The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch 2019) Review
Visual style is rather adorable
Animated cutscenes are well done and wish there was more of them
Dampe’s dungeon creator is pretty terrible and not what you think
The physics in the crane mini-game is cheap bs
No Gameboy Printer amiibo
This is a great example of how a remake should be handled, something fans will highly enjoy and newcomers will welcome.
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Calling The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
2019 Switch release a complete remake isn’t exactly accurate as it follows the
same gameplay formula, narrative, and overall structure only with an entirely
new coat of paint a few new quality of life enhancements. Perhaps calling it an
overhaul, or an enhancement, is a little more fitting as the new diorama visual
style is completely new in comparison to the black and white pixel world of the
1993 Gameboy original. However, not messing with the original’s formula is a
clear reflection on how well this game has stood the test of time.
received the original Gameboy release of Link’s
Awakening in 1993 as a present for my 10th birthday and I
remember being blown away. Even though the Gameboy hardware is rather limited,
this adventure was anything but. The success of the original even lead Nintendo
to re-release this classic game as the DX
version on Gameboy Color a few years later, remastering it with full color
support and adding a new exclusive dungeon.
Everything that made the original game special returns here in this
Switch version and still stands as a great Zelda
title in the 2019 gaming landscape.
are many general housekeeping enhancements that make this version easily
playable today, mainly designed around the controller and its extra buttons.
Since the original Gameboy hardware only had two face buttons, the player
constantly had to navigate the menu screen to swap items, including the sword.
Now, the player always has access to the shield, sword, dash attack, the
ability to pick up rocks and other items thanks to the button layout of the Switch
controller. Unfortunately, both shoulder
buttons are designated with the same action and cannot be further
customized. For example, it would have
been great to assign the shield to the right shoulder button and the right
trigger for the bow and arrows. While
infinitely more playable than the original Gameboy interface, there is no
reason why it couldn’t have been taken even further here on Switch.
replacement for the Gameboy printer/picture mode of the DX original, Gezzo included a dungeon chamber designer optional
side quest for dedicated Zelda fans.
Here, players can place pre-made dungeon rooms together to create new dungeons
via Dampe near the graveyard.
Unfortunately, this dungeon creator is the weakest feature of the game,
often causing more frustration than fun. To be clear, Super Mario Maker for Zelda
this is not. Instead, players place rooms from dungeons they have already
completed in a tile-based system, in hopes they link together in a cohesive way.
Dampe then assigns the player tasks, which feels just as exciting as homework,
to create new dungeons. However, the game determines which staircase links to
which staircase, and the contents of each treasure chest with the last one
always containing the boss key. Making
matter worse, the player might be assigned to make a dungeon they cannot
complete yet, forcing the player to solve a problem that isn’t yet solvable
until more in-game dungeons are completed.
There is also no way to share dungeons with fellow players outside of
saving data to the Link’s Awakening
amiibo. The game also rewards the player
by unlocking new dungeon tiles throughout the game, like winning one from the
crane game or purchasing really expensive tiles from the shop. Since the player
has already seen these dungeon tiles through normal gameplay, it isn’t fun to
be forced to replay them just in a new order. It is also possible to have the
game totally screw the player with flaws in the red/blue Switch mechanic and
allowing me to place a tile that requires the sword dash technique when that
dungeon’s criteria removes Link’s sword, leaving me trapped with my own
creation. My advice is, if you want to
tinker with this optional dungeon mode, wait until you completed most of the
main game first to have most tiles unlocked otherwise you can easily screw
yourself. Players that stick with it will eventually be rewarded with a bottle
and full heart container.
is also a fully animated cutscene when the game opens and during the final
credits. Both are well done and actually wished there were more of these
sprinkled throughout the campaign. The auto-save feature comes in handy given
the portability of the Switch hardware, automatically saving whenever something
significant happens like collecting a key or finishing a dungeon. The color
dungeon also returns from the enhanced DX
version, rewarding players with additional offensive/defensive capabilities
when completed. Although this dungeon stands as the weakest dungeon in the
game, it provides that optional incentive that fans will appreciate. The
toy-like diorama visuals are also adorable and fit the atmosphere
perfectly. The new visual style also
comes with added benefits such as most of the environment is now one larger
interconnected piece of land versus the screen-by-screen transitions of the
original. The memorable soundtrack has also been re-recorded to better fit the
Switch hardware that fans will note.
The Legend of
Zelda: Link’s Awakening on Switch is still a great game to play today. While not as long or deep as recent Zelda titles, it easily stands the test
of time, fans will appreciate the nostalgia, and new comers should enjoy the extraordinary
quest. For many fans, Link’s Awakening is their favorite Zelda title and for good reason. Even though Zelda, Gannon, and the Tri-Force
are nowhere to be found, the hauntingly dark overtone is a little unsettling
but always memorable. Even though the
new, optional dungeon creator mode is a hot mess, this is one dream fans should
whole heartedly enjoy.
downloading the original on the 3DS eShop
Wait For It:
Breath of the Wild 2
Wish For It: a
complete remake of the GBC Oracle games
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