Incase this may break continuity on how I feel on games and specific games, this will be put into the perspective of Demon Tristie.
The GBA was my only connection to the Nintendo in his early childhood, other than the Wii but that would be years later. I personally haven’t played much of the original DX version at all except for a custom cartridge on the Game Boy Advanced, (yes you can actually get those on Ebay) even then I didn’t play much of it because its battery died soon later. Coming back to this game, with hardly any memory from it or playing the series was a breath of fresh air for me.
“It was a dark and stormy night” is usually a cliché way of starting a story. In Link’s Awakening, however, that doesn’t matter as its charming gameplay and enticing mystery sucks you into the game. Its gameplay is simple yet fun as ever with its rewarding mechanics and challenging dungeons. It seems rather silly at first to price a remake at $60. But when you look at the features it offers on top of its visual upgrade then it really is worth that price. The gameplay itself is still crisp. Albeit very simplistic, its gameplay is charming enough and still fun as hell. The trading sequence is a blast and the dungeons are insanely fun to figure out. Everything just…. connects and it’s great to get that rush. That’s what gameplay is about. It’s about tight design and building up from previous experiences for newer experiences within the game.
The graphics in the game are wonderful, though pretty laggy at times. Not only is the visual art direction absolutely wonderful with remastered and new soundtracks, but the ability to build your own dungeons and download others’ gives an even better experience. On top of that, the obvious references to other Nintendo games lends itself surprisingly well to the style. The side-scrolling ones are filled with Mario enemies and you’ll sometimes come across something from the Kirby games. Except, as I mentioned, it gets pretty laggy at times. An undocked Nintendo Switch can prove to be irritating as entering new areas can cause pretty hefty framerate drops of 20-30 fps for a second or two while it’s loading. And once you enter a water area? Oh boy that’ll kill your framerate to 20-30 fps for as long as you’re there, hopefully this works better on the Switch Lite but it’s frankly painful to go through it for longer periods. Regardless it’s 60 fps for the most part and it looks gorgeous.
The Soundtrack is also something to note more in detail. The Ballad of the Wind Fish is probably one of the best Zelda tracks out there (and I’ve listened to a large majority, but still, take my opinion with a grain of salt). I also love that it puts in some chiptune for the sound design to hark back to the original Gameboy version. It’s a nice touch with its artstyle and cheery attitude.
Overall, Link’s Awakening is an excellent game. It’s framedrops are nothing compared to its beautiful style, good soundtrack and its simple but elegant gameplay. If you’re a Zelda fan I highly recommend it. If you have a Switch and you’re looking for a nice single player game, I definitely recommend it.