The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Switch remake is a trip down memory lane for those who loved handheld gaming systems in the ‘90s. The game jumped off the monochromatic screens into this day and age with top marks and its adaptation looks and feels very good. This Nintendo Switch remake is the second time this game has been revived since the Game Boy classic version, and it revives the old adventure and its setting in style.
Development and reception
The original title was developed by Nintendo EAD for Game Boy in 1993 and Game Boy Color in 1998. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake comes to Nintendo Switch thanks to Grezzo, a Japanese developer founded in 2006 best known for their Mana series. They also worked on numerous Zelda titles in the past, like The Legend of Legacy, Tri Force Heroes, and others. This time, the developers decided to revive this title with visuals inspired by A Link to the Past, with plasticine toy-like modeled characters.
The game immediately inspired favorable feedback, with critics mostly praising the remake methodology and approach the developer used. In its basics, it needed a few changes, which is what everyone agrees on, so this title scored high marks on some of the web’s most respectable publications, including IGN (9.4/10) and Metacritic (88/100). Zelda also reached #1 in sales on the UK Physical charts, becoming the fastest-selling debut for Grezzo and their top hit for 2019.
The story sets the player on a Koholint Island as Link. He is stranded and rescued by Marin, after which he embarks on a quest to gather the instruments of the Sirens and use them in the Koholint’s Wind Fish legendary creature’s awakening. The entire island is tightly divided into story chapters and levels, so it feels like an open world in fact.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is an action-adventure game played from a top-down perspective, similar to many other adventures from the days of Game Boy. However, Grezzo went all in to improve on every aspect while keeping the core gameplay intact. The game is still a puzzle, with many obstacles to jump over, get around, or under, and also features changes in the pace and type, becoming a side-scrolling platform at times.
Everything is incredibly faithful to the source material, but Nintendo did implement some new features, of course, to port the game to this millennium. These new features include some collectibles and other features that expand the game’s content and enable higher levels of gameplay skill mastering.
Graphics and Atmosphere
Visual improvements are what steals the show with The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening game. The artistic style paired with fairytale scores will take you back to your childhood in an instant. Models and textures are designed to feel as realistic as possible, looking more like real-life toys than pixels on a screen. This is further enhanced by Nintendo Switch’s lighting capability, but the game also uses a quite emphasized blurring effect, to make the view of the game much more realistic. This is called the “Depth of Field” effect and it really makes the entire game much more realistic by blurring out objects in the background to enhance the miniature toy feeling of the main actors of the current gameplay scene.
Remakes are done quite often, but there are very few as good as this one. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Switch remake should be an example to all, not only Nintendo, on how to revive oldie goldie games we all love and would like brought back to life on new-generation consoles and platforms. It is an absolute blast to play, a joy to look at, and will keep anyone entertained indefinitely.