Link’s Awakening for the Switch is great. I guess.

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX title screen

The new addition to the Zelda fam, Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch, checks aaaalllll the boxes to be a great game. Incredible graphics? Check. Triumphant return to the top-down view? Check yeah! Memorable characters? Check. Great controls and gameplay? Check-a-roonie. Engaging storyilne? Of course. But… that’s kind of where my problem with Link’s Awakening arises.

Links Awakening Game Boy
Link’s Awakening looks perfect! I see no reason to remake it.

See, I’m old school. I got the original Link’s Awakening shortly after I got my big-brick Game Boy under the Christmas tree. I remember playing it in the demo kiosk at Walmart and thinking, I need to know what happens next! Link’s Awakening blew me away with the actual work that was put into it.

See, I’m old-school.

Back then, most Game Boy games were just stripped-down ports of games from NES or SNES. Games like Castlevania: The Adventure, Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge, and TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan turned out pretty well. But I don’t think any kid back then would have preferred the Game Boy version to their big-screen counterparts. Once games like Mortal Kombat started attempting to port digitized graphics to the small screen, the results were even less spectacular.

But Link’s Awakening was truly special. As I said, the amount of work that went into it made it stand out spectacularly from its Game Boy brethren. For the first time since Mario Land, there was a Game Boy game that actually made me want to spend time with it, even though my SNES was sitting right over there, gathering dust.

Links Awakening DX screen
Link’s Awakening DX looks pretty good. No need to remake it again.

So yes. I am an OG fan of Link’s Awakening. I’ve replayed it many times over the years, and was particularly impressed with the DX version. I just replayed a few months before the Switch remake was announced. So as I play Link’s Awakening, I’m thinking, “This is great. But wasn’t I just here?

Maybe I was hoping for more than just a re-skin of the classic. Maybe I was hoping too much. Probably I was. Dampe’s dungeon builder is a really nice touch, and some of the other frills are welcome. Of course.


I can’t help but wonder what might have been, if the masterminds at Nintendo had instead used their energy and resources to create an original experience. Maybe they felt it would be a quick job just to do a face transplant for a classic Zelda title. Sort of a bonus game between Breath of the Wild 1 and 2. Just to keep fans at bay. I could dig that.

Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch
This looks pretty great! …I guess.

But at the same time, I find myself really wishing hard that this was a Link’s Awakening II, or even a reimagining along the lines of what Metroid: Samus Returns got for the 3DS. They could have stuck to the same story, but expanded the map and added new details and events to delight old-school players, and new-school players would still want to go try the original to see what was different.

Link's Awakening promo art

Hell, they might even consider including the original Link’s Awakening on the cartridge. Or hidden it somewhere as an Easter egg. See, Nintendo? I’m full of great ideas. Hit me up!

Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch IS a great game. Leave it to the Zelda franchise to live up to the overwhelming hype. Somehow. And I do love the game. But I can’t help thinking there might be a missed opportunity here.

Or maybe this is the start of a pattern, and we’ll see a remake for Zelda II soon? I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Anyway, Link’s Awakening is Ghetto Approved.


8 responses to “Link’s Awakening for the Switch is great. I guess.”

  1. […] are plenty of publishers that are showing how much money can be made from nostalgia. Link’s Awakening is a prime example. Nintendo revived the original Zelda formula and fans are thanking them with […]

  2. […] For me, Link’s Awakening was like that. I knew how it would look from previews and press art. I knew how it would play because I had played it many times before on Game Boy. Truth be told, I was sort of disappointed by how predictable Link’s Awakening was. I really hoped Nintendo would go beyond my expectation, but they didn’t. They delivered exactly what they promised and nothing more. (You can read all about my Link’s Awakening opinion here.) […]

  3. […] a young adventurer named Link through the mystical land of Hyrule, you’ll fight against giant bosses, explore tricky […]

  4. […] of dungeon-crawling, puzzle-solving, and item-based progression. With many players experiencing The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, those unfamiliar with the game may be shocked by the unique elements of the […]

  5. […] with the SNES, especially when it comes to their RPG game collection. Sure, you can fawn over The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or the Final Fantasy series, but those games owe a lot to the Sega Genesis RPGs that paved the way […]

  6. […] gamers blazing through their favorite games in unbelievable times. From retro gaming classics to modern blockbusters, the marathon had a plethora of variety for viewers to enjoy. Over the week, I binged an incredibly […]

  7. […] or Mat Face in the Japanese release of the game, must be the most terrifying enemy in Link’s Awakening. He is unique and very different from the rest of the bosses in the game as most of them are cute, […]

  8. […] kidding, of course. Zelda fans will buy anything. (Even a reskinned Game Boy game for $60 LMAO.) Besides, I’m pretty sure Nintendo is already aware of our modest demands and will […]

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