The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s oldest and best-selling franchises, with more than 135 million copies sold worldwide. The games follow the adventures of Link –Nintendo’s star RPG mascot- and his escapades through Hyrule against the recurring villain Ganon in various timelines and universes. The world of Zelda is massive, with Nintendo always providing new and innovative games loved by young and old alike.
The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening is a remake of the 1993 classic (same name), developed by Nintendo for the original Gameboy. It was made for the Nintendo Switch and was released on September 20, 2019. It became pretty popular among fans and critics alike. The world of Zelda can be complex, with hidden dungeons, secret areas, and various unique items. The games have a systemic approach that is easily recognized by seasoned fans.
The game follows the journey of a lost at sea Link, being washed ashore at Mabe Village in the Land of Koholint Island. The island is shrouded in mystery, with strange occurrences, peculiar characters, cryptic messages, and many curious areas to explore. Everything around the secrets of Koholint Island seems to be connected to the Wind Fish and strange egg at the top of Tal Tal heights. On his journey, Link discovers the mysteries behind the tropical island, its people, and the strange girl called Marin. While breaking pots, exploring dungeons, and helping people fall in love (which, I guess, is now Link’s thing).
The game is a faithful remake of the original in the truest sense while adding the much-needed refreshing touches of modernization. The plays in an isometric style, but Link has omnidirectional movement, with several areas as a whole on display to explore. It keeps the original touch but removes all the pesky side scroll transition mechanics and makes it more seamless to traverse.
You have the original move set at your disposal, from the slash and shield to Links rotation attack. The game provides satisfying mechanics for even the simplest of encounters. It does a perfect job of creating complex challenges with the simplistic arsenal at your disposal by giving the player unique and fun items to employ. The island, at first, is locked and requires the player to explore the areas, find its secrets, and locate keys. Some are quickly recovered, while others are more subtle. The game does not hold your hand throughout the experience, which provides exciting depth to an otherwise simplistic game.
The puzzles in the game are not the most difficult I’ve ever played. Definitely, they scratch your itch for a “Eureka” moment we all love in video games. The starting dungeons are easy to solve and traverse, with difficulty getting more challenging as you progress through the game.
The Land of Koholint Island is riddled with secrets, collectibles, hidden areas, and side missions to explore. A dull moment never appears unless you get stuck in a dungeon, which can get quite tedious, but let’s be honest, that’s probably your own fault; I know what I did. Without spoiling anything, the game feels and controls well with pleasant and fun interactions giving the player a great reason to enjoy the variety offered on the island.
Design and Animation
The game has been redesigned from the ground up while retaining the essence of the original. It does a great job filling in blanks that we filled with our imagination when we were younger. With its excellent character design, vibrant areas, unique animations that range from enemy movement to character faces, and charming new ideas, which I do not want to spoil.
The game features a cute and charming miniature art style. Every area seems like it’s taken from a toy box, and a small toy comes to life for every character. It portrays the perfect way to remake an old pixelated style; great for the time but would be found lacking in many departments if revisited.
Apart from the apparent overhaul of the characters and design, many quality of life improvements have been added to the game for maximum enjoyability. The shield has been assigned the triggers for action control, and almost every other button is used in some way or form. There is no need to un-equip your sword or shield to use an item. Glass jars are more readily available, which help capture fairies used for the restoration of health. The game also has many fast travel locations, which provide an easy way of traversal between the areas. Collectibles are also acquired in a way that is easier than before. The seashells have a sensor that helps find their location. Many other changes made introduced in the game help improve the experience.
They faced multiple issues at launch, but mainly the frame rate drops were consistent with transition areas which ruined the experience and immersion of the game. With several patches after the release, almost every game issue has been addressed, and the game is now enjoyable on Nintendo Switch.
Warning! While I will try my best to keep spoilers to a minimum, Some might be unavoidable for the portion ahead.
The first weapon of the game can be obtained from the beach at the start. It consists of a basic attack, links spin attack, and can be used with the charge attack. The sword can later be upgraded as well.
Obtained later in the game, it can be used to deflect lasers, fire, and wind.
Rather than being found in a hidden location or a dungeon, this item can be bought from the item shop in Mabe Village. If you really want to take a risk, it can be stolen. The Bow is used to shoot projectiles at enemies in the air or far away.
It can be obtained by defeating enemies as drops, lifting jars, or simply buying from the village’s tool shop. They can be used to damage enemies or even open new areas and cracked doors.
One of the more difficult items to obtain in the game, the boomerang, is used to damage enemies in the air or far away, similar to a bow. Still, it can also stun enemies, collect items at a distance and cut grass. It is one of the most valuable items in the game.
A handy item that can be utilized for various purposes, like lighting torches, defeating enemies, and removing spells.
It is used to extend bridges for use as platforms. It can also be used to attack enemies at a distance.
Power and Powerful Bracelet
They can be used to pick up heavy objects and place or throw them. They are used to make dungeon traversal easier and solve puzzles. They are also used against some enemies.
The feather is used to jump over small gaps. The game is filled with small holes and spike traps; that’s where the feather comes in handy.
The Roc’s Feather is joined with the boots to help Link get a running start to jump over giant gaps and multiple pits all throughout Koholint Island. They also help Link perform the dash sword attack, which can be used to break crystals.
It can be used to play various songs needed throughout Link’s adventure on Koholint Island.
It is used to dig up items and coins but mainly seashells.
A dungeon-centered item, each Dungeon has its own compass and helps Link locate treasure chests on the map.
It helps provide the general layout of the Dungeon and its floors.
It is used to open pathways and standard doors in the Dungeon.
It Helps access the Dungeons nightmare in the game.
Piece of heart
It is a part of several pieces needed to create a heart container.
It is used to increase the number of hit points (health) Link has.
The game provides a fun and exciting experience with innovative puzzles, new enemies, and exciting dungeon boss battles throughout the play. The game slowly builds the difficulty as you progress throughout the dungeons solving the mysteries of Koholint Island.
The first Dungeon of the game is relatively easy to solve and get through but takes a bit of effort. The Dungeon can be found towards Toronbo Shores. After dropping off the first ledge, the dungeon entrance can be seen with ease, but you need a tail key to enter the Dungeon.
The second Dungeon of the game, similar to the previous one, requires multiple items to solve its puzzles. The Dungeon can be located in the Swamp above the Mysterious Forest.
The third Dungeon can be found above Richards’s house, but you require the Slime Key to open the door.
It can be reached by moving left from the waterfall in Tal Tal heights. It can be found by moving down from Dampe’s Shack.
From Martha’s bay, head up, and towards the right, you will find a small opening by swimming in that direction. That is where the Dungeon can be located.
One of the trickier dungeons to reach. You need to go up from the left side of the animal farm, and you will find a few statues blocking your path. Stun them to move to the right, and follow that path to reach the shrine.
One of the more challenging dungeons of the game, to reach this Dungeon, you will need the bird key and move towards the top left area of the map to use it. The large tower is where you need to go.
Arguably the most challenging Dungeon of the game, it requires a lot of traversals to reach. The entrance can be found near the top left area of the map.
Links Awakening provides an excellent adventure for seasoned Zelda fans hitting all the right spots, but it is the perfect Zelda experience for those new to the series. With all the systematic Zelda cues, a great art style for children and adults to enjoy, and tight gameplay ends up being an ode to the previous Zelda games while retaining its modern touch. The game doesn’t allow dull moments to creep in and helps provide a fun adventure suitable for all ages.
The Minish Cap
It is a game made for the Game Boy Advance and can be cited as one of the best Zelda adventures. It wasn’t anything new in terms of adventure but was one of the most polished Zelda experiences. Link comes into possession of a cap that helps him become miniature; this provides a new perspective on previously explored areas with a fun Zelda take on the trope.
A Link to the Past
The third installment in the widely praised Legend of Zelda series is an instant classic and one of the best RPG adventures ever offered. The dungeons and bosses have been handcrafted to perfection. The secrets hidden all across the map are fun and satisfying to discover. The game lets you flip between two very different versions of the world, the dark world and the light world giving a new take on the world’s inhabitants. The story focuses on those inhabitants, their lives, and how Link’s adventure would change their worlds.
A Link Between Worlds
A direct successor to the Link to the past, exploring the Dark and Light world elements once again. A link between worlds moves a step away from the original Zelda formula to a more open-world experience. Every Dungeon is accessible as long as the required equipment has been gotten or bought from the shady shopkeeper. This step away from the formulaic structure of the games provides a fresh take on the genre. After finishing the structured Links Awakening, it can be an excellent place to go.
The game is the predecessor to Spirit Tracks. It controlled and played much better to Spirit glass. It proved to be an improvement on all accords with a very Wind Waker art style; if you found Links awakening style to be cute, you will surely love this game. With adventures in the sea, fun sailing experiences, and the systemic Zelda formula, it can scratch your itch for more Zelda, especially if you’re a fan of the art of Links Awakening.
Oracle Of the Ages
While Oracle of the Seasons provided a more straightforward take on “Link saves the girl .”Oracle of the Ages goes beyond that barrier to offer a unique puzzle-solving and Dungeon crawling experience. It also features a much more involved storyline than its counterpart. Since it is part of the Links Awakening timeline, it is the better version of the game to sink your teeth into. While its capacity to feature a firm Zelda world is still relatively limited, its ambitious take on an exciting villain helps push it up the recommendation bar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: In What Timeline Does Links Awakening Take Place?
Answer: It is the sequel to A Link to the Past, Oracle of Seasons, and Oracle of the ages. It takes place in the downfall split timeline where Calamity Ganon defeats the hero of time after Ocarina of time. After he departs from Labyrnna, the events of Links Awakening transpire, which is followed by a Link Between Worlds.
Question: How Many Copies did Links Awakening Sell?
Answer: The game has sold almost 6 million copies. It is considered one of the Nintendo switch’s bestselling games, garnering both commercial and critical success.
Question: Is Koholint Island Hyrule?
Answer: No, the game takes place in a setting other than Hyrule, which follows the paths taken in Oracle of the seasons and Oracle of the ages games, where Link departs on a journey on the quest for enlightenment.
Question: Who Composed the Music of Links Awakening?
Answer: The music was composed by Kazumi Totaka and Minako Himano. The game has taken the original compositions and modernized them to fit in with the game’s new aesthetic, providing a fresh, unique experience for the retro classic.
Question: What Inspired Links Awakening?
Answer: The game was inspired by the famous show Twin Peaks. In an Iwada Ask’s interview, Takeshi Tezuka said
“At the time, Twin Peaks was rather popular. The drama was all about a small number of characters in a small town… So when it came to The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, I wanted to make something that, while it would be small enough in scope to easily understand, it would have deep and distinctive characteristics.”