This time last year, Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata was announcing The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

Well, at this year's GDC we got to play it. A tiny piece of it in the shape of the Battle Mode mini-game, anyway.

It's a bit like a head-to-head multiplayer Pac-Man meets a Capture the Flags game mode, with one player taking control of Link and the other moving three fearsome knights, or Darknuts, around a garden maze.

The point of the game is to collect the golden triangles that are scattered around and take them back to your base area.

You can only do this when you're playing as Link. You move him around by tapping where you want him to move to (Navi, Link's helpful fairy friend, hovers over the spot you're chosen). When you're near a triangle, you just tap on it and Link will pick it up and then it's time to head back.

The speed Link can travel when carrying the triangles depends on their size. Big ones will have him moving as if through treacle. You'll get more points for getting them to base though.

Helping you along the way are various pill-like powerups. Some will increase the time you get to play as Link, some provide a speed-up, while others will create a Link decoy dummy to fool the nasty knights.

See, while one player is picking up treasure, the other is trying to foil them. Taking control of the three knights, you get them moving by drawing paths with your stylus around the maze. They follow these paths. Your goal is to get a knight next to Link, at which point he'll whack the poor lad with a sword and the roles will be reversed.

Alternatively, if you aren't successful in trapping Link, the roles will reverse after a set period of time.

So, our first taste of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. It was simple fun, and made good use of the DS' touchscreen and wi-fi. Connections between the DSs were automatic, with the game just looking for another available DS to sync up with. There was no messing around with Friends Lists for example.

As for the main part of the game – which will see you sailing around a fantasy world and fighting through dungeons – we'll just have to wait until later in the year. Click 'Track It!' to await more news.

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