Developer and publisher Nintendo created and released the action-adventure game The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the direct sequel to the 2002 Nintendo GameCube title. It was released in North America, Australia, and Europe in October 2007, as well as South Korea in April 2008. Phantom Hourglass was first published in Japan in June 2007. Wii U Virtual Console re-released the game in November 2015 for the PAL region, May 2016 for North America and August 2016 for Japan. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was released in December 2009 as a sequel.
The game used the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for online play until 2014 and featured 3D cel-shaded graphics and an overhead camera perspective. It was controlled by the touchscreen and microphone on the console. Following in the footsteps of The Wind Waker, the plot follows Link as he teams up with Captain Linebeck and the S.S. Linebeck to save his companion Tetra from the villainous Bellum.
Phantom Hourglass received overwhelmingly good reviews from critics. Its internet features were criticized for being too simplistic, but its control method was lauded. The Nintendo DS Game of the Year award was given to the game by GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN, among others. With 302,887 copies sold in its first month in Japan, Phantom Hourglass was the top-selling game. With 262,800 units sold in the month of its release, it debuted as the fifth best-selling game in the United States. By March 2008, 4.13 million copies of Phantom Hourglass had been sold around the world.