i quite enjoyed the forty-some odd hours i spent with this game; it could have been way longer if i wanted to mess around with hidden locations, collections, & minigames. the basic game premise is that you are link-- a young kid, then an heir to a warrior heritage-- & you are trying to save the world from being taken over by some kind of otherwordly twilight. when you enter the twilight, though, you turn into a wolf--shades of shamanic werewolves-- & thus the game is split between these two modes of play. playing as link is obviously the much more fleshed out portion, with new tools always being added to your repertoire, but as a wolf you can make use of your heightened senses & can interact with the spirit world-- & interacting with the spirit world is a big part of the game.
your companion in all this is midna, a tiny imp from the shadow world. she is very compelling; she is puckish but not to the point of distraction. i think you might be supposed to be annoyed with her at a few points, but it charmed me. zelda is not really all that active in the tale-- well, enough i suppose. ganon is around just a smidge. those being the main characters of the mythology, you could dust of your palms, but there are also other heroes, a lusty barwench, some pets, a bug collector (she is great!), a puppet, a shaman, rock dudes (gorons), merfolk, a mailman, that kind of thing.
the basic layout of the dungeons is thus: you go through the dungeon till you get to the miniboss, & after defeating the miniboss you get an item that lets you reconfigure the dungeon. a boomerang to move the windmill powered bridges, or a climbing claw, that sort of thing. some of them can be pretty brain-twisting: spacial thinking & deductive reasoning required for a lot of the puzzles. the fights aren't that hard; i was able to amply beat everybody pretty handily, especially once the "trick" had been figured out.
design, lighting, concept, play (you have a horse)-- all point to strong influences from ico & shadow of the colossus. the play between light & dark, the etched stone statues, all have a similar feel-- or at least, i should say, seem strongly inspired by those games. the "twilight" zones have a kind of circuitry pattern that is nice, & there are plenty of "pixels" for magic. like a lot of other games nintendo puts out, the "digital" feel is used to denote otherworldly intrusion: oh no, the fourth wall is melting! quick link, fix the fourth wall!