In an entertainment world so bogged down by remakes and remasters, one must ask themselves: Are they worth our money? With Nintendo games, it’s a toss-up.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was first released for the Gameboy handheld system in 1993, remastered for the Gameboy Color in 1998 and has now been remastered yet again for the Nintendo Switch, 21 years later.
The first thing that needs to be made abundantly clear is that this is indeed a remaster, not a remake. This is a brick for brick recreation of the Gameboy Color version of the game, with a complete graphical overhaul. The original version of the game had you exploring the world screen by screen, with a short transition anytime you moved to the next screen. In the 2019 version, the world is all loaded together, which was nice to see.
Seeing as the Switch can handle Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s immense map all at once, this game should have been no trouble for the system. This fact made the occasional drop in frames-per-second seem confusing. It was never bad enough to hinder the experience, but it was annoying.
The sound design is no doubt my favorite aspect of the game. Link and the world’s cute, almost toy-like design is reflected through the sound. The music is beautifully orchestrated and almost has a merry-go-round kind of charm to it. The sound effects are plucky and utterly delightful. This was a game that I turned up the TV to play.
The gameplay itself is clunky compared to other top-down Zelda titles. Link’s movement options have been improved compared to other titles, such as Link to the Past, but despite the smoothed-out look of this remaster, it still feels like you’re controlling Link on a grid. On the plus side, this is one of the few games where Link can jump.
The game itself isn’t too long, but it’s not rushed by any means. While moving through the story at a fairly fast pace, it still took around nine hours to complete the game. While by today’s Triple-A RPG standards that is short, the game remained interesting and fun the whole way through and it ended just when it needed to.
If you have a Switch, have the money to spare, and are wondering whether to buy the game, I’d say go for it. It’s a good waste of time and a cute Zelda game. If you don’t need another game to play for a bit and are on the fence about spending the money, just wait for Luigi’s Mansion next month.