Game: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Genre: Action Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer|Publisher: Grezzo and Nintendo
Age Rating: PG (AU)| EU 7+| US E
Price: $79.95 (AU)| € 59,99|£49.99|$ 59.99 (US)
Release Date: 20th September 2019
I purchased the game myself.
The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch is a remake of the first portable Zelda game. Originally on the Gameboy with a Gameboy Color version, this remake is greatly faithful to the original.
Link is found washed ashore upon Kolohint Island. It is said that none can leave. After collecting your sword a great owl tells you, where to go next, and soon after that you must collect the eight instruments to awaken the sleeping Wind Fish. Who is currently in a giant egg on top of the mountain. From then you explore this new island, coming across various dungeons which contain the instruments you need.
The game play is mostly that of any 2D Zelda. You have your sword and shield. As you complete dungeons you will collect new items you can use. Such as the feather that allows you to jump, flippers to swim and so on. These new items let you explore more of the island, and thus find the next dungeon. As well as getting to treasures you spotted in previous areas but couldn’t reach. Now you have the ability to mark spots on the map for later.
If you’re familiar with a few Zelda games most of the normal things are here such as collecting heart pieces, and consumable items such as bombs and arrows. One of the things unique to this game are the 2D sidescrolling sections, which are in between staircases. They fit nicely and add to the fun. Enemies can also drop power ups which either boost your attack or defense for a limited time. Sometimes I could even run it to use it for a few seconds of a boss fight.
There are eight mandatory dungeons to collect the instrument, one optional, and some other areas to explore. I definitely recommend doing the colour dungeon for the bonus. Like any Zelda game they’re filled with puzzles, mid and big bosses. While the designs might be fairly simple I did enjoy most of them. The dungeons probably take about half an hour or so if you’re new to them.
Remaster or Remake
When it comes to the map and dungeon layouts it is almost entirely the same as the originals. There are various changes to the gameplay, most noticeable is now you can hold up to two items (as we have more than two buttons now). While your sword and shield are no longer in the item slot. You can also attack and move diagonally.
Those changes in particular make the game a lot easier. As they didn’t really change the dungeons around to take this into account. Hero Mode is now an option in this game, where you take twice the damage and there are no heart drops. So if you’ve played the game before or other 2D Zelda games you might be better off at least trying that. Just playing normally I found almost all the bosses to be quite easy. Their weaknesses are usually easy to figure out (except the Armos Knight). The difference in difficulty between the second last and final boss is a fair bit.
Fairies this time just heal you, but you can get some secret medicine from Crazy Tracy which lets you revive after one death. Dying isn’t really a big deal in this game, other than you lose items you used. Dungeons all have a teleport pad halfway through so you can easily get back to the bosses.
There are a few mini-games and other collectables. First is Trendy Game which is a crane game. You can get various rewards such as more rupees, dolls and a heart piece. Mabe village also has fishing, where a fairy bottle can be caught. Then much later in the game is the raft rides where you can use your hookshot to try to get as many items as possible before the ride ends, or race to the finish as fast as you can.
There are secret sea shells in various places along the island. Collecting this lets you turn them in for rewards at the Seashell Mansion.
Something new to the remake is chamber dungeons. After the second dungeon you can meet with Dampe, and he will let you arrange rooms from previously completed dungeons to make a new one. At first you have to build and beat them in certain arrangements but then you unlock free building. I did enjoy it but found it better to complete more dungeons so that way I wasn’t doing the same rooms I just did. This is where amiibo functionality is, and you can read my guide on it here.
I truly love the art-style they’ve decided to remake this game in. Everything looks toy or clay like, which adds to the foreign feel of the game. As we aren’t in Hyrule anymore Bow-Wow. It also suits the tone of the game, which for the most part is light-hearted. With many talking animals and humorous incidents. This especially helps the Mario enemies present in game look nice. As there are quite a few, such as chain-chomps, bloopers and goombas. With these graphics it looks like I’m playing in a diorama. Being on vastly superior hardware you can also see more of an area at a time. I don’t like the blur effect that’s around the edges of the screen, as it distracted me in the early parts of the game.
Almost all of the characters look close to what they did in the original. The only thing I particularly noticed was that the first boss now looks like a burger. Thankfully the music is a key component of this game. It’s all updated but keeps the same tunes. Animal village now has barking and meows, but somehow is less annoying than the original Animal Crossing’s 1pm theme. I especially love the tune that plays whenever you first pick up a new instrument.
A Short Sweet Ride
As it was originally a GameBoy game, it isn’t very long. I finished it within two dedicated days of playing. With only a few hours of mucking around in game. There are still many things to do either before or after you beat it, like all the collectables and the chamber dungeons. So if you take the time to explore it yourself, you will get more out of it. Plus there is the new difficulty option.
Regardless, I think it could have been priced just a bit cheaper, while there was a lot of effort into the presentation of this game, it still isn’t a new or a long one. Due to the shortness I found pacing just a bit mixed, as sometimes there would be a while between dungeons. While others you might go straight to the next one. There’s also in game hints so outside of dungeons you aren’t likely to be stuck for long.
The game itself is very directed, as you have to beat the dungeons in a particular order. Yet I often had fun exploring new areas some of which I wouldn’t need to go to for another one or two dungeons. With this game I was really able to get a feel of the exploration people talk about when discussing Zelda games. Something I’ve never really felt in the 3D Zelda games (outside of Breath of the Wild). Not everything is essential to beat it, such as I saw other people had the boomerang and I haven’t acquired it.
Technically I didn’t have many issues. There’s a few loading screens and the game can feel a bit slow after coming out of them for a few seconds. If you’re playing it in handheld you will notice it in more places and for longer.
Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Switch is a gorgeous fun game. I definitely recommend it for those who haven’t played many 2D Zelda games especially. The only particular issue I have with it is the price to game time ratio.
I liked it a lot. Maybe even more than Breath of the Wild.
I played through the original not too long ago, so I will be skipping this one for now. But, oh boy, I love the art style.
Yes it’s gorgeous!