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Link’s Awakening

  • Genre: Platform, Action-adventure
  • Developer: Nintendo, GREZZO
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Players: 1
  • Network Players: 0
  • HD Space: 5.8 GB

Shipwrecked and stranded on a mysterious island

It’s been two years since a Zelda video game released and filled our hearts with amazement. This year, we revisit a classic game from the franchises remade for the Nintendo Switch: The Legend of Zelda: A Link’s Awakening. It’s a step back to the original Zelda formula with a brand new art style, improved mechanics but the same incredible single-player experience.

After spending hours adventuring in Breath of the Wild, this is a refreshing return to the traditional gameplay, but is this Game boy remake right for you? 

Link in front of the mysterious Giant Egg. 🥚❓

Concept 

As the game begins, Link is caught sailing in a storm. He is washed unconscious upon the shores of a beach where a young woman takes him back to her village. Link is nursed back to health and awakens to meet Marin and her father, Tarin. He finds out he’s on a stranded island called Koholint.

Link returns to the shores, where he was found to find his sword to help him delve deeper into the confines of the island. As Link begins to explore, he encounters a talking owl that helps guide Link throughout his adventure. The owl tells him that the only way to get off Koholint is to awaken the island’s guardian, the Wind Fish, by collecting eight Instruments of the Sirens. 

With no other option available, Link embarks on an adventure through Koholint island. 

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Link’s great adventure takes place on Koholint Island. 🏝

Design

As is the tradition with Zelda games, the player begins with little to no resources or direction to where they must go. Players start in a small area to investigate by asking townsfolk for information and explore the surrounding environment to find the right path.

Upon heading in the right direction, the player must overcome a series of puzzles inside treacherous dungeons. Each dungeon uses unique obstacles and enemies, which progressively becomes more difficult. Within each dungeon, Link finds a unique tool to help him complete the dungeon and defeat the monster guardian to obtain an instrument of the sirens.

Many of the iconic weapons found in Link to the Past, like the Hookshot, Pegasus Boots, and Magic Powder, make an appearance in Link’s Awakening. While exploring Koholint island you can also use the same tools outside the dungeons to progress.

It’s always wonderful to fill the menu screen with all the unique tools Link will discover throughout his adventure. 💣🏹🧚‍♀️

Once a dungeon is overcome, the player can roam around the available terrain completing side quests and improving Link’s abilities before entering the next cell dungeon. The difference between this title and others in the series is that Link must find keys to open the next dungeon.

Many of the puzzles are very creative and leave the player wondering, “How am I going to resolve this?” An experienced gamer may find themselves stumped in portions of the game. You’ll also come across a colorful cast of characters that will help Link on his adventure.

I spent a lot of money on Crazy Tracy. She gives you a cream that will revive you if you lose all your hearts in battle. It only works once. 💰♥

Dampe’s Shack

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This mode may disappoint some players as it reduces the pace of the gameplay. 

I have mixed feelings about this mini-game. Dampe’s Chamber Challenge consists of the player creating dungeons that must reach specific requirements before playing them. The player must complete dungeons found within the game to unlock Chamber Blocks, pieces to assemble dungeons.

At first, the gameplay can appear overwhelming, but the user interface for the dungeon creator has understandable signage that helps guide the player by selecting the appropriate block. There are a lot of negative aspects that I’ve analyzed during my time playing Dampe’s Shack.

First of all, it’s a real shame that the only blocks available are portions that are already shown within the game’s dungeons. It would’ve been ideal for the player to create his dungeons similar to the design of Super Mario Marker 2. It feels super limited, and because of this, it becomes stale reasonably quickly. 

Second, you can only use each block once while creating a dungeon. While this is to reinforce the challenges by preventing players from creating mediocre dungeons, limiting the player’s options ruins the user experience. You can’t even rotate Chamber Blocks. The most disappointing aspect is not being able to share your creations with friends.

And lastly, the only reason I had to continue to play this side quest is that it’s the only way to beat the game to 100% completion. It was the most unenjoyable Zelda experience I’ve felt in a game since Wind Waker’s arduous Triforce quest. Even though it gives the player a chance to take a breather from the main adventure, it is not a fun addition and is quite frankly displeasure.

It’s a shame that too much focus put into this aspect of the game instead of expanding content in creative ways.

Aesthetics

The new art style presented in the remake of Link’s Awakening looks stunning. Character animations are charming and expressive with a fantastic orchestrated soundtrack playing in the background. Without a doubt, this game is gorgeous, inside and out, with every scene, object, and character is complete eye candy. 

Characters from Nintendo franchises make an appearance in Link’s Awakening as enemies or collectibles. You’ll find Goombas, Piranha Plants, Chain Chomps, and even Kirby as you play through Link’s Awakening. There are even areas within the game that are a 2D platformer!

I love the areas where The Legend of Zelda turns into Super Mario Bros. 🍄⭐️

Value

Once a player finishes the game, you can save over your saved file. If you start your file again, you’ll be right outside the mysterious giant egg. You can continue to get all the items you haven’t collected yet. 

The Legend of Zelda: A Link’s Awakening is perfect for beginners because the majority of the puzzles are simple. The most iconic aspects of the Zelda formula are here like cracked walls, heart pieces, and fairy fountains.  

The Trendy Game has characters from the Mario franchise available after you beat a dungeon. The player can collect and place them in houses as decoration. But once you’ve completed the game, there’s little to offer the player as there is no multiplayer functionality.

This game is missing two fundamental aspects to the Zelda formula: Princess Zelda and the Triforce. In many ways, it feels incorrect.

Getting straight to the point, this is a great Zelda game. It captures the essence that has made Zelda, Zelda. Children and adults can both cherish Link’s Awakening. The gameplay is easy as fun as ever. The story is easy to understand even for elementary school children as the script is not profound at all.

The price is steep compared to the amount of content available in other games for the same price. In 25 hours you will obtain everything possible enabling you to move to another game because this game is short. I did enjoy every second of Link’s Awakening, and I recommend any Switch owner should play this polished remake. It’s a great video game for old and newcomers alike!

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The ending is cliché and simple, but it’s a heartfelt moment. 🐋💃🎶

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Closing Thoughts
GREZZO is a good developer and they are the ones responsible for the Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask ports for the Nintendo 3DS. I do believe that the price should be reduced as $60 for this game feels steep compared to other video games that are available in the market which offer more content and replayability. Without a doubt, you will have a good time playing Link's Awakening. Now that I've gotten my Zelda to fix I need to wait for the sequel to Breath of the Wild and I cannot be more excited.
Concept8.5
Design9
Aesthetics9.5
Value7
Positive
Beautiful recreation of a Gameboy game with improvements
Great 360 degree movement of Link
Charming visuals and gorgeous art style
Classic Zelda formula has returned and feels fantastic
Creative boss battles and fun combat
Intricate level designs
Easy to pick up and play
Negative
Fishing game can be tedious
Dampe's Shack can be overwhelming while requiring time and dedication
Dampe's Shack offers no online multiplayer
Little to no incentive for replayability after beating the game
On the bottom left side of the screen appears an icon of a demon with horns indicating Hero Mode. It's distracting, and visually contaminates the HUB.
8.5
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