Light theme

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening review
by Austin

7/10

+ Awesome unique art style that fits game well
+ Quality of life changes (Item mapping! Scrolling screen!)
+ Compact yet expansive overall experience
+ Fully commits to it's unique story and world
+ Dense map design and clever dungeon design

- Frame rate inconsistency
- Dungeon builder stops far short of it's potential
- Rigid adherence to original map and movement
- Value not entirely there; game feels limited today

Other reviews2

My first real impression with Link's Awakening was 8 or 7 years ago in a videogame music podcast, I like a lot and even love some Zelda games but I'm not the biggest fan but there remain a few that I haven't played yet, mostly the 2D ones, so when I heard about this game I didn't give it much thought, only the fact that someone in that podcast spoiled to me ending and some "character arcs". Back to 2019, I played the game with the knowledge of what will come, so at first, I wasn't that into, but when I rapidly advanced through the world map I surely was immersed in this Koholint Island world. Link's Awakening smells a lot like classic Zelda, after beating BOTW it was a little hard and sometimes annoying get back into the classic style puzzles and linear story structure, but that cynicism disappeared the more I played, because there is a lot of heart and craft to this game that it's hard to imagine someone, not liking it. The music is spot on, with some orchestral feel or 8 bit sound or even a mix of both. The art style and graphics are so charming that it makes you feel you're a 5-year-old kid playing with your toys. It has a good sensation of nostalgia, and I don't mean it because it's a remake (of a game that I've never played, mind you), but because the themes in the story and the mood of the ambient, to me it felt like a coming of age story or like a summer trip to a new place where you make new friends but you never see again, that kind of nostalgia. There are some issues with this game, the majority are minor, things like uneven framerates here and there or passing issues, but my biggest complaint may be the dungeon design; the difficulty is pretty horizontal at least for the first dungeons but things go really vertical at the 4th onwards, and mostly its because you have to do a lot of backtracking, maybe it would be a lower issue (but still an issue) if not for the hero difficulty (it's the hard mode for the ones that are not familiar), which more than challenging I think it's annoying, the enemies do double damage but the combat is not polished enough so at times it was so frustrating to go back from point Z to point A and go around every room in the dungeon and dodge every hazard on the way, sometimes it was better to just die and start in the dungeon's entrance, but I'm not dying and neither Link so we breakthrough just because is our duty and we're heroes. Aside from that, I have a great time uncovering every puzzle in there. The appeal of this remake aside from the obvious graphic overhaul it's that is allegedly a well-crafted emulation true to the original game (mostly the game boy color version which came after) and for that, its easy to see how this is a timeless game and I will never forget the beauty of its simple yet likable design, choices and characters, and most likely I will never forget Marin.
Read more...
«Time-tested»
«That ending!»