The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch) – Review

Another one of those games I played while in quarantine upon arrival to Japan. At least I had my Switch with me to get some games in. The last time I played this game was on my original Game Boy sometime in the 90’s. I remember just sitting on the couch at night playing this as a little kid, not sure If I ever beat it or anything. I should probably try to load it up and see if I have a save file still on it, that would be a real trip.

I had the magnifying glass and light attachment for the handheld. It’s so insane thinking about what we had to go through or the crap we bought in our gaming history. First, the screen on the original Game Boy was total trash, and to think that you could buy a magnifying glass and light attachment to improve the user experience is mind-boggling to me. As a kid in the early 90’s, I was so juiced to finally get my hands on that setup. If I could have bought an even bigger magnifying glass attachment I probably would have.

Don’t have to use this anymore.

Being a remaster of an game released in 1993 makes this a really interesting title to play in 2020. First off, the new graphics make the game feel completely new and relevant, minus for the fact that the game will stutter and slowdown when moving through the environment. It just shouldn’t do that, turn down some sort of effect if need be because it takes you out of the experience.

The overworld is a beautiful and interesting place to explore. While the graphics are really nice and the tilt-shift aesthetic with a deep bokeh effect on the camera really suits the art style well, especially when playing in handheld on the Switch. This makes you feel like there is this little world to explore in your hands. This isn’t the best Zelda map out of all the games, and it does get confusing if you’re really trying to do as much as you can. You might have to look up a guide to figure out what to do next. You can also use the phone booths to get hints or you’ll end up having to explore the island over and over to see what new section is available for the newest upgrade you obtained.

I started off really just taking the game in, not looking at a walkthrough or anything. That lasted for the first 3/4 of the game. After that, I just wanted to see it to the end and was tired of walking around the overworld finding my next thing to do or dungeon to explore.

Hints? haha!

The dungeons are not balanced well at all, which might be more a sign of the age of the title. I found every dungeon except the last two to be really easy. They all feel straightforward and don’t through too many challenging puzzles at you. The last two will require you to backtrack and drop items through floors to pick up on different levels and do a bunch of random shit like that. If you’re frustrated at it, just look up a guide and keep it moving. That’s why Nintendo Power existed back when these games were coming out, you had to buy the magazine to get the strategy guides and learn how to beat the game. If you’ve played a Zelda game before this will be a walk in the park, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Final Score – 7.2

A nice little throw-back to those that remember the original. If you’re coming in brand new to the 2D Zelda series, I wouldn’t say this is the best one to go for (A Link to the Past is still great). Try to find a cheap copy for the Switch and have a nice little trip down memory lane. I really wish they would just keep this series going and redo all the old top-down Zelda games.

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