Last Updated on April 22, 2020
Sailing off from his last grand adventure, Link is caught in a tremendous storm that crashes his raft and upon the shores of Koholint Island. On the beach, Link is found by Marin who takes him back to her house and lets him rest and recover. Once awake, Link finds himself on an adventure to get off Koholint and travel home to Hyrule by gathering the eight instruments of the sirens and wake the mysterious Wind Fish inside the egg at the top of Mount Tamaranch.
This remake of Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch is a nice coat of paint on an old game. It adds a whole new look to everything, while keeping it rooted in the style of the original remake, Link’s Awakening DX, by applying the style that the pictures in that game had.
This makes for an adorable game, everything looking like a cute little action figure that just makes you go, “aw”. Keeping things the same is the essence of this remake in that there are minor differences or additions to Link’s Awakening for the Switch. The most major addition is the Dampe’s chamber dungeons which replace the Picture Gallery from LADX.
The story and layout is the same as in 1993, but with more open exploration model overworlds,as seen in A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild. The story and piecemeal mystery of the Wind Fish and the Koholint are also the same, which gives some suspense to the game. But the morality of Link’s quest, like in the original, is not really stated so much as it is something for players to chew on in their own time rather than spend extensive time to it in dialogue or story. It is good to see things stay so consistent in a remake, especially for a game that cannot be easily accessed on Nintendo hardware anymore.
That does not mean there are no changes, as there is the aforementioned Dampe Chamber Dungeons, as well as tweaks to the movement system and menu. The minor changes to movement are a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is nice to have Link be able to move in eight directions. However, limiting him to just eight directions feels stiff, especially since Link can only be moved using the joystick rather than having d-pad support, which is somewhat irritating. The menu redesign makes it more standard to the Zelda series as a whole rather than keeping the more customizable menu that the original game had. It’s good for keeping things orderly.
The addition of fairy bottles for portable healing is a nice touch, though I would be lying if I said I didn’t die because I thought the fairy would automatically heal me when it didn’t. With Dampe’s Chamber Dungeons, it is rather tacked on. It isn’t too “out of the way”. But it is rather tedious to go through the different dungeon layouts that Dampe wants you to tackle. There are three lists of four layouts that leads up to rewarding the player items that fill up the inventory and heart meter.The last list of twelve ratchets up the difficulty in making the dungeons and the monotony in completing them as well, leading to absolutely nothing of value. It is an interesting attempt to try and see if a Zelda Dungeon maker would work. But as of now it seems rather boring and uninspired.
That also leads into another thing that was changed for this remake: the Trendy Game. The Trendy Game was a claw mini-game that was not really that bad to deal with by just focusing on timing. With the remake, the claw behaves like a claw game that you find in real life, which can make the game much more frustrating to deal with.
Overall, this is a fun, enjoyable remake that stays very faithful to the original. This makes it somewhat dated in general level and overworld design, but is a great retread for people who have never played the original either by never having had it when it came out or simply being too young to have been around when it or the first remake, LADX, came out.
There are additions that are a mixed bag, with Dampe feeling like a tacked on addition to test out a Zelda Dungeon Maker, and movement that feels awkward at times. But this doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise very enjoyable playthrough of an older and odder Zelda game.