The 9 best PC games like Zelda
There shall be no Tears in this Kingdom
The Legend Of Zelda has always been one of my personal favourite series over the years, but being a Nintendo game, it's obviously never graced the PC in any kind of official capacity. But while we may never get to play a mainline Zelda game on PC, there's no denying it's inspired countless other developers to have a stab at it themselves, hence why we've put together this list of the best PC games like Zelda you can play right now. Whether you're looking to scratch that Tears Of The Kingdom itch or get stuck into something more retro-facing like A Link To The Past, we've got you covered. These are the best Zelda-likes on PC we'd recommend playing today.
Best PC games like Zelda
Before Breath Of The Wild came out, it would have been quite easy to distil what makes a game 'like Zelda'. You'd have action-packed dungeons, exploration, puzzles based around a variety of different items and secrets aplenty. But now that Breath Of The Wild and Tears Of The Kingdom have ditched the classic dungeon formula and gone more open world and immersive sim-like in their design, what we'd now class as a 'Zelda-like' is a little harder to pin down.
This list covers both schools of the Zelda-like. Below, you'll find games that hark back to the classic SNES and Game Boy Zeldas of yore, homages to the 3D Zeldas such as Ocarina Of Time and Twilight Princess, and a couple of open world entries that capture more of that Breath Of The Wild and Tears Of The Kingdom vibe. We'll also flag up which Zelda game it's most like in the words that follow, helping you decide which game you might want to try first. As always, if there's a great game like Zelda you think we've missed, do tell us about it in the comments below.
You can't talk about Zelda-likes without talking about Tunic. This deep homage to classic Zelda games has a very small touch of Dark Souls about its combat, but its approach to puzzle design, secrets and the way its world unfolds is Zelda through and through. Developer Andrew Shouldice has spoken at great length about his love of NES-era Zelda games (and Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link in particular), and it all shines through in this charming, isometric hack and slash adventure that casts you as a strange fox creature who washes up on the shore of a mysterious island.
But Tunic is so much more than just a modern Zelda-like. It's also a love letter to that feeling of playing NES-era Zelda games as well, when you're figuring out the rules of its world with little to no hand-holding, and trying to puzzle out how its instruction manual relates to what you're seeing onscreen. Indeed, part of Tunic's genius is how it tasks you with piecing together page by page its own in-game manual to figure out its many, many secrets. It's beautifully done, and by far the best Zelda-like I've played that captures what Zelda's about, both from a technical perspective in how it's designed, and the kinds of feelings it evokes when you're actually playing it. It might not feel quite as significant to those who never played those older Zelda games, but for people of a certain age, there's really nothing better.
Before Breath Of The Wild came along and ruined action adventure games forever, Okami was the closest thing we ever had to a true 3D Zelda successor. Steeped in Japanese mythology and portrayed in a timeless woodblock painting art style, this tale of a wolf goddess rescuing the land of Nippon from a bevy of evil demons takes you on a wild and wonderful journey that stretches from picturesque mountain villages and bustling cities to dungeons set beneath the ocean waves and inside an emperor's belly. It's positively stuffed full of brilliantly written characters, engrossing sidequests and charming environmental details, and it remains a deep, enthralling adventure almost two decades on from its original release.
This HD version is still locked to 30fps, admittedly, but don't let this minor detail stop you from enjoying one of the best Zelda-like games of the last 20 years. Its 4K resolution support now means Okami has never looked better, and its mouse and keyboard controls are absolutely perfect for its brushstroke-based puzzle solving, easily making this the definitive version of Clover Studio's stonking Zelda-like.
Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition
When you actually sit down and think about it, there are surprisingly few games out there that have taken the ideas laid down in Zelda's N64 masterpiece Ocarina Of Time and tried to make them their own. Ocarina has always been a tough act to follow, of course, but Vigil's first pair of Darksiders games were the rare exceptions, transposing Zelda's spoke-like hub worlds and intricate dungeon design to an altogether more fantastical setting of angels versus demons where you're cast as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
I've chosen Darksiders II here, as it hews slightly closer to that Ocarina Of Time experience of big, meaty dungeons to puzzle your way through, (not to mention its obsession with upgradeable loot now feels very in keeping with Breath Of The Wild), but the first game is worth playing as well, especially if you're a fan of the older God Of War and Devil May Cry games. The two games take place in parallel, too, so you don't need to worry about missing out on the first game's back story if you decide to jump straight in with II. Personally, I also think Death is a more jovial presence than his dour brother War, and his journey through the dwarven Maker's Lands and Realm of the Dead feel like a better parallel for Hyrule compared to his brother's trudge through a demon-morphed New York stand-in. Both games have aged remarkably well, too, thanks to their recent remasters. They're well worth tracking down if you're hungry for a more traditional Zelda-like adventure.
Before Cassette Beasts, there was Lenna's Inception. Bytten Studio's debut game might not look quite as swish as their recent Pokemon-like, but their take on The Legend Of Zelda plays with established Nintendo conventions in very much the same way. Here, the Link-style hero Lance is killed almost instantly right at the start of the game, as your NPC character Lenna fails to give them a proper tutorial. Thus, it falls to you to delve deep into its procedurally generated world, defeat some very cursed-looking archangel monsters in its eight dungeons, and find out why your world is glitching all over the place so you can save your school of students.
It's got big Pony Island vibes - and big Daniel Mullins vibes in general - with its eye for meta commentary, but it's also a fun, strange and slightly creepypasta hack and slash in its own right. I mean, you can have a flaming chicken as a companion, or a flock of blood-sucking bats. What's not to like? Plus, if you have played Cassette Beasts, you'll also appreciate its similar sense of humour, and the same distaste it has for bankers and capitalist scumbags.
Nobody Saves The World
In Nobody Saves The World, Drinkbox Studios have supercharged Zelda's dungeon structure with intense, procedural monster fights, and hitched it to a top down overworld stuffed with smart, body-swapping puzzles. You begin as a weird, naked grub man, but after finding a wizard's magic wand stuffed in a drawer, you gain the ability to transform yourself into multiple different forms, from a teeth-gnashing mouse to an archer, snail, bodybuilder, mermaid and even an egg. It's a madder, more unhinged version of the transformations you get in Majora's Mask, essentially, and it's all wrapped up in the stylish presentation you'd expect from the makers of Guacamelee.
These forms aren't just for show, though. Each one has their own unique abilities to muck around with out in the world, and figuring out the right tool for the job engages all the same brain cells as solving a traditional Zelda puzzle. They all handle differently when it comes to combat, too, giving you loads of daft, fun options in how you approach different enemies. Sure, its dungeons are a lot simpler in design compared to Zelda's - indeed, the game as a whole may well be too roguelite-y for some - but I'd argue that chasing each form's respective micro quests to level them up and make them more powerful is a decent substitute for its lack of dungeon-based switch-flipping and block-pushing. It's probably also the only game on this list to truly capture the same sinister energy as Majora's Mask, because honestly, just look at the hollowed-out stare of your starting Nobody body. That's got big Elegy Of Emptiness Link written all over it.
An irreverent homage to top down Zelda games such as Link's Awakening and A Link To The Past, Ittle Dew imagines what a Zelda game might be like if its hero was a money-grubbing dirtbag with no greater destiny in store than simply having a good time and amassing a small fortune in treasure and trinkets. The eponymous Ittle and her flying rat fox companion Tippsie have zero regard for their reputation on this backwater island, and they'll smack, set fire and blow up anything that happens to be standing in their way, especially if they're guarding a special treasure that will help them get off this god forsaken rock and find a better adventure somewhere else.
But while top down Zeldas are very much the inspiration for a lot of Ittle Dew's puzzles, it also borrows a lot from Phantom Hourglass - and not just because Ittle looks like a knock-off version of Toon Link. Rather, its central castle is a place you'll return to multiple times during your adventure, digging a little deeper inside it on each visit as you work to discover the location of an ancient artefact. The combat isn't brilliant, admittedly, and certainly not on par with any of its Zelda source material. This arguably makes Ittle Dew the weakest link (sorry) on this list, but its puzzles do make up for its lacklustre swordplay.
Minit is not a Zelda-like in the truest sense of the word, but it does do a lot of clever things that are 'like Zelda'. Namely, it's essentially a Game Boy Zelda trading quest in miniature, boiling down that classic sidequest of swapping one item for another with its multitude of NPCs to its truest and purest (and most frantic) form.
As the name implies, your rotund little duck hero only has a minute to live in this mysterious monochrome world, and when that 60 seconds is up they get zapped back to the nearest bed to start their adventure afresh. But within that minute, there's a surprising amount you can accomplish, and bit by bit, bed by bed, you get a little further each time, trading up your inventory for better equipment until you eventually solve the entire riddle of its sped up Majora's Mask-style timeloop. Which I think you'll agree is a lot more satisfying than an extra piece of heart container.
Tchia probably isn't the first game that comes to mind when you think of Zelda, but this sunny island adventure has a lot more Nintendo DNA than you might think. Inspired by the developers' homeland of New Caledonia, Tchia's bright and beautiful archipelago combines the best of Wind Waker's sailing with the open exploration of Breath Of The Wild and shape-shifting puzzle solving of Majora's Mask - just, you know, without a terrifying moon bearing down on you at all times.
It doesn't have dungeons or much combat to speak of, but if the thing you liked best about Breath Of The Wild was just bombing around in Hyrule discovering weird ruins and even stranger clusters of NPCs, then Tchia will scratch that itch perfectly. Did I also mention you can change the time of day by playing your ukelele? Honestly, the Zelda connections run deep with this one, even if its end of chapter music performances do go on for a tad too long at times. But hey, what Tchia lacks in heart-pounding action, it more than makes up for in the comedy antics of your soul-jumping ability, letting you parp out some parrot guano onto a suspecting tourist one minute, and leap gracefully between the waves as a dolphin the next. A perfect Zelda-like to play with the kids.
What do you call a Zelda-like that you definitely don't want to play with the kids? Elden Ring! In truth, Elden Ring also isn't really a Zelda-like compared to some of the other games on this list. What it is, though, is a high fantasy adventure in a large, sprawling land with big nasty monsters, cavernous environments and spectacular boss battles that will make you gasp and cry in equal measure. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you've ever craved a bit more from Zelda's comparatively simplistic combat, Elden Ring and FromSoft's general Soulslike oeuvre should be right up your street.
Indeed, Elden Ring is to Dark Souls what Breath Of The Wild is to the wider Zelda series - a complete reimagining of its own ideas and traditions that simultaneously moves the series forward, but crucially without erasing everything that came before it. I wish I was better at Elden Ring, because The Lands Between is such a gorgeous, evocative setting, easily matching (and arguably surpassing) the mystique and majesty of Breath Of The Wild's Hyrule. It's an amazing world to lose yourself in, or at least it is when you're not being constantly battered by horrible ghouls, enormous ogres, thunderous spears, skeletons, dragons, blood demons, mangey dogs, giant crabs, giant octopi, giant poison-spewing plants, owls, rats, golems, imps, goats, pots, bears, burning slugs, snails… You get the idea. In fact, it's the kind of place Ganon would definitely like to call home, given half the chance. And he wouldn't even be the worst thing in it.