11th Oct2019

‘The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Chris Cummings

link-awake-cover

I grew up as a Sega kid, but always loved playing the Nintendo first-party original titles, and when I got a Gameboy at the end of the 80s I was immediately hooked. The Legend of Zelda is one of those Nintendo titles that just screams quality and has since 1987 when the very first Zelda game appeared in Europe. In 1993, on the Nintendo Gameboy, the fourth game in The Legend of Zelda series was released, the first to ever appear on a handheld, and that was Link’s Awakening. A critical and fan success, it has since become a legend in its own right, a classic Nintendo title beloved by fans across the globe. It was no small news, then, when it was announced that a remake of the game was going to be released on the Nintendo Switch, retaining the top-down perspective of the original game but with an updated art style that feels nostalgic in its own way, yet very modern and slick too. The locations look like miniature diorama landscapes, and it works wonderfully to create a retro yet modern feel. Yep… Link’s Awakening is back in 2019.

An action adventure game, this is a wide open world where you, little ole Link, is stranded on Koholint Island, a cute and monster-filled island full of bushes, trees, people, animals, enemies and friends. Oh, and there are dungeons too, lots of dungeons. It plays similar to other Legend of Zelda titles, where you make your way through the story by traversing across the open landscape and into these deep dungeons where you must solve puzzles, battle enemies and beat big bosses in order to retrieve one of eight instruments of the Sirens, which you need in order to awaken Koholint’s legendary Wind Fish so you can escape the island. All standard then, a normal day at the office for Link, his sword and his shield. There’s a replay value to the game too. As you progress, you can reassemble your own dungeons and complete them in a time-attack mode, allowing you to earn rewards. This is a nice addition for those who want to spend longer in this world with these enemies and characters. It stretches it a bit, and I dig that.

The game plays smoothly and it’s easy to jump in and begin, without having to have played any other Legend of Zelda game or the original version of this on the Gameboy. It looks beautiful too, I love the three-dimensional cutesy look of the characters and the play-doh look of the world itself. The enemies are cool, ranging from skeletons to sword-wielding pigs to little murderous blobs of goo. The range of opponents keeps you on your toes, with various ways in which you can beat them. Use your shield to knock one of them back and slash at them until the pop. Let them run into you while your shield is drawn so they fall onto their back and you can dispose of them. It’s all very fun, and getting used to how each enemy works is all part of the charm and enjoyment too.

Now, one thing that must be said is that this game is all about the dungeons and the boss fights. If you’re not someone who necessarily enjoys grinding through dungeons, collecting keys, offing re-emerging enemies you’ve already killed twenty-six times, and battling big ole monsters, then this might not be the game for you, but really… if you’ve played a Zelda game before, you likely know what you’re walking into here, and it’s a joyful thing. Aside from how lovely this looks, it also sounds delightful and has an addictive play-style that keeps you saying “just another five minutes” until you’ve spend three hours slashing at plasticine-looking adversaries. If you have yet to decide whether or not to add Link’s Awakening to your Nintendo Switch collection then I say “do it”. It’s one of those must-play games on the system, and a damn glorious remake of a classic.

4.8/5

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is available on the Nintendo Switch now.

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