Is it a bad thing that I am more interested to play the mulitplayer portion of a game that has, in the past, been strictly a single player fare? I have successfully completed the first dungeon in the Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the DS and I was mildy impressed, but it's the multiplayer portion that really gets me wanting to pick the game up again. The single-player seems like a watered-down version of The Wind Waker for the Gamecube with a stylus covering parts of the screen at all times. That may be an unfair comparison because the game seems to do a lot of neat things like writing notes on maps and drawing the path of a boomerang.
The multiplayer in Hourglass is a first for the Zelda franchise, at least competitively. Four Swords was a multiplayer Zelda game but that was more of a co-operative event using the Gameboy Advance and the Link Cables. The thing about Hourglass' multiplayer is that it actually has more in common with Pacman VS, another game that used the Link Cables, than it does any other Zelda game.
The way Pacman VS works is one person gets the top down view of typical Pacman games while three other players control the ghosts in a more constricted 3-D view. Hourglass is similar with only a few changes in the design. First of all, it's Link (Pacman) that has the contricted view and not the Statues (Ghosts). Secondly, it is only a two-player game with the defensive player, the one controlling the Statues, controlling all three at once using the stylus. This player draws paths for the Statues using the top-down map and can see Link's location on the map at all times. Link runs around the map trying to grab Triforce pieces and bring them back to his base without getting sliced by the Statues. There are six rounds, three for each person, and you get scored based on the size and number of Triforce pieces in your base at the end of the final round.
To top it all off, the game allows you to play multiplayer over the WiFi Connection against both strangers and friends. Due to the crappy nature of Nintendo's friend codes playing with friends is pointless other than knowing you are playing against someone you know. As you play the game you get points that upgrade your rank. There are also various "achievements" in the multiplayer that allow you to unlock little things in the single player mode. Completing a game without ever dropping a Triforce piece, shutting out the opponent, and winning without power-ups will all earn you different unlocks.
My opinion may change as I get further along in the single player mode but as of right now, multiplayer is the bell of the Phantom Hourglass ball.