Modern video gaming’s missing Link.
Twenty six years on from firing up the original Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening on the handheld gaming goliath that was the Nintendo GameBoy, here I am with a Switch in my hand doing the very same thing.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is back and popping with colour and super cute graphics but still the action-adventure puzzle game we all know and love.
Essentially the Switch version, released last week, is a remake of the 1993 Game Boy classic and retains the original’s top-down perspective and gameplay.
I have seen the graphics labelled “retro-modern” which sits well as a description. Another would be toy-like.
There are customisable dungeons which the player can create and then complete for various rewards.
The 2019 Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is an idyllic marriage of nostalgia and the originality of 90s video gaming brought together in a big glossy package only possible through the modern-day tech available to us.Damien Lucas, gaming columnist
For those who don’t know (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?) the story is set on Koholint Island, where Link finds himself stranded after his ship is caught in a storm.
After being rescued by a girl named Marin, Link embarks on a quest to collect the eight instruments of the Sirens and awaken Koholint’s legendary Wind Fish in order to escape the island.
Similar to other games in the Zelda series, you must explore the open world with dungeons scattered throughout, featuring puzzle-solving sections, boss fights and trading sidequests.
It seems anything the Switch touches at the moment turns to gold. And Nintendo now has another hit to add to the list thanks to developers Grezzo.
Link’s Awakening is an utterly engrossing, addictive and charming overhaul of the original which not only succeeds in reviving the 26-year-old handheld game but possibly an entire genre in the process.
Cute, fun, clever, witty and generally quite brilliant from start to finish, the adventure’s addictiveness is born from the utter satisfaction you derive from solving the ingenious puzzles across Koholint.
The crowning achievement this time around is undoubtedly the wonderfully crafted and expertly designed maps which are jam-packed full of challenges.
Video gaming is about to enter a new generation with the arrival of the next wave of ever-more powerful consoles in the next year.
But Link’s Awakening proves the nuts and bolts of making a quality video game remain the same, and this is proof.
You meet a host of memorable characters on your travels around Koholint Island and it will keep you coming back for more.
I enjoyed my playing time equally between handheld mode and big screen and suffered none of the frame rate drop issues I had read about elsewhere.
The 2019 Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is an idyllic marriage of nostalgia and the originality of 90s video gaming brought together in a big glossy package only possible through the modern-day tech available to us.
I just feel lucky to have enjoyed both, even if this has made me feel really old. A triumph and proof if it was needed that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make a great video game.