|The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
|September 20th, 2019
|ESRB: E for Everyone
A nasty storm riles up the seas, and angry swells smash Link’s boat to pieces. He grabs a floating plank amid the tempest. Shortly thereafter, a girl named Marin discovers him washed up unconscious on the sunny shores of Koholint Island. Link soon awakens in her home, where he has been cared for. An unexpected adventure awaits him in the Nintendo Switch remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, but not all is as it seems on this eccentric island! The question is, will he still want to awaken the Wind Fish once he has all eight Instruments of the Sirens?
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Switch is a remake that stays deeply true to the original game (Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Gameboy/Gameboy Color). It revamps the old 2D low-res sprites with an excellent new 3D presentation. This remake also includes some new features and quality of life improvements, but we’ll get to those in a moment.
Once Link awakens and ventures outside of Marin’s house, he finds himself in the small, quiet Mabe Village. He won’t be able to do much yet, so his first item of business is of course to head to the beach and find his missing sword. Once he has it, he can slash grass to get some rupees. They can be used at the shop or in some mini games in the village, where Link can earn some goodies.
Link can only mess around for so long, though. Soon he must seek out the dungeons scattered across the island. Each one houses one of the eight Instruments of the Sirens. Link will need to collect all of them if he wishes to complete his quest on Koholint Island. While Link can’t play these directly, he does have an ocarina that he can learn a few useful songs for.
Dungeon exploration, like the rest of the game, is very true to the original. Unlike the overworld, dungeons are still divided into separate screens, just like in the original game. Each of the game’s dungeons is a fun little bout of classic 2D Zelda dungeon crawling, with later ones of course getting longer! The hidden Color Dungeon is also back (from the deluxe version of the original game on the Gameboy Color).
Now it’s time to see what the differences are between this game and the original.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening brings us a wonderful dose of classic 2D Zelda gameplay with a fresh coat of paint. It also has a few quality of life improvements, like the fact that you don’t need to swap your sword or shield in and out anymore. This is the most important change from a gameplay standpoint, and it reduces the amount of time you spend in the inventory changing your equipped items quite a bit. Another change is that running into a rock doesn’t display the ‘It’s too heavy’ message like in the original game. Instead, it only displays if you actually press the A button to try to pick it up. The second biggest change is that this remake also adds a new Hero Mode to the game, and its design is pretty standard. This mode is available immediately out of the box. Link takes double damage and hearts do not spawn from grass or enemies. It also fortunately lacks the cheap enemy health regeneration that was in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s Master Mode.
There are actually a number of other little differences between the Nintendo Switch remake and the original game. There are a few more warp points in the remake, and the maximum health you can get is now 20 hearts, like in most Zelda games. Some of the new ones can be earned in the fishing and claw machine mini-games in Mabe Village, among other places. In addition to some extra heart pieces, there are also more secret seashells to collect this time. There are now 50 in all compared to 26 in the original game, and collecting them all will net you five different rewards. You’ll get one each time you go the Seashell Mansion with enough to reach the next goal.
There are also now ten figurines based on Mario enemies that you can win in the Trendy game (the claw machine game) in Mabe Village. Some of them can be a bit annoying to get in that mini-game, and if you accidentally knock it over you may have to leave the building and come back in to reset it. This is because they can be even harder to grab when knocked over, and in some cases impossible. The fishing mini-game can also be annoying if you don’t know how to keep a fighting fish from breaking your line, but it’s not too hard. Anyway, each figurine can only be placed on a specific stand in one of the town’s houses. This is a bit like decorating Windfall Island in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, except there are only ten spots to decorate this time.
Some bosses and mini bosses have had minor modifications, too. For example, the Angler Fish boss is a bit more aggressive than in the original game. Another one that has changed a bit is the Armos Knight mini-boss, in that you can’t just rush him with arrows anymore. The jars just outside drop arrows, suggesting you should consider using them, but they don’t seem to work at all (even if you jump and fire in midair). You’ll need to break his armor with spin attacks.