Been sacrificing some sleep (and study time) to get some good time into the new Zelda, and man, I'm freakin' LOVING it. Seriously fun.
The 3D graphics look quite decent and are pretty detailed as well, and the music is pretty much what you'd expect from a Wind Waker sequel. Lots of familiar themes.
It IS very much a Wind Waker sequel, picking up right where WW left off, with Link travelling the seas with his Pirate Companions. However, this IS a Nintendo game, so before very long Tetra/Princess Zelda is whisked off by some eery Ghost Ship, and it is up to the plucky green hero to save her (AGAIN).
Controls need some getting used to though. You control Link by simply keeping the touchscreen pressed in the direction you want to go. Simply tapping the spot where you want him to move won't work, since Tapping is mostly used for interaction with objects and people. Tapping an enemy will make link attack with a jab or jump attack, making a sliding movement will have Link swinging his sword sideways, and drawing a circle around him will cause the infamous spin-attack. It all works pretty well up to that point, but when you want to have Link roll over (to bump into trees for treasure and stuff), you need to touch the edge of the screen in the direction you want to go and draw a quick circle, which so far has not worked very well for me.
The new Memo system is a total blast, allowing you to write down anything you want on most maps you have, to help you remember hints and the whereabouts of yet unreachable treasure. It kinda made me feel like I was the protagonist in a Silent Hill game
The Dual Screen thing means that essentially you will have a map displayed on the top screen EVERYWHERE you go, which has its effect on dungeon gameplay. There is NO Dungeon inventory anymore. No map, no compass and no Boss Key to keep stored in your pocket. You will have a map from the start, you don't get to know where the boss room is until you've found the big door, and if you want to know how many treasures are left you have to find a statue on each floor, and hit it with your sword for information. For a small fee it will draw the treasure location on your map.
The Boss Key is now an object that you have to carry around over your head, like some common rock, and you have to carry it all the way over to the corresponding door.
The Phantom Hourglass itself is an object that wards off poisonous atmosphere for a limited amount of time. So far this has only occurred in one dungeon, but I expect it will be used more frequently.
I have no idea about the amount of dungeons yet, but the inventory screen implies 6, not counting the inevitable Final Dungeon. Also, there's lots of caves and stuff that you have to cross to get from A to B, and they all have some puzzle elements to them, so there's plenty of fun to be had for all you Brain Training freaks out there, which is a definite improvement over some of the older Zelda games, which kept puzzles mostly restricted to dungeons.
One point of perhaps bad news, the Sea is back. It seems considerably smaller than WW's world fortunately, but there's still a lot of water to be navigated again. On the up side, you get a motorised vessel this time, so no messing about with sails and wind directions, which saves a lot of pain. You use the touch screen to draw the route you want to take, and away you go. Also your ship can be upgraded with all kinds of parts improving performance, so they actually managed to make it more or less fun this time.
Ample use is made of the touch screen abilities, and of the microphone, in rather clever ways I thought. In any case it REALLY made me appreciate the novelty of the DS, and I can totally see now why it's selling so much better than the PSP.
Anyway, GREAT game, hard on its way towards becoming my favorite portable Zelda (well, maybe not better than Link's Awakening) and I recommend it to anyone who likes fun!