The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

legend of zelda links awakening box art switch nintendo
9.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Controls: 9/10

Fun, classic Zelda

Smaller map, but chock full

 
Game Info

Game Name: The Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awakening

Developer(s): Grezzo

Publisher(s):  Nintendo

Platform(s): Switch/GameBoy

Genre(s): Retro/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): June 6, 1993 (GameBoy Japan)/September 20, 2019 (Switch)

ESRB Rating: E

legend of zelda links awakening cutscene graphics screenshots

Set sail for adventure!

Link has crashed on a Koholint Island, but Koholint Island might not be all it seems.  High above the island an egg rests and the Wind Fish sleeps.  If Link hopes to ever leave Koholint Island, he’s going to need to gather the Instruments of the Siren and awaken the Wind Fish.  Unfortunately, the awakening of the Wind Fish could mean death and destruction…Link could be a savior or destroyer!

The Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awakening is an action-adventure game.  The game was originally released on GameBoy in 1993 (as the fourth entry in the Zelda series following The Legend of Zelda:  A Link to the Past in 1991) and rereleased on the GameBoy Color as The Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awakening DX in 1998.  The new remastered version of the game was released to positive reviews.

legend of zelda links awakening instruments gameplay screenshots graphics

If this was a mid-2000s game, the players would have to learn to play each wind instrument in time

I played the original GameBoy version of Link’s Awakening but never finished it.  I remember I even started the game again…alas, failing again.  I was excited when I learned about the new remastered version of this game especially since the classic nature of the game was a sharp contrast to The Legend of Zelda:  Breath of the WildThe Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awaken continues to soar.

The game is rather limited by the original size of the GameBoy adventure, but the Switch makes the most of it.  The screen doesn’t have the panel to panel scrolling that is common with the top-down Zelda games, and the game really flows.  The map is small, but the game is chock full of hidden gems (literally) and other mini-side quests…while having a rather complex stand-alone quest.  The game is a shorter Zelda game, but you’ll still enjoy the path.

legend of zelda links awakening ganon ending gameplay screenshots graphics

Ganon…why aren’t you the big bad?

The controls are also intuitive.  The game makes you build a bit more than some of the other games (meaning, you start even less “powered-up” than a normal Zelda game).  There are very few advances in the controls of the game (you have the typical weapons), but things like the boomerang (which I always hated) is even easier to control.  The whole game is rather slick once you get the controls down.

The graphics are also a lot of fun.  The game takes a very 3D putty type of look that is reminiscent of the uniqueness of The Legend of Zelda:  The Wind Waker.  In addition to the stylistic change, the game has a strange kind of tilt-shift perspective which gives the game depth (I could see this originally being developed for the 3DS and meant to be in actual 3D when the project was started).  The game also provides a “build-a-dungeon” mode to change up a bit of the gameplay.

legend of zelda links awakening wind fish whale ending gameplay screenshots

Wait…is this some Star Trek IV type of thing?

One of the weirdest aspects of the game is the Super Mario Bros. ties.  There are characters from Mario’s world and they become Link’s enemy.  The trophies in the crane game are Mario based.  The sidescrolling sequences are similar to Mario’s castles and there is even an appearance by a character that looks a lot like Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2…since that game was also a dream, it would have been cool if they had tied Link’s Awakening to Super Mario Bros. 2 more directly since that is often the “forgotten” Super Mario game.

The Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awakening is a definite must for fans of the series.  It has a real classic feel and is a great contrast to Breath of the Wild with its open world style.  The game is also one of the biggest downers in Zelda history with the ending of the game leaving you questioning…was Link right or wrong?  The Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awakening was originally followed by The Legend of Zelda:  The Ocarina of Time in 1998.

Related Links:

The Legend of Zelda

Zelda II:  The Adventure of Link

The Legend of Zelda:  The Minish Cap

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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