Game Review: Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – Switch

Title The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genre:Action/adventure, RPG, Action RPG
Date completed:April 2020
Information on game

Summary review: A very good experience overall. A worthy remake of a GameBoy classic
Graphics: I really enjoyed the cartoonish aesthetic. I think it fits uniquely well to this game in particular.
Music: Very impressive with surround sound system, audible cues work flawlessly
Controls: No issues with controls
Replayability: Now that I know the puzzles this could be a fun game just to mess around with
Total score: 95 / 100 – I played this game in the early 90s on a “GameBoy DMG” (that’s the original). The Dungeons were quite difficult for me at the time and that is before youtube walk-throughs and hints. I don’t know if I was any better at it this time around but I enjoyed it enough it’s hard to find any faults.

I have a lot of fond, nostalgic memories of this game. It was one of the games I spent the most time on when I got my GameBoy in the early 90s. I never played the re-released versions that have come out. I know there’s a DX version and one or two others.

I always liked this Zelda because of the relative simplicity: small over-world map, relatively few NPCs and puzzles and relatively simple dungeons with maybe the one exception. It’s a relatively simple story line involving defeating nightmares to wake a creature in a big egg. The appeal is as much the environment and basic tone of the world.

The sound track is really great and only adds to the vibe which is matched perfectly with the conversations with the NPCs.

I don’t know how someone who has never played a 2D Zelda before will respond to this. I can only imagine there’s an entire generation whose first Zelda was Breath of the Wild. I suppose the basics are all there: collectible items for upgrades (sea shells instead of seeds), boomerangs, bombs, bow/arrows, fairies. But unlike BotW you have to progress through the game dungeon by dungeon to unlock further areas. For instance there’s a section of the map near the start area blocked by some heavy boulders. You can’t get past that area until you get the power bracelet to lift heaving rocks. And there’s similar environmental blocks with water, fire, and deep chasms Link has no way to cross.

If I remember right this came out after the SNES Zelda, Link to the past. For those of us pining for a SNES at the time but only having a GameBoy it was a scaled down but somehow acceptable substitute. At least I thought so.

The graphics have a very cartoony feel to them which matches the whole motif: after BotW this is a quite short, scaled down and dream-like game. I almost feel like sections of this could be in BotW as a flashback or vision (the new Wolfenstein did something like that, flashing back to 90s original Wolfenstein).

As long as you know what you’re getting when purchasing this I can’t think of any reason to not suggest this.

Final thoughts:

I think this can all be boiled down to a few basic questions:

Would I play this game again start to finish?
I think if I played a few times to memorize the puzzles and getting through the dungeons it would be a fun casual thing to do for an afternoon. The time consuming part is figuring things out the first time through. Without that it really is something of a casual experience.

If DLC with additional dungeons and/or varied difficulty levels (I know there’s a hero mode) or maybe just more game modes or scenarios I think I would like to try it.


Metadata

Method of control used Switch Pro gamepad
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) n/a
Hardware requirements: n/a
Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?n/a
Device(s) tried on Switch, 90% through TV
TVregular old 1080p, nothing special
Initial setup required No setup needed
Sound setup5.1 surround system/receiver
Total time to completion~25 hours (does not report)
difficulty levelDefault difficulty
Random assortment of meta data

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