The tides of time.

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Developer: Grezzo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release date: Out now
Tl;dr: The old Gameboy title reimagined in a full 1:1 remake with a cute toy-like art style.
Console: £50/$60
Family Focus?: Click here for more information

Back in 1993, Nintendo released the first handheld Zelda title for the original Gameboy called, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. The game started out as a test for what was possible on a Gameboy until multiple people within Nintendo caught wind of the game and it was pitched to become an actual game. Now, flash forward to 2019 and we have a full 1:1 remake of this stand-out Zelda title.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening isn’t your traditional Zelda title as it isn’t set in the Kingdom of Hyrule like a vast majority of Legend of Zelda games. Link gets caught in a horrific storm and eventually a large wave crashes over Link, he is found on the beach by a girl named Marin passed out and she takes him back her home. This is where Link’s journey begins on Koholint Island, where a mysterious owl gives Link the task of awakening the legendary Wind Fish, who sleeps in the giant egg perched upon the central mountain.

The remake of Link’s Awakening sticks to the traditional tilted top down camera angle gameplay. Thankfully, the remake decided to map Link’s sword to the B button so you don’t become unarmed when the game demands you need two items to clear a puzzle or obstacle which was incredibly common in the original… the shield, Pegasus boots and the power bracelet are no longer items you need to equip to the item buttons as they have their own unique mappings on the controller which saves a lot of item swapping that was present in the original.

Graphically, Grezzo decided to go with an adorable toy like art style that many weren’t a fan of back when the game was originally announced during February’s Nintendo Direct and I was one of those people… I warmed to the style pretty quickly as it paid homage the original sprite work on the Gameboy and I hope this vibrant toy style is what they use if they decide to remake the Oracle of Ages and Seasons from the Gameboy Color.

The soundtrack has been completely overhauled with an orchestrated soundtrack which gives you goosebumps upon goosebumps if you’ve played the original unless that’s just me because orchestrated video game music just makes me feel pure emotion and gives me goosebumps anyway.

In terms of additions, Link’s Awakening adds six more hearts to obtain as in the original you could only acquire fourteen whereas in the remake you can now obtain twenty. They’ve also added more hidden seashells which were hidden collectables. You also get more Mario enemies as dolls over the original which only had the Yoshi doll that started the trading sequence side quest. However, the biggest addition is the dungeon maker hosted by everyone’s favourite grave keeper from Ocarina of Time – Dampé! You can either create your own dungeons and save them to your Amiibo so friends can try them out or you can complete pre-determined frames created by Dampé, where you place rooms from previously cleared dungeons.

In terms of performance, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening runs at 60fps with the occasional frame drop when you enter buildings but it’s not game-breaking in any way and eventually it doesn’t distract you too much. The game also scraps the original moving from area frame to area frame with the exception of dungeons but the world map is one seamless map without any screen transitions.

Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a beautiful and heartwarming adventure that every Switch owner should enjoy and it’s a perfect adventure to take on the go as y’know the original was a handheld adventure. So do yourself a favour and either order yourself a copy now or pop down to your local store and grab a copy because you won’t regret it!

The Good

  • A beautiful toy-like aesthetic that breathes a modern look into the old style.
  • Solid gameplay expected from a Zelda title.
  • Fixes the constant item switching that plagued the old version.

The Bad

  • Frame rate drops occur every so often.

Family Focus

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is rated PEGI 7 and ESRB E for Everyone. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening contains mild fantasy violence but enemies burst into a poof of smoke so perfect for Little Jimmy.

This review is based on a copy of the game purchased for the purposes of this review.