The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening review round-up

It’s strange to think that one of the biggest Switch releases of the year is an 8-bit Game Boy remake. Then again, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening wasn’t your typical Game Boy game – it was one of the handheld’s finest, cramming a console-quality adventure into a cartridge the size of an After Eight.

Due to the Game Boy having more success in Europe than the NES, it also the first taste of Zelda for many Nintendo fans.

Reviews of the ravishing remake are now live. As expected, scores are a mixture of 8s and 9s, with a smattering of 10/10s. The Metacritic currently stands at 88%, formed from 64 reviews.

Here’s a round-up of what’s being said:

5/5 – US Gamer: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake for the Switch improves most of the flaws from the original game while maintaining (or enhancing) everything that makes Link’s Game Boy adventure a classic. Its shiny new coat of paint suits it well, even if slowdown issues pop up from time to time. A few hours of play is all it takes to remind you why Zelda fans love Link’s Awakening so very much.

9.4 – IGN: Updating the look but never losing the feel of the original, Link’s Awakening is a masterclass in remaking a classic.

9/10 – Nintendo Insider: […] The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is just as magical as it ever was, and, in being remade, has lost none of the charm that made the original so special in the first place. Grezzo must take the credit for that, delivering an exceptional remake that’s both a perfect entry point for those new to the series and a worthwhile nostalgic trip for those that have set out on this adventure before.

9/10 – Game Informer: The most striking thing about the new version of Link’s Awakening is how it feels simultaneously fresh and familiar. The remake forgoes the original’s screen-by-screen overworld navigation in favor of smooth-scrolling exploration, but the placement of every tree, house, and buried seashell is right where it was back in the day.

9/10 – Destructoid: Slight gripes with the new engine and the old source aside, this is still Link’s Awakening: one of the best Zelda games to date. Although I don’t think I’m going to rotate the DX version out of my yearly Zelda replay sessions, I’ll definitely be working the Switch remake in.

9.0 – God is a Geek: Whether you’re a new or old player, Link’s Awakening remains is hugely compelling and is another Switch must-have.

9/10 – Nintendo Life: This beautiful Switch remake rebuilds all of this from the ground up in fine style. It adds modern conveniences, a dungeon creator, amiibo support and lots of little quality of life improvements whilst infusing every single square inch of Koholint – every secret passage, Piranha, Pokey and Pig Warrior – with a level of detail and depth that totally reinvigorates both its timeless story and classic Zelda gameplay for a whole new generation of gamers.

8.1 – VideoChums: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was a wonderful game when it first released and this new Switch version may not deviate much from the original but it definitely looks and sounds great. The few sprinkles of additional content add some much-needed value, too.

4/5 – VG24/7: Let down only by the lackluster dungeon creator and some uneven performance, the design of Link’s Awakening nevertheless holds up brilliantly, which in turn makes the slavishly accurate recreation worthwhile. 

8/10 – The Metro: The lack of any meaningful additions is a surprise, but it only underlines what a fantastic game the Game Boy original was, in what is still a classic Zelda title that thoroughly deserves the star treatment.

8/10 – GameSpot: If you haven’t touched a classic Zelda game in a while, Link’s Awakening will almost instantly transport you back to the ’90s. It’s simple, in many ways, but the orchestrated journey still conveys a sense of adventure, and this new version is without question the best way to experience it. And more than anything else, it will put a smile on your face. Remakes are a dime a dozen nowadays and often easy to overlook. Don’t make that mistake with Link’s Awakening.

4/5 – EGM: It’s a classic Zelda game given a second chance with a striking visual language and evocative, haunting musical reinterpretations. Making the jump from the Game Boy to the Switch means that you’ll spend a lot less time changing items in the menu and much more time appreciating the meticulous clockwork of Koholint Island’s challenges.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is out 20th September on Nintendo Switch.

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