Game Review - The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (2019) on Nintendo Switch

Written by MrPapillon on September 29, 2019 @ 11:59 am

In short :
++ It's beautiful
++ A good old Zelda 2D retro-gameplay
+ Remake quasi 1-to-1, enhancing old or bad mechanics
+/- Still quite easy
+/- Hero mode is hardcord at first, but then becomes quite easy
- Memory gestion and latency
-- Dungeon Maker too repetitive with no real rewards

The remake of Link's Awakening on Switch is a good throwback to the roots of 2D Zelda rules and mechanics.
Link's Awakening was the founder of future Zelda 2D rules and codes and it was also one of the major inspiration for Ocarina of Time. However, does this game still hold up nowadays ?

Grezzo, the studio behind the 3D remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Maks on 3DS, is once again the one behind the wheel for this remake. They built it from scratch, trying to map 1-to-1 with the original game

First, this game is beautifull ; it goes back to the cartoonish looks and feels inspired by latest 2D Zelda games such as A Link's Between Worlds and Tri-Force Heroes, but with a new layer of fresh paint more shiny and more adapted to the Nintendo Switch. The world map is now fully open (no screen transitions) with eye satisfying blurring and lighting effects, giving birth to a more immersive world.

This remake brings back "old" 2D Zelda codes and rules ; classic inventory, a chain of themed dungeons, exploration and secrets everywhere on the map.

Grezzo succeeds in building a quasi 1-to-1 remake of the original game. However, they brought up fresher mechanics replacing ones that were becoming old, or ones that were already quite bad ; they add auto-saves, secret seashells sensor (for less random exploration), they map more buttons to more objects (reducing the number of transitions to the inventory), they give us a more practical map for teleportation, texts are now flowing more easily, etc.

Being a quasi 1-to-1 remake, it's as easy as the original. They added a hero mode (double damage from ennemies, no hearts spawning), however, it begins too hardcore at first (at 3-4 hearts with no equipment, double damage is savage) and then quickely becomes too easy with enough hearts (7-8) and a minimum of equipement (fairy bottles, the rez dust, etc.).

Sadly, there is quite regularly framerate drops whenever the game loads many objects (for example, the map shows you the zone right next to you which is quite occupied). Hopefully, it's a memory gestion badly handled by the game and it may open the possibility for a future patch to correct it.

Finaly, the darkest point for me is this new dungeon making. In theory, it is really interesting ; making your own dungeon and sharing it with your friends. In practice, it could have been better executed. The dungeon making mini-game proposes to the player some challenges. The first ones offer interesting rewards and, being the firsts, are quite fun to complete. However, as the challenges unlock, they become more and more repetitive and more and more time-consuming with no actual reward apart from rupees. Because of this, it's hard to feel motivated to complete each challenges and to find chamber stones in the map, them being end-game rewards.
Moreover, the only way to share your dungeon to your friends is to save it on an amiibo. Not reallly practical.
In the end, this dungeon making mini-game leaves us only with a bigger desire for a Zelda Maker game.

In all, Link's Awakening on Switch is a quite good breath of fresh air to have together with Breath of The Wild, just as wine goes great with a succulent piece of meat.
(So I guess we can hope to get Oracles of Seasons and Ages as well on the same graphic engine ? We did receive the wine, why not the whisky and the rhum ?)

Gameplay Rating: 8
Story Rating: 9
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 9
Sound Rating: 9
Overall Rating: 9

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Game Information

Alternative Titles
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Zelda no Densetsu: Yume o Miru Shima, ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島
Platform
Nintendo Switch
Developer(s)
Nintendo
Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Genre(s)
Action, Adventure
NA Release Date
September 20, 2019
JP Release Date
September 20, 2019
EUR Release Date
September 20, 2019
AUS Release Date
September 20, 2019
MVGL User Score
8.2
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