Guest article written by: Eric Zavinski
The moment Link washes ashore on Koholint Island, the player knows they’re in for something far removed from the rest of The Legend of Zelda series. That was as true in 1993 as it was self-evident in 2019. In eras of both the original Game Boy release and the Nintendo Switch remake, the immediate past Zelda game had featured Link and Zelda teaming up across time or space to take on the evil scourge of Ganon in either A Link to the Past or Breath of the Wild. In Link’s Awakening, however, a stunning, animated cutscene introduces the player to a world in which all is not as it seems.
When I say this, know it’s literal. I had the pleasure of visiting the Link’s Awakening showcase at E3 2019 in Los Angeles. Four dioramas made of the finest craftsmanship showed off the Link’s Awakening land and characters in true sculpture. The stations on which to play the Link’s Awakening demo surrounded these dioramas, making for one of the most quaint and endearing Nintendo booths in E3 memory.
As I first played Link’s Awakening at this event, I had immediately hooked myself into Koholint Island full of fresh life. The characters with heads as big as bobble-head figures talked to Link with whimsy and urgency as the brave knight sought to help the village maiden Marin find her father, Tarin. He had been transformed into a Tanooki, and it was around that time that Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser asked me how the game held up all these years after the original release.
Having the man himself look over my shoulder as I played was a surreal moment to be sure but telling him the truth was easy. Link’s Awakening breathes new life into a retro Zelda game that desperately needed to touch the hearts of new gamers today. The art style, with its adorable foxes, Moblins, dungeons, and Chain Chomps, will wow just about anyone into playing for an hour or two more than intended.
The revitalized music soars as Link travels the regions of Koholint Island with gusto, and for those looking for a reimagined take on a Nintendo classic, there really is no better than The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Switch, even if there is no Zelda to be found this time at all.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review:
Initial Release: September 20, 2019
Pricing: $59.99 USD
Category: Adventure, Action
Players: 1 player
The reimagining of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, is one that brings back the joy of the original Gameboy title, whilst presenting this classic tale in an entirely different graphical style that still displays it as cute and charming game it always was, just presented in a different way as players make a long-awaited return to Koholint Island to rediscover one of Link’s earlier outings.