On February 13, 2019, the world was treated to a trailer for a re-imaged version of Link’s Awakening. Considered by a large group to be the best Zelda handheld game (I am in the vocal minority that the Oracle games are better, but more on that in a future post), everyone was excited to see how they would recreate the world on the Switch. And then when everyone saw the toy box ascetic, it kinda threw some of us off, including myself. Nevertheless, I was still excited to replay one of my favorite Zelda games one better hardware than the Gameboy Color.
WHY IS EVERYTHING SO GOSH DARN CUTE?!
Booting up the game for the first time introduces you to the opening shipwreck cutscene that you can not skip for the first time. I think it was a brilliant design choice to have the opening in an animated style and then transition to the toy style to distinguish the real world from the dream world. This is revisited at the end of the game when you awake from the dream. Everything looks brighter and expressive which is expected on a more powerful console. GREEZO did a fantastic job of making everything feel like the original. With their previous projects on Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask 3D, it feel like you were playing the original N64 but just on the 3DS and thinking to yourself “yup this is how these games would look and play if it was on the 3DS.” Link’s Awakening is like that, but instead it feels like “yes this is how I remember Koholint Island looking like on the Gameboy.” Nothing felt out of place and the new surprises felt natural that I would have missed it years ago (except Dampe….I don’t dream of Dampe).
I died from cuteness when I saw Link’s running animation XD
I actually had it set in my mind to complete everything in this game (and still plan to do so). At the end of my first playthrough, I was missing 4 seashells, 13 pieces of heart, one bottle, and one figurine. Every area beckoned me to explore everything and kept me going to uncover every secret I could. I did not know that in the original you could dash into trees and find seashells that way (which brings about all new questions; do seashells come from the sea or trees?) or if you bomb holes in out of reach places, most likely a shell is in there. If you know what you are doing, there is not much challenge to be found until a bit later in the game or if you are playing hero mode. With Tracy’s secret medicine and three fairies that you can keep on you via bottles, dying in the game comes from either inexperience or carelessness.
Wait….what is that in the distance? Is that Death Mountain? …..no, it’s worse than that, Tal Tal Mountain.
I lost so much time getting lost and having to reclimb this stupid mountain all the time. If at any point you go off track while trying to reach your destination, you have to start from the bottom all over again. That means you will have to bust out your ocarina to get to the closest location to the stairs, which is near Dampe’s shack which constantly reminds me that Dampe is here, go through the first cave where that one green slime always hits me and makes me fall in a pit even when I anticipate it’s arrival every time but it somehow always gets me, and then determine which path you should take that won’t lead you back to the bottom again where Dampe’s smug shack greets you. I understand why Papahl always gets lost and tired on the mountain because it drains all your energy and makes you crazy enough to eat an entire pineapple rind and everything!!!
Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system.
I don’t want this to get longer or a full blown review. There are a plethora of reviews out there already and I just wanted to gush about this game for a while. I can easily recommend this game to anyone who has or has not played the original due to all of the quality of life changes. You can debate with yourself if the price tag is worth it currently, but I had no worries about it based on the value I got from it. If I had to give it my own personal rating, I would give it an 8/10 because *chocobo squawk* Tal Tal Mountain and Dampe.