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Link’s Awakening was originally released all the way back in 1993 on the GameBoy. It was the first ever portable Zelda title, and though it suffered due to its technological constraints thanks to the primitive hardware it was on, it was widely received as a fantastic entry in the franchise. In 2019 Nintendo decided to give the game a complete overhaul, and what we got was the beautiful remake for Nintendo Switch.
The first thing anyone will notice when booting up Link’s Awakening for Switch is the graphics. In my opinion, above any other game on the platform, Link’s Awakening proves that a visually stunning game can be made on hardware that isn’t cutting edge. The game’s art style is fantastic. Nintendo decided to go for a chibi art style with this, which, when complimented by the colorfully bright graphics, makes the game just fun to look at. It often times gives the player the feeling that they are playing with toys, but in the best way possible. Nintendo is known for making bright, colorful, and visually “fun” games. Link’s Awakening does this better than any other game on the platform in my opinion.
There’s plenty of games on the market today that look great, but the gameplay leaves something to be desired. Luckily, for Link’s Awakening the gameplay is just as great as its visuals. It took me roughly 20 hours of gameplay to finish the game, and I was never bored for a moment. From beginning to end you’ll be solving puzzles, exploring dungeons, and, of course, busting plenty of pots in classic Zelda style.
The nine main dungeons featured in the game offer a surprisingly high level of variety, which is unexpected considering the game is a remake of an original GameBoy game. Water dungeons, desert dungeons, forest dungeons, and, of course, various “mini” dungeons and side quests means that the player never gets bored as a result of repetition. The puzzles, especially, I found quite impressive. I never played the original version of the game, so I went into it expecting to find simple and short puzzles. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the puzzles featured in the game rival that of any other of Link’s iconic adventures.
Like almost any other entry in the Zelda franchise, a Link to the Past has few flaws. Few doesn’t mean zero, though. The main issue I ran into in the game is that it can, at times, be a little cryptic. It’s not as bad as some of the older Zelda titles like the ones on NES, but players can expect to be stuck at times for extended periods of time scratching their heads as a result of the game’s somewhat unfair ambiguity. Luckily, the telephone huts where the player can get “hints” helps a lot with this problem. Otherwise, the game is what consumers purchasing the game fully expect — a challenging, beautiful, and, most importantly, fun Zelda experience. My main complaint with the game is that it left me strongly desiring a remake of A Link to the Past in similar fashion.
Morality wise, players don’t have much to worry about here. As with most Nintendo franchises, the game is tame and family friendly. Aside for mild cartoonish violence, there’s not much to object to. the ESRB rating is “E” for Everyone for mild fantasy violence.
A Link to the Past is a visually stunning and fun game for players of all ages. It will be a welcome addition to any Zelda fan’s collection, and the game is short enough that more casual players will be able to enjoy it as well.