- Nintendo has a second major “Legend of Zelda” game in the works for its Switch console.
- The game is “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” – a remake of the classic Game Boy “Legend of Zelda” game.
- “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is scheduled to arrive in 2019.
Nintendo has another major “Legend of Zelda” game in the works for its wildly popular Switch console: “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is scheduled to arrive later this year.
The new game is a remastering of the excellent Game Boy of the same name, which originally launched in 1993.
Never heard of it? You’re not alone. It’s one of the first “Legend of Zelda” games, and it’s considered a classic by those of us who are old enough to have played it at the time.
Here’s a primer on the next major “Legend of Zelda” game for Switch:
“The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is a top-down “Zelda” game, in the style of “Link to the Past”:
Way back in 1993 when “Link’s Awakening” originally launched, it looked like a Game Boy version of “The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past” – the Super Nintendo game many consider to be the best “Zelda” game ever made.
In 2019, the art style of “Link’s Awakening” offers a glimpse into what could be another totally new avenue for “Zelda” games. Frankly speaking, it’s outrageously pretty and vibrant.
There’s a glow to everything, and a handmade look that’s reminiscent of the most recent “Yoshi” and “Kirby” games.
“Link’s Awakening” originally started life as a port of “A Link to the Past” for Game Boy, then became something unique.
In many ways, “Link’s Awakening” is a spiritual successor, or sister product, to “A Link to the Past.” It’s a top-down “Zelda” game with a similar level of depth of exploration, puzzle solving, and dungeon crawling as its Super Nintendo inspiration.
That’s part of what makes “Link’s Awakening” a classic – it was a side project created in the first golden age of “Zelda” games. Due to the fact that it was on the original Game Boy, it remains far less popular than major console entries like “A Link to the Past” and “Ocarina of Time.”
Like the first few “Zelda” games on NES and Super NES, “Link’s Awakening” has an open world — but it’s set on an island!
There’s a nautical theme to “Link’s Awakening” that helps it stand out from the pack, and the game’s focus is on collecting musical instruments.
Similarly, the game’s music is appropriately whimsical. There’s a real sense of charm and lightness to “Link’s Awakening” that its contemporaries lacked.
In a somewhat bizarre twist, “Link’s Awakening” features a few crossover characters from the Mushroom Kingdom.
More than just characters, there are whole areas in “Link’s Awakening” that are outright two-dimensional, sidescrolling affairs with Goombas and all. It’s assuredly a product of the time period, as “Legend of Zelda” games were still new – this is the first handheld one ever made – and a familiar Mario character or two didn’t hurt.
Despite being an early “Zelda” game, “Link’s Awakening” featured large explorable areas with scrolling.
More than just a remastered game, “Link’s Awakening” is a look into the future of handheld “Zelda” games.
For years, Nintendo has made two different types of “Zelda” games: Home console “Zelda” games, like 2017’s “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” and portable console “Zelda” games, like 2007’s “The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.”
The home console games are considered the “main” series games, and only come out every five to 10 years. The portable games are considered side stories, and come out slightly more often. They’re all important games for Nintendo, of course, but they’re comparatively very different approaches to the massively important “Legend of Zelda” franchise.
With the Nintendo Switch, which functions both as a home console and a handheld, the delineation between home console and portable console has ended. Look no further than the recent announcement of “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” for evidence of that fact: The Pokémon series has always been a portable franchise, but no longer.
With “Link’s Awakening” coming to the Switch, there’s another piece of major evidence that the barrier between home and portable console no longer exists for Nintendo.
The game’s dungeons are single-screen affairs, like the original “Legend of Zelda” game.
Combat is most reminiscent of “A Link to the Past,” with multiple enemies attacking at once, and Link’s shield acting as an important defence from incoming spears.
During one particularly impressive demonstration of the remaster, Link outright leaps over this enemy’s spiked log.
And yes, there are chickens for Link to torment (and be terrorised by). Watch out for the chain chomps!
But you’ve assuredly heard enough. It’s time to check out the extremely charming announcement trailer for “Link’s Awakening” right here:
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