Platform Played On: Switch
Release Date: September 20th, 2019
Moving on from the depressing mysterious island in GreedFall and straight into the adorably insane mysterious island in Link’s Awakening… I’m all about da islands in my games lately! I will say it is almost impossible to be depressed while playing this game, and damn, I needed the cheerful vibes for sure. GreedFall gave me comfort while I struggled with my drama, and then Link’s Awakening reminded me what joy feels like. Yay, video games!
How Far I Got
I did one playthrough in 10-ish hours while visiting my family for a long weekend back in November. All it took was one glimpse of adorable Link in action and I couldn’t put this game down until the credits rolled, a smirk on my face the whole time. I didn’t go out of my way to collect everything. Just seeing most of what the island had to offer in one go was enough for me. I also played this game away from my massive Amiibo collection (read: I have them all) so I didn’t use any of their functionality.
For some reason, Link our Hyrulean hero decided to go sailing all alone in the middle of the ocean. As shown in the animated cutscene that plays during the game’s intro, he ran into a terrible thunderstorm out there in the wide open. One huge lightning strike later, his ship gets freaking destroyed and the scene ends in a blinding flash. Whoa!! 10 out of 10 gaming experience already. Any game that opens with any form of lightning is a complete masterpiece in my mind. Ahem.
When you officially start a New Game, the poor guy wakes up on Koholint Island under the care of a kindly young woman named Marin (who has a total crush on him but sadly can’t compete with Zelda). The first tasks are to find your sword and shield (and then get sidetracked for an hour farming rupees to waste on fishing and claw minigames, if you’re me). From there an owl points Link on his path: Collect 8 musical instruments from 8 dungeons to wake the weird Wind Fish that resides in a giant egg on the peak of Koholint. That’s the only way to get off this crazy island, apparently. Yes. This island’s story is bonkers and stays true to the original Game Boy edition.
The game unfolds in the classic linear Zelda fashion I love. Basically, you explore the overworld to find the next dungeon, collect a new item inside of the dungeon, beat the boss at the end using the item you found, use the new item on the overworld to get to the next dungeon, repeat until the final boss fight. In between all the dungeon-slashing fun, you will run into a few different world events that keep things exciting and advance the plot. There are also many optional collectibles for you to hunt down along your journey (Secret Seashells, Heart Pieces, inventory item expansions, Mario figures) and a few mini-games to keep you busy.
One of the biggest additions to this remake is Ocarina of Time’s famous gravedigger Dampé, who operates a new dungeon creator minigame from the comfort of his graveyard shack (this replaces the picture-taking minigame that used the Game Boy Printer back in the day). This whole concept came about from a conversation between Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma about adding Mario Maker style gameplay to the Zelda series. Awesome! It’s cool to think about how famous game developers have regular discussions with each other while working on projects and whatnot. Anyway, I didn’t spend much time making dungeons with Dampé (just playing the introduction mission), but this feature alone could keep you busy for hours after the main game is done.
If you haven’t played the original Game Boy version of Link’s Awakening, be warned, you will find yourself easily lost in this remake. Like most games of the classic era, where to go next is almost never clearly defined, and this remake sticks close to the original game’s puzzle elements. You are going to have to wander around aimlessly and hope you stumble on where to go next (or consult the many guides on the internet). For the combat, I played the game on the Easy difficulty and was able to ROFL-stomp my way through all of the baddies and bosses (didn’t die once during the entire game… and I’m bad at games). There is a Heroic difficulty for those who enjoy a more challenging element to their games.
I almost want to call this game The Legend of Peach. Those familiar with the Mario series (who isn’t?) will notice A LOT of baddies and NPCs from Mario’s world make appearances in this game. Shy Guys, Goombas, Chain Chomp… the side-scrolling sections in dungeons seem like were taken straight out of a Super Mario game. Heck, not just Mario either. I encountered enemies that looked and acted like the adorable pink puffball Kirby in one of the later dungeons. I for one loved all the cute references to other Nintendo IPs. They all came together and added to this game’s odd charm.
Charm is definitely this game’s biggest hook. Detailed cute aesthetics in the environments (not always perfect but always adorable), tons of sarcastic item descriptions, fourth wall breaking humour moments, and a cast of wacky NPCs to interact with. In the audio area, I really enjoyed hearing each different instrument play the moving Ballad of the Wind Fish at the end of each dungeon. It was quite rewarding! And of course, the lovely version of the classic Legend of Zelda theme complete with violin got me right in the feelz as I was exploring.
My Overall Biased Opinion
This is most definitely my favourite Zelda game on the Switch. Let’s just say I’m less than enthused about the direction the Zelda series took with Breath of the Wild (still struggling to find motivation to finish it… I’ve had it since launch day). A cute and compact classic dungeon crawling time with an adorably animated Link was just what my cranky heart desired. I gave up at the 7th dungeon in the Game Boy version as a kid (no idea how I got that far without the internet to guide me). It was an awesome experience to beat this remade version as an adult.
Overall, ZOMG!! This is an adorable re-masterpiece of a classic Zelda game on the Switch. If you like Zelda games, play it! It’s a little on the short side but worth seeing in action. I for one enjoyed the break from the 60+ hour open world RPGs I’ve been lost in.
SPOILERS AHEAD!!! You have been warned.
This section of my video game reviews is a way for me to remember my journey through a game. Major spoilers will be present here so please avoid this unless you’ve already played the game, or don’t have any plans to. Feel free to share any experiences you’ve had with this game in the comments area thingy below.
My Game Summary
More than covered in my babblethrough post: Waking Adorable Link
Favourite Story Moment
Seeing the Wind Fish awake at last. He looks more like a Wind Whale, but whatever!
Boomerang, baby! Anything that can kill Wizzrobes and those hella annoying sparky thingys is badass in my book.
Favourite “Oh S@#%” Moment
I’m going to say cracking open that egg near the end of the game. It was a magical moment seeing all the instruments play their tunes.
Animal Village. I’m a sucker for cute NPCs and this area is full of them.
I’m gonna say BowWow. Is was delightfully odd walking a Chain Chomp from the Mario series and using him to get into a Zelda dungeon. The Wind Fish must have been to the Mushroom Kingdom before this.
Most Tedious Gameplay Moment
Self-imposed tedium, for sure, but I spent so much time cutting the big patch of grass in Mabe Village to farm rupees for various things. I refuse to steal from the Town Tool Shop, thank you. And I’m terrible at claw games…
Most Amusing Item Description
When I found my first arrow but didn’t have the bow yet. “Too bad you don’t have a bow to deliver the “ow” 😂
Here’s what my inventory looked like at the end of the game.
⚡Thanks for reading!⚡
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