I have a confession. I have never played any of the original Legend of Zelda titles from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). I know from that confession I’m losing credibility as one of the whoASKD Gamers, but in my defense I never had a SNES and my first game was the epic Ocarina of Time. I have went back and tried playing such games as Legend of Zelda Link to the Past, but I felt nostalgia has played a big factor in the perfect scores given by other reviewers as I was somewhat taken out of the experience due to the dated controls. I do plan on eventually beating Link to the Past, but in the meantime I’ve completed Link’s Awakening on the Nintendo Switch. Does it suffer from the same issues I had with Link to the Past? Let’s find out.
The story begins with Link…umm… awakening on the mysterious Island of Koholint after being shipwrecked. Where was he going? Where was princess Zelda? None of the questions are answered, but Link quickly realizes that the island holds a secret that our hero must uncover if he ever plans on leaving. If you have never played this game (like me), then I won’t go into spoilers but for a Zelda game originally on the Gameboy, it is not bad at all
The art style of the game looks like you are playing with Nintendo Amibos (think Lego series games). It’s an odd choice, but it somewhat works. The game looks and feels as if it was always meant to be played this way. Sound wise, the game remixes the original Zelda theme and adds some catchy tunes that feel like they could have been pulled directly from Ocarina of Time. Overall, if you’re a fan of games like the Lego series, then you will enjoy the overall aesthetic of this game.
As stated earlier, this is my first time playing an old school top down Zelda game. As, my first experience in the Zelda universe was Ocarina of Time, it would be unfair comparing the two. The top down perspective takes a second to get used to, but once you adjust, it feels great. Controlling Link is also extremely simple. He moves up, down, left, and right with the analog stick and his actions are all mapped to the face buttons. I read that the original game forced you to constantly switch between items due to lack of buttons, however thanks to the Switch, abilities such as the attack, dash, and shield are always mapped to certain buttons. This control setup greatly improves the gameplay as you are only required to manage a few actions such as jump and item. The gameplay may seem simplistic, however there were times in the game where I had to adapt and adjust to certain enemy types or bosses to win a battle. For a top-down game, the gameplay works extremely well.
I never thought I would enjoy the old school Zelda games, but I was wrong. Once, I adjusted to Link’s Awakening I could not stop playing. The minimal time required to beat the game combined with the portability of the Switch makes this game a no-brainer for individuals who commute to work or school.
Overall Links Awakening is a great addition to the Zelda franchise. The gameplay has shown it’s age, however if this is your first foray into the 2D Zelda universe, then you will not be disappointed. Bring on Link to the Past.