The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a journey back to a time when handheld game systems had monochromatic displays, and two buttons were all you needed for a great adventure. The new Switch remake brings the second revival of the Game Boy classic and brings quirky Koholint Island back to life in style. Without taking the wind out of the original game’s sails, the revisions dramatically improve the look and feel of the environments and characters. At the same time, the map layouts and puzzle designs remain faithful to the source material. This is our The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review.
Nintendo has made some other new features and some unique collectibles that will keep experienced players on the prowl. Still, the revamped presentation is easily the star of the show.
The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review: About
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Grezzo, Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Genres: Action-adventure game
- Release Date: September 20, 2019
The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review: Gameplay
Everyone in Link’s Awakening has been transformed from little grainy people to shiny, cartoon-like toys and bringing new energy. It also applies to monsters and bad guys. Game Boy games have a retro appeal, but the remake rejects old aesthetics for something completely different that works on its terms. That which only existed in our imagination is reflected in new animations, accompanied by vibrant sound effects and music that takes you to your childhood again. It’s the kind of look that gets even more appealing over time, and you could imagine, like me, what other Nintendo properties would have with a similar visual upgrade.
It can also be the only thing about the game that annoys, as the frame rate takes a noticeable hit when most scenes are loaded into memory. The problem seems to be related to the game’s pronounced depth-of-field effect, which uses an overly blurring effect to enhance the presentation’s miniature toy feel. Don’t get me wrong; this is much more of a minor annoyance than anything – which should tell you about the quality of everything else.
Link’s Awakening is bound to feel old-fashioned, which is reasonable given that the original version is more than a quarter of a century-old at this stage. It feels wrong to make comparisons between it and Breath of the Wild, but in case 2017’s game of the year was your first foray into Link’s boots, kiss the open-end quests and goodbye Hyrule goodbye. Link’s Awakening is a sleekly designed adventure on a small but dense map. Eight dungeons full of puzzles make up the bulk of your journey, but you should also meet and greet the inhabitants of this quirky island.
This setup suggests that Koholint is just a well-worn land compared to the militant and holy kingdom of Hyrule – an awkward pit stop for old Link if you will. Still, Link’s Awakening never feels like it’s trying to stand up to the series’ more epic submissions. On the other hand, it works as a fanciful side story and ultimately stands out for its playful attitude and moments of bittersweet melancholy. In general, the flow of the game is managed precisely. A wise owl helps Link from one primary task to the next.
Each dungeon comes with a musical instrument, and with them, all, Link the owl says, can secure his way from the island. It always shows up at the right time, when one task ends and another is about to start, but you also get advice from a shy man named Ulrira. Have a chat with him at one of the many payphone trees scattered around the island; Just don’t bother him personally – he’ll sheepishly ask you to keep you on the phone anyway. For the remake, you have the new option to review previous conversations through the map menu, and the opportunity to mark locations on the map with a small selection of different icons.
This can be helpful for a variety of reasons, especially when hunting collectibles such as shells and heart pieces. There are more of each in the Nintendo Switch remake than in the original Game Boy’s game. While you may have a clear idea of where some are, many remain inaccessible until you discover new gear that extends Link’s capabilities. With the Switch’s extensive number of buttons, Link’s Awakening is now a lot easier to play because you can access more items at once without jumping in and out of your inventory.
Before, you could only have two items in your hand at any one time. On Switch, Link’s sword, shield, dash, and Power Bracelet power are always ready to go, and two configurable slots for other items let you juggle even more at any time. This dramatically reduces the annoyance of continually flipping menus and can make specific boss encounters feel more comfortable than ever. For players who want a challenge in battle, there is a Hero mode where enemies drop no health supplement, and Link takes twice as much damage as usual.
For the most part, however, the more manageable enemy encounters are not at the disadvantage of the game. Link’s Awakening is primarily focused on testing you with its cumbersome dungeons and an overarching item trading search rule, taking a closer look at the people who call Koholint home. Their identities and stories aren’t as deep, but your interactions and exchanges help shape the location’s identity and brighten your time outside dark and gloomy dungeons.
Some multi-story dungeons can take most of an hour to figure out, with fluctuating obstacles and subtle environmental cues that make the final stages test your memory of the original game or your current observation and deduction skills. There are times when you suspect you’ve explored each option but can’t find the path forward. As with the course, you’ll probably need to take a closer look at your tools and environment. Even if it doesn’t test your fighting spirit, Link’s Awakening’s most challenging puzzles will test your intellect in surprising ways.
The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review: Conclusion
While the remake has a few imperfections, it is still an easy game to recommend. People call Link’s Awakening the secret best Zelda game. That’s a tough decision, but it’s one of the best. If you haven’t touched any Zelda game in a while, Link’s Awakening will take you back to the ’90s almost instantly. It’s simple in many ways; however, the orchestrated journey still conveys a perfect sense of adventure, and this new version is, without doubt, the best way to experience it.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a journey back to a time when handheld game systems had monochromatic displays, and two buttons were all you needed for a great adventure.