The legends speak of a long forgotten prophecy... of a shining hero and of perilous adventures... of sinister powers, strange worlds and swarms of fairies ... but they said nothing of a girl with a big heart instead of a big sword!
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (186 reviews) - 70% of the 186 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 20, 2015

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Buy Daedalic - Gigantic Bundle

Includes 14 items: Anna's Quest, Blackguards, Blackguards 2, Cultures - 8th Wonder of the World, Cultures - Northland, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today, Decay: The Mare, Gomo, Journey of a Roach, Munin, Randal's Monday, SKYHILL, The Last Tinker™: City of Colors, Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal



“Zanzarah really manages to keep you in front of the screen. You'll frequently catch yourself going for just one more fairy or quickly train for two levels so your Tadana will evolve into Aquana. This concept already worked great for Pokémon and it also applies to catching fairies.”
83% – 4Players

“This game manages to attract the player so that he cannot leave the computer. Superb and detailed graphics, lovely music, a coherent and interesting story on one side and gameplay originality on the other side prove this.”
92% – Computergames ro

“This technically great genre-mix of adventure and Pokémon aspects is convincing through diversity and really good ideas.”

About This Game

After years of waiting, this legendary classic and beloved fan favorite finally comes to Steam!
Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal is the original game from 2002 now for the first time available as a downloadable version here on Steam. A lot of fans have been asking us where they can buy this cult classic still today since it seems to have been long disappeared from the retail shelves. Now we are happy to fulfill your wish together with our partner Daedalic to make this game available to you again.
***Incompatibility with notebooks (FPS drops in the menu): Set your screen resolution to a modus with 32 bit color depth***

Zanzarah - The Hidden Portal is an amazingly enjoyable adventure game brought to life by a vividly visualized and elaborately produced world. The story revolves around a young girl named Amy who escapes to the magical world of Zanzarah.
There she is charged with merging the fairytale kingdom with the real world, saving it from destruction. Help her to use magical powers and items to collect and train fairies and demons. Use your creatures in fast-paced battles to defeat the evil that defiles Zanzarah.


  • Rich and fantastical game world
  • Collect, train and organize fairies and demons for magic duels
  • 77 different fairies and demons, 12 different elements
  • Action-based combat system
  • Includes the fantastical original soundtrack

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows® VISTA,Windows® 7, Windows® 8
    • Processor: Athlon or Pentium® 2 Processor with 500 Mhz
    • Memory: 64 MB RAM MB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D- Graphics card, 8MB (GeForce, Voodoo 5500)
    • DirectX: Version 8.1
    • Storage: 1400 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Please make sure you are using the latest graphics card driver (especially for NVIDIA cards). You can always find the latest drivers directly at the manufacturers' website. Please do not rely on automatic Windows updates. - Symptom of NVIDIA cards: broken polygon display after starting the first scene. Solution: 1. Open NVIDIA control panel 2. Go to "Manage 3D settings" -> "Program Settings", there, select "Zantph.exe" 3. Set the "Maximum count of pre-rendered single frames" to 1 and... 4. "Apply". The grapic-errors should now be fixed. -Incompatibility with notebooks (FPS drops in the menu): Set your screen resolution to a modus with 32 bit color depth
Customer reviews
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Mostly Positive (186 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
139 of 146 people (95%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2015
Have you ever imagined a cross between Quake and Pokémon? I bet not. And you probably also never heard of ZanZarah, an obscure German game about a teenage girl visiting a land of fairies. What these things have in common? Well, everything.

In ZanZarah you play as Amy, who goes from London to a magical land of fairies, elves and wonder. This enchanted world is threatened by an ancient evil, your arrival was foretold by a prophecy and all that. Your quest here is to explore the land, help the locals and raise a strong party of fairies to save the world. To recruit new magical creatures, you must first weaken one in combat and then capture it with a special ball. Sounds very familiar, no?

And it doesn’t stop there. ZanZarah offers over 70 magical creatures – including animals, dragons and demons – spread into 12 types: Fire, Water, Nature, Air, Stone, Ice, Chaos, Energy, Psi, Metal, Dark and Light.

Their attacks have the classic effective/noneffective relationships, and in true Pokémon fashion you also get to choose your initial fairy between three types. They even evolve after reaching a certain level.

But here’s the big twist: unlike Pokémon, you won’t battle in turn-based combat, but rather in FPS arenas with elaborate layouts, firing magic blasts at enemies while strafing, dodging and flying!

There are no guns, but each fairy can equip up to four different spells – two offensive and two passive. The game features 120 spells with a wide range of effects, damage, fire rate and mana pool. Spells must be charged before firing – some allow for quick bursts, others are very slow – but charge too much and it will backfire. All of this keeps battles interesting, as you’ll have to figure out the best loadout to use depending on the arena layout or the enemy type you face.

To crown everything, the soundtrack is excellent. Composed by King Einstein, the battle music is exciting, the exploration music is charming and the main theme is a beautiful melody sang by Karina Gretere.

The only real downside - and this will be a deal breaker for some - is that even this new 2015 Steam re-release doesn't run well on modern computers. You'll occasionally get some visual glithces and graphic artifacts, but the worst part is that the game drops to like 5fps when you open a menu, no matter how powerful your PC is.

If you can deal with this, give ZanZarah a try. If not, don't even bother.
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159 of 206 people (77%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2015
Don't get me wrong, great game. I have fond memories of playing this back when it originally came out, and as you can see from the other reviews, its basically fairy themed third person pokemon with first person 'creature' fights.

I played this out back in the day, and would love to play it out again.

I cannot, however, recommend this game.

Why you ask? Because it ran better on my 1998 Compaq Presario, than my current 8 grand worth of hardware. And I doubt it will ever be fixed, owing to the company that made it going out of business in the mid 2000's, and recently being bought out (in name only) by Nordic Games.

What does this mean for us gamers? Simply that they can release old content (and earn a bit of dough off us sappy sentimental folks) without ever having to commit to fixing the obvious flaws that causes the game to slow to painfully slow fps any time any box of dialog or menu opens over the main screen.

I'm sure a small investment would fix this, and I eagerly await it happening, however I must also resign myself to the fact that it probably won't.

If you want to purchase this out of sentimentality, go right ahead. Otherwise, leave it alone until it's fixed, and don't tarnish your opinion of what is actually quite a great game.
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38 of 44 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
22.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2015
Old school, comparativly to many other game on the market, and it shows, but was also one of the first games I bought after buying my first computer, so it holds sentimental value to me. I was so sad when my computer died, and my new one wouldn't play the CD-ROM (which I still have).

But that's not why you're reading this.

You play as Amy (or whatever you name her). From what the origional player book implies, she's the a-typical loner heroine. She gets runed away to a mystical land where she must cure the faeries that have been poluted. How do you accomplish this, by capturing the feries with orbs after battling them and recruiting them.

Each faery type had their natural weaknesses, nature/grass are weak to fire, who's weak to water, who's weak to nature. Some mature faster, while other are better attacker, defenders, or support. Water isn't always powerful, but have heals. Nature can poison and run around while regenerating their health. Stone are tough, but rather slow overall, while fire focuses a lot on offence.

As the faery level, they gain skill slots of attack, defence, or support/passive. They are mostly tuned to a single element, but some morph to be able to hold 2, or any, element type.

The faery in the world with you will be the first in battle, and usually offer some benefit in the world around them, like onlock element locks around the maps, or reveal hidden items.

You buy orbs to capture faery in level ranges. You can also buy/sell skills you don't need.

As you gather more faery, you can return home to see them flying around your flat.

The biggest buggy part is the menus. They tend to be jumpy, while the actual gameplay will be a lot smoother. If it could support FULL HD someday, that would be great.

The story is cute, the puzzles aren't too hard, and for me, is a nice relacing game to play.

As a personal suggestion will be re-adjusting the controls to ASDW from their ARROW presets. For me, it makes travel better, and also makes changing faery in battle quicker.
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18 of 18 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
10.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
One of the best game ever made

Ask yourself these questions: Do you like fantasy lore, RPG's, FPS, Pokemon, beautiful visuals, great soundtrack, a captivating story and more all that in a beautiful, large and very diverse semi-open world? If any of these are a YES, then go and buy Zanzarah. You will not regret it.
I've been playing this game on and off since it came out (I just recently got it on Steam but I have a lot of hours with my CD). It is in my top 10 games ever, and I've played a lot of games.

You play as Amy, a eighteen year old girl from London, UK. At the start of the game your house is visited by a swamp goblin Rafi, and he places a magical rune in your attic. Investigating the rune you are transported to the world of Zanzarah — a different realm. A realm of magic and faeries, strange creatures and odd landscapes. But you are transported there for a reason — you are the Chosen One, from the old legends which speak of a human girl to save the world of Zanzarah from an threat and unite Zanzarah with the human world. The story later further reveals that Zanzarah, Earth and the realm of Faeries was the same world and humans, faeries, dwarves, elves, goblins lived in peace. But humans became corrupted and the human world had to be cut off from the magical realms.

The gameplay consists of two main areas, the first is the RPG in which you play as Amy and navigate through the world talking to NPC's and solving platform elements. Amy mostly serves as a faery bag to be honest. The second is the FPS where you take part in faerie battles.
Playing as Amy you can talk to NPC's, collect items, pixies, and most importantly explore the world and capture faeries. Amy can also partake in a
few minigames and puzzles hidden around the world. Capturing faeries is the most important aspect. There are 77 different faeries, divided into twelve elements, each having advantages and weaknesses against eachother. You can only have five faeries in your deck, however you can go back to your house in London anytime in oder to change them. Faeries are usually caught at a low level, and then you have to train them against faeries of their own level in the wilderness (the world is divided into element and level areas) or at several trainers which costs money. Most faeries can evolve upon reaching a certain level into their other, which means they get new stats, look and spell possibilites. The maximum level for faeries is 60, and leveling and catching all faeries will take time and effort. Each faery can have four spells, two offensive and two defensive. Your faery can also gain a joker spell slot which means you can put a spell of a different or any element for it to use. I shall be making a Guide covering most of the game mechanics and good builds and decks.

The combat only exists inside the Faery battles, and takes form of a FPS in a arena where you can move, fly around and hide. You have two sets of spells, and each has one offensive and one defensive. You can swap these around when not in a battle, and theres a bunch of different spells each changing the way you battle. Mana is limted, and spells can be charged for more damage (which should be done almost always). You can also swap between the five faeries in your deck at anytime, because some faery types do more damage against others. There is a certain tactical feel to it if you look at it at a certain angle, especially for some very difficult battles. The combat is very fun!

The graphics are outdated, but still beautiful. The game runs on DirectX 8.1, so it can be a problem streaming using OBS (personal experience). There are no HD resolutions, and it would be nice from Daedalic to update the DirectX and add more resolution options, as well as a windowed option. Apart from the technical stuff, the game still looks very pretty, the world is diverse, and tastefully made. The menus work and look very good.

The music is fantastic, especially the main theme sung by Kariina Gretere, similar to Enya. The other sound effects are fitting and of great studio quality, however some sounds can very, very, rarely sound too loud. Note that I've played this game for 13 years and I've basically saw and heard everything it could do so the chances for that happening is 1/10000000 for you :)

The game has some form of TCP/IP LAN multiplayer where you can use your gamesave deck and fight with your friends. You can use third-party programs like Game Ranger or Hamachi to play with your friends. Remember, this is a game from 2002 so don't expect any servers.

Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal is a fantastic game that you are sure to love and play for a long time. It might be hard at start to get used to all the faery stuff, but the learning curve isn't very steep. The game has some very difficult sections, which require careful deck planning and leveling of faeries. The story can be speed-run in some fifteenish hours, mostly because you need to level up faeries in order to defeat certain enemies blocking passage or to progress the story. However it will surely take you double that much hours to finish the game with a normal tempo, and this just means finishing the main storyline without getting all the faeries or leveling them up, or even trying to collect everything. To do that it will take at least 100 hours of gameplay if you are fast.
The only real negative sides of the game is the use of DirectX 8.1 if you're streaming, the resolution, and the biggest break is that after you finish the game, there is no save just a cutscene and then the game reloads to the last checkpoint. You can still go back and do whatever you want, just there isn't anything after the "ending".

But even with that taken in consideration, this is a gem not to be missed, and is worth more then its price, even when it's not on sale.

* Score
Graphics 7
Sound 9
Story 10
Gameplay 9
Combat 8
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29 of 38 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 29, 2015
A classic 10/10 game, but unplayable on modern hardware. Daedalic released an untouched 13 yo binary hoping it'd work. It does not. Avoid this release until modders sort out the problems, because frankly Daedalic has absolutely no clue how to fix the game. And I'm pretty sure we can forget about a proper Steam integration.
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26 of 35 people (74%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2015
The story seems really interesting, the game is fluid and the background is well worked, and on the top of that... It's fun!

Maybe the only negative would be the gameplay that I found a bit slow (moves/animations), but it's definitely not annoying so, good job!
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19 of 24 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2015
Do you like Pokemon, and first person shooters? Well I bet you didn't know there was a game for you!

First off, let me say this is a very biassed review because I owned this game years ago and used to absolutely LOVE it. True the controls aren't the best but there's a lot of love in this game and its really quite charming. I've only played it a little so far but it seems to be a very stable and faithful port that works fine on newer versions of windows.

There's a very large variety of fairies to collect each with their own elements and attributes and each element has its own strengths and weaknesses, which is why its so easy to compare it to pokemon. But when you enter fights with wild fairies and other fairy trainers it transforms into a somewhat awkward but very playable quake style battle.

All in all its definitely worth getting at this price, especially if you used to love it as much as I did.
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15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
15.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
**Warning: Some people have experienced severe performance issues with the game if they are running Windows 10 or have an Nvidia video card. There are likely ways to make it work, but expecting this old game to be playable right out of the box if you have either of those would be a mistake.

I played this game years ago, not long after it first came out, and it's easily one of the best sleepers out there. For those curious, it's basically like Pokemon, but instead of going into a turn-based battle when you fight, you go into a first-person, Quake Battle Arena-style deathmatch where you control your creature. It really is an amazing game, and easily one of my all-time favorites.

Surprisingly-evoking thematics.
Next-level Pokemon-style game.
Plenty of creatures to choose from.
Complex elemental matchups.
Cool creature evolutions.
The type of game we've wanted since the 90s.
Skill-reliant gameplay.

A lack of diverse attack dynamics—no arcing shots, mines, scattershots, etc. Could be easily fixed by a good modding community.
Game IS from 2002, so the graphics are somewhat dated.
Some of the translations for certain attacks are inaccurate/confusing.
Many of the creatures are fairies, which might be challenging to some people's masculinity.
Game is amazing, but a Zanzarah 2 is unlikely due to the length of time that's passed since the games release.

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18 of 24 people (75%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 28, 2015
The game does not appear to run on modern systems, at least not without an inordinate amount of work. A game that won't run is an instant "no recommend"
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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
26.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2015
ZanZarah is a rare little gem which can best be described as a fantasy adventure fused witn Pokemon and FPS elements. Core of the game is catching, training and evolving Fairies and having them duel with enemy fairies in a quick FPS arena. Fairies can be captured as well to increase your pool.

The graphics are capped at a resolution of 1024x768 but have aged pretty well in my opinion.

I'd say it's well worth the price - can't do wrong at well under 10$.

However, you should note a few things:

-The game is pretty old and was written for Windows XP or even 98/ME. It can have issues on more modern systems (not having any here on Win 8.1 x64, even without compatibility mode, but other ppl have reported massive issues)

-game doesn't like ALT-TAB, resultinmg in a crash - better not use it while playing

-mouse movement is pretty chunky in the configuration menu, so far this is the only menu where it's happening

-if you have any issues, don't count on any patches coming, since the original publisher went bankrupt shortly after release of the game in 2002, an addon, which was already in production was scrapped

If the game works however, you will be able to play a rare gem, especially if you like Pokemon-style games.
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Recently Posted
0.4 hrs
Posted: October 24
waste of money,waste of time if it were free
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6.4 hrs
Posted: September 5
2¢ Review

Game Name: Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal
Original Release: April 2002
My Overall Grade (#/10): 6
Demo: No
Workshop: No
Level Editor: No
Captions: No
Controller Support: No
Multiplayer: Yes
VR Support: No
Steam Cards / Achieves: No / No
Genre: Adventure, Pet Battle
Manual: Limited
Walkthrough: Fan walkthrough on the net
Savegame Editor / Cheats: Yes (But I can’t find it) - HxD does some things / Yes
Metacritic Score: N/A
Full Audio Multi Language: English / German
Win 10 / Crapple / Linux: Yes / No / No
Recommended To: Adventure fans who like the pet aspect, fairy fans, Pokemon fans who like fantasy settings.
Other: NVidia users need to turn VSync on and Max pre-rendered frames to 1 in your Manage 3D settings on NVidia control panel. That will get rid of the clipping issues. There are widescreen work arounds and the mouse controls are just crap by today’s standards.

Overall if you’re into Pokemon or fairies and want to grind to train pets, then this is for you. For me I just am not currently into grinding for pet battles …. That ended in WOW.

It’s a $8.99 CDN game that is often on sale or in bundles. Would I pay full price for it? No. But when it’s 75% off or in a bundle you should get enough fun out of it to make it worthwhile. There are plenty of sites with walkthroughs, including one with an 80+ page walkthrough. In theory there are cheat codes (I never used them)

I’ve tried using notepad++ to edit the save game, but no go. I think an editor would help reduce the grind and increase the fun. So if you find one, you may want to use it. ** Update: HxD allows you to edit XP of your faries. I'm not sure what else it can do yet, but that helps.

The graphics would be dated for 2002 and the controls are spotty at best, so don’t expect an AAA 2016 game.

1¢ Review
In bundles
Pet Battles

Driver issues

Screen capture doesn’t work for me (yes, I can do the hard way using an external program if I cared)

Overall: 5/10 -1 driver issues, -1 graphics, +1 concept, +1 in bundles, +1 good variation on pet battles = 6/10 (buy when on sale)
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Alexander Kryvonos
2.1 hrs
Posted: August 23
I have played this game before almost 7 years ago or even more, and I like the atmosphere which this game provides, though the graphics is not modern, in the game you can find fairies and evolve them by leveling up in duels and this is very interesting. The soundtrack of the game is quite good.
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2.4 hrs
Posted: August 14
its like pokemon, but with fairies
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0.2 hrs
Posted: August 11
Using Intel HD 4000. Does not work (major graphics glitches). Daedalic doesnot seem to care about any problems with the game.
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0.2 hrs
Posted: August 7
Zanzarah is a great game from my early childhood. However this game released on steam has very poor support. Performance-wise there are low frame rates in the menus and rendering problems in the main game. For me it was unplayable.
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75.1 hrs
Posted: July 28
I grew up with this being a game I wasted a lot of time on, upon seeing it realesed on steam my only thoughts were along the lines of "oh, they've updated the graphics and made this playable on some far more advanced machines then what I was using way back when" but damn I was wrong, I ended up downloading it to one of my older computers and it works fine but it's such a hassle just to go out of my way to play this on one of my severly out-dated computers, IF they ever go about making this work on superior computers then by all means I'll give this a thumbs up but until then, unless you still have a computer that runs like those in 2008, just avoid this game
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LeNUTRIE Metanolo
1.6 hrs
Posted: July 26
WARNING: this game does not work properly under Win10.
Every time a line of text is displayed the FPS drops significantly.
(To use the menus will be the hardest thing to do in the game)
Actually there is no way to have it run better.

Beside the warning above, even if 14 years old this is still a fascinating game.
Roam a fantasy world and collect its fairies to have them fight for you.
Collect spells for your fairies and train them to assemble the strongest fighting combination.
Retrieve ancient artifacts, solve puzzles, fight and free the world of Zanzarah from the evil forces.
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Freiheit als Gefühl
0.4 hrs
Posted: July 14
This game used to run smoothly on my pentium 2 with barely a graphics card and now that I have a 4GHz i7 and a GeForce GTX 960 it lags in menues so that they become unnavigable and there are so many graphical glitches that it's become impossible to navigate up the stairs to the rune.

Used to like this game and wanted it to play with my niece but unfortunately it simply does not run on modern machines. No idea why the developer still released this on steam. Waste of money, you're better off playing pokemon go which is essentially the same.
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1.5 hrs
Posted: July 10
The game is absolutely lovely: it is a pokemon-style game with a larger focus on narrative set in a beautiful high fantasy realm with some originality added to the world.
The game has 77 fairies for you to collect and plays exactly like a 3d pokemon game. The only difference is the combat which is in the style of arena shooters like quake.

I made the concious decision, however, to not recommend the game because the current right holders decided upon just dumping the original files on the steam store. I understand that their hands are tied to an extend, but that doesn't really merit asking money for a product that is broken for a lot of people. I loved this game as a kid, and wanted to support the devs and play it again. Only afterwards I found out that my money just went to the people who have gotten ahold of the rights and who don't at all seem interested in the fact that the game just flatout doesn't work for a large part of the player base.
I hope the devs would at least consider working with companies like GOG, who undoubtedly have conquered greater challenges in making old games work on newer architecture. Right now when gameplay starts then entire map just turns into a jumbled mess of polygons, and the only coherent images available are Amy and the London skybox.

TL:DR: it's a great game, unfortunately it doesn't work properly. Devs offer no solution to make the game playable for those affected with game breaking problems. And they seem keen on just continueing to sell the game on Steam as a broken product.
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