Overall - 85%
If you need a nostalgia trip or haven't played Link's Awakening before, then you won't be disappointed with this release. Just note that it is a bit more bite-sized when compared to more recent entries in the series.
Nintendo continues their trend of remaking old games with The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Is this adventure worth taking, or should you skip it altogether? Check out our review and find out.
The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening starts with Link washing up on the shore of Koholint Island. When you wake up, you are in Mabe Village without a sword or a shield. Your first task is to retrieve your equipment from the shore and then find a way home. After you find your sword, you are greeted by an old friend who tells you about the mysterious Wind Fish of the island. If you wish to go home, you need to wake him up from his slumber. The adventure will run you roughly 10-12 hours, depending on how much side content you take on.
To do this, you will have to complete eight dungeons and collect eight instruments to use on the Wind Fish. These dungeons start off simple enough, but quickly step it up to include more complicated designs and enemies. Those who wished Breath of the Wild had more traditional dungeons will definitely be happy with these. Each of these dungeons also has a key item for you to find, like the Hookshot or Power Bracelet. While the dungeons themselves can be challenging, the bosses are often straightforward to beat.
Dungeon crawling is not all you will be doing during your stay on Koholint Island. There is a massive trade quest that brings you all over the island. The end reward is one of the better items in the game, but you can skip it entirely. On top of that, you can find seashells and turn them in at the Seashell Manor. There are now 50 in total to find around the island. Other mini-games include the infamous crane game, fishing, and river rafting. The Chamber Dungeon creator also makes its debut in this release.
The Chamber Dungeon maker is fine. It isn’t great or terrible; it’s just fine. You put together pieces of the dungeons and make your own dungeon. You can then go through them and earn rupees. If you do enough of them, Dampe will reward you with other items as well, such as a bottle or heart piece. The big problem here is that Super Mario Maker exists, so we know what a good builder game looks like. That, and the new Zelda content added to Super Mario Maker 2 blows this out of the water. After spending an hour with this mode, I ultimately left disappointed.
Combat in Link’s Awakening is just like any other top-down Zelda, except you get the ability to jump. This does make combat a lot more simple than the 3D alternatives, but you will still face plenty of challenges. With this remake, there have been quality of life improvements added as well. In the original title, players had to equip the sword and shield manually, which took up valuable item slots. However, the sword, shield, and even the dash are now mapped to buttons and are always equipped. You will still be in and out of your inventory quite a bit, but now much less frequently.
Link’s Awakening is considered one of the weird Zeldas, right up there with Majora’s Mask. Animals talk, Mario characters make a cameo appearances, and you go from top-down 2D to side scroll 2D on occasion. There is also no Princess Zelda or Triforce. All of this adds to the charm of the game. None of the enemies or characters feel out of place in the Zelda universe. You can even get little statues of the Goombas, Shy Guy, and Blooper to put in people’s houses. Also, jumping on a Goomba head with Link just feels so right, especially if you do a flip first.
However, there are some problems with the game. Frame drops frequently occur when entering a new zone when the text pops up, or if you dash through bushes. I didn’t mind the look of the game, but I know it will turn some people off the same way Wind Waker does. The hints you get on where to go next can be very cryptic and confusing, so expect to do a lot of backtracking. There is fast travel, but it only brings you to specific places on the island. It also runs $60, which is steep for 12 hours if you compare it to Breath of the Wild or even Hyrule Warriors.
If you need a nostalgia trip or haven’t played Link’s Awakening before, then you won’t be disappointed with this release. Just note that it is a bit more bite-sized when compared to more recent entries in the series.
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