By Gaming Australia
After what seems like forever, Links awakening has finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch. The classic title has been beautifully reimagined bringing a cult classic to a new generation, more than 26 years after its initial release. Links awakening is regarded by some as one of the best Legend of Zelda titles ever made and after playing this title it’s hard to disagree.
In Links awakening we join our pint-sized hero Link as a direct follow on from "A link to the past" (a previous title in the franchise). We start off with a stunning cutscene in which Link is caught in a ferocious storm whilst at sea, resulting in Link becoming shipwrecked on the island of Koholint. The first thing you’ll notice once you come to is just how damn gorgeous Links Awakening is. Waking up in the home of a couple of the locals who have taken it upon themselves to rescue and care for you, You’re immediately thrown into a world rife with enemies, dungeons and hidden challenges on which you are to embark. The aim of the game is to explore each dungeon, collect 8 magical musical instruments and play those instruments to awaken the mythical Wind Fish that resides in an egg atop the tallest mountain.
Whether you are looking for the story or something a bit more challenging, Links awakening has something for everyone. Unlike its original release this remake gives players the option of Normal or Hero mode. Hero mode meaning that Link will take double damage and Heart drops cease to exist. Normal mode although fairly non strenuous can be a little challenging at times but overall fairly simple.
Looking as good as this game does usually comes at a cost but links awakening is definitely an exception, managing to keep that classic feel of the original with truly some of the most beautiful visuals in a Nintendo game to date!
Now usually I when I review, I say a few positives, list the negatives and then end with some more positives. But honestly, apart from the odd Frame rate drop there’s no negatives to list for Links awakening. If I was nit-picking I’d say that there are times at which the game lacks a little direction leaving the player traipsing from different parts of the map looking for clues on what to do next. However the treehouse's around the place give you an opportunity to receive a clue from one of the villagers.
Now back to some more of the very many positives this game delivers. I’ve already touched on the visuals but I want to mention the animations, the animations are perfect. From the jumping to the sword swinging everything Link does has some sort of beautiful unique animation that just add to the cuteness of this game. Did I mention how good it looks?
Despite the sense of nostalgia this game draws to its predecessor, there are still quite a few differences. Here are some of the biggest differences between the remake and the original….
1. Item management – In the Gameboy version of the game of course there are only 2 buttons, meaning that you were forever switching between all your items. Including your sword etc… meaning sometimes when needing to combing items such as the Pegasus boots and Roc’s feather you’d have to completely unequip your weapon and shield. However in the new release of course the Nintendo Switch has more than 2 buttons meaning you are afforded the ability of always having your sword and shield equipped not to mention that most of these items activate automatically when needed.
2. Screen Transitions – Unlike the original, Links Awakening does away with the transition screens of old moving from area to area is no longer a chore which makes travelling the map much more fluid and free flowing. This is whatever what results in the frame rate drops, however its very much worth it.
3. Heart bottles – Despite being a staple of most of the Zelda series Links awakening didn’t include heart bottles, its good to finally see Links Awakening move up to be in line with the rest of the titles.
4. Extra warp points – The remake adds at least 2 more warp points around the map which come in quite useful especially towards the end game.
5. Dampe the Grave Digger – Dampe adds the ability to build your own dungeons. A Fun idea that I feel is missing some polish and useability. Id like to see an upload feature like Mario maker and greater creativity than copy and paste. Did somebody say The Legend Of Zelda Maker? Could happen one day.
6. Auto Saving – Standard in just about every game these days, Autosave is obviously a very useful feature that the original missed out on.
7. Better prizes from mini games – This ones pretty self explanatory, the original game made the mini games pretty much pointless. The remake gives these games a purpose with fantastic prizes on offer.
8. No Photography side missions – The original game had a photography and camera shop quest line. That no longer exists but has been replaced with the dungeon builder.
Of course, true to the original you still have the ability to steal the awfully expensive bow from the local shop. This will however, brand you a thief for the rest of your time and will leave you unable to return without being “punished”. It’s small things like this that help deliver that sense nostalgia. Without ever feeling too familiar.
This game is meticulously designed, perfectly crafted and beautifully delivered. It's as close to perfect a Nintendo Switch game as I have played. The Visuals, Audio and gameplay are all flawless. If you have a Nintendo Switch then I’d Insist that you put Links Awakening right at the top of your wish list possibly second to only Super Mario Odyssey. If you don't own a Nintendo Switch then I'd suggest that you consider buying one for this game alone.
I have tried to review this game as accurately as possible whilst avoiding any spoilers. Hopefully I have covered everything. If not head on over to Facebook and drop us a question.