As a fan of The Legend Of Zelda franchise ever since I got my first Gameboy when I was a child, seeing Nintendo’s announcement of the remake of Link’s Awakening made me extremely excited. Released on the 20th of September 2019 on the Nintendo Switch eShop and physically, Link’s Awakening was an incredible play.
I received the game slightly late, due to my inherent desire to order the limited edition but played through it quite fast never the less. The significant graphics upscale from the original version only added to the charm of Link’s Awakening taking the players away from the traditional story of Hyrule and Princess Zelda to the mysterious island of Koholint and Link’s journey to awaken the Wind Fish to travel back home.
The 3D remodel of the original game keeps true to the original feel of the 1993 Gameboy original with all the original features with new ones thrown in here and there. The addition of the 2D side-scrolling dungeons with the Super Mario Bros enemies as well as the dungeon building aspect of the game are exquisite design choices which the developers over at Nintendo should be extremely proud of. Both seamlessly fit into and add to the charm of Link’s Awakening which is a huge core aspect of the game. The vibrant colours and beautifully animated sprites really bring the 1993 Classic into 2019 with a breath of fresh air.
The music composed for the game stays largely the same, with instrumental refreshes for the Nintendo Switch edition. Seamlessly blending as Link travels from area to area on the map changing and shifting moods as the atmosphere and direction of the game changes make the soundtrack choices an incredible supplement to the games already incredible feel. Personally I played most of the game in handheld mode on the Switch and it was a perfectly enjoyable experience; however, playing it while docked was much better.
Gameplay-wise Link’s Awakening remains mostly the same to be honest. With a few modifications here and there it is quite obvious that the developers wanted to retain as much of the original game as they could while bringing it into the modern era. The versatility of a few simple tools that are given to Link is quite insane and the game offers you many ways to use them. The only slight infuriating aspect of the game is that it gives you basically no clues as to what you’re supposed to do. Unless you played the original and have an insanely good memory, you will find yourself often lost as to what to do next. Sure your owl guide tells you where you are supposed to go next but not what you are meant to do to unlock an area, or along the way. Many times along the journey I found myself googling certain guides on the internet to give me some clue as to what I was supposed to do next. Apart from that the combat is satisfying and the movement and exploration aspect is enjoyable (save for the confusion portion of it).
Link’s Awakening 2019 for the Nintendo Switch is an excellent remake of the 1993 Classic which charmed the entire Legend of Zelda community with its heart. It brings back everything that everyone loved about the original and adds to it, creating an exquisite experience that is quite unique to a game of its nature. The dynamic, flowing gameplay combat and exploration, the beautiful level design and animations, the stunning visuals and a breathtaking soundtrack, not to mention the excellent functionality and quality of life improvements and additions made the game, make Link’s Awakening an astounding success. Kudos to all those behind the game at Nintendo and we cannot wait for the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild which has been announced and gotten me to count down the days till the next E3 reveal (or Nintendo Direct, as long as we get more LoZ).