threat of Ganon. Instead, Link must defeat Yuga, a dark sorcerer transforming every sage in Hyrule into a painting. Link must pursue Yuga across both Hyrule and Lorule but sliding between worlds as a sentient mural. This Zelda is a weird one, but it's also a really good one.

Despite having all of the traditional Zelda trappings, A Link Between Worlds changes the status quo by making progression more open-ended. Thanks to renting or buying items from the eccentric shopkeeper, Ravio, players can explore dungeons in any order they'd like. This was our first taste of a nonlinear Zelda, and it tasted pretty good. The isometric 3D visuals would also lay the groundwork for the visual presentation seen in the Link's Awakening remake.

7. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Zelda Twilight Princess

Zelda Twilight Princess (Image credit: Nintendo)
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CategoryThe Legend of Zelda
TitleTwilight Princess
DateNov. 19, 2006
PlatformGameCube, Wii, Wii U, NVIDIA Shield TV

There was some major backlash over the "Toon Link" design following the release of The Wind Waker. Thankfully, Twilight Princess filled the void for fans longing for a more realistic Legend of Zelda. Twilight Princess offered a darker story than the previous entry, with some darker graphics to match. Like Skyward Sword, if you bought the Wii version of Twilight Princess, you had the option to use motion controls. Thankfully, you didn't have to stick with them, and if you owned the GameCube version, you could avoid them altogether! With a wave of interesting new items, characters, and areas to explore, Twilight Princess was the best-selling Zelda game until Breath of the Wild released.

While there is much to love about Twilight Princess, the graphics are blurry, low-res, and pretty hard to see at times, even in the HD remake on the Wii U. Though the gritty look may not have aged as well, the gameplay certainly has. It's still considered one of the best of the series with intricate dungeons, unique new items, and memorable characters.

Sara Gitkos

Sara is the Freelance Coordinator, writer, and editor at iMore. When not editing or writing away, she's glued to her Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PS5, though she's a retro gamer at heart.