Game review: ‘The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’: Fantastic remake of Game Boy classic has multigenerational appeal

Game review: ‘The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’: Fantastic remake of Game Boy classic has multigenerational appeal


The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Nintendo)

Parents need to know that “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is an action/adventure game for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a remake of the 1993 Game Boy game of the same name. The game has a cute cartoon presentation and some mild fantasy combat that sees Link using a sword, arrows, and bombs against cartoonish fantasy creatures such as giant spiders and skeletons. There’s no blood, gore, or graphic content. Link’s a traditional hero, helping those in need, using his wits to solve puzzles, and defending himself from aggressive monsters. Figuring out what to do next can be a bit tricky in some areas, but kids may take away the lesson that perseverance pays off, and learn to approach problems as fun puzzles to be solved. The dungeon maker missions could inspire creativity and an interest in game design. Players can also use amiibo that are sold separately to unlock additional content.


“The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is a remake of the 1993 Game Boy original. It begins with series hero Link, clad in his traditional green suit and cap, waking up on the shore of a mysterious island. He wants to leave, but doing so requires him to undertake an epic mission that will see players explore every inch of the island, which is full of puzzles to be solved, dungeons to be explored, monsters to be defeated, and non-player characters to be greeted. The action’s presented from a retro overhead perspective, giving players a good view of the island, a bright and cartoonish world filled with objects and character models that almost look like miniature toys. Link begins with nothing, which limits what he can do and where he can go. But as the game goes on, he equips himself with weapons and a shield, as well as various items (bombs, a bow and arrow, boots that allow him to sprint) that give him the ability to overcome many obstacles and access new areas. While many core play concepts are very similar to the original, new elements include an improved control scheme, an enhanced map that allows players to mark areas of interest, and a new dungeon-building module that has players placing rooms on a board as though they were tiles before venturing in to explore what they’ve created.


Remakes don’t get much better than this.” The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” stays remarkably faithful to the original, bringing forward all of the key elements that made it an enduring classic. From puzzles and map locations to bosses and their weaknesses, players familiar with the Game Boy version may be surprised at just how much Nintendo’s designers have kept. And the changes they’ve made — such as making it easier to access items when needed, track important locations on the map, and move around the island — are essentially quality of life improvements that shouldn’t give purists any cause to complain. The visuals and music are all brand new, too, but are invested with such style and possessed of such reverence for the original that they are instantly iconic.

What might be most astonishing is just how well everything has aged. Link’s simple combat skills — basically just stabbing with a sword and blocking with his shield — are still effective and gratifying. Older players are bound to experience a pleasant sense of nostalgia, but this is unnecessary to appreciate the rest of the adventure. “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is a fantastic way for parents to introduce an enduring classic they played when they were younger to their own kids.


Recommended for ages 8 and older

Quality: 5 out of 5

Positive messages: 3 out of 5

Positive role models: 3 out of 5

Ease of play: 3 out of 5

Violence and scariness: 2 out of 5

Language: 0 out of 5

Consumerism: 1 out of 5


Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Price: $59.99

Developer: Nintendo

Release date: September 20, 2019

Genre: Action/Adventure

ESRB rating: E for mild fantasy violence

Find it on Amazon


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Parents need to know that “BurgerTime Party!" is an arcade game exclusively available for the Nintendo Switch. The game's a reboot/remake of the classic arcade game BurgerTime, with a new presentation, new gameplay elements and new co-op and competitive multiplayer features. The point of the game is having players rush to build giant hamburgers while avoiding getting caught by discarded toppings chasing them down. There's very little violence, apart from dropping burger parts on top of enemies or taking the ground out from beneath them. Multiplayer options allow players to work together in teams to build burgers and even to take on the roles of the enemies, coordinating with other to stop the chefs in their tracks. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.

Parents need to know that Pokemon Sword/Shield are adventure role-playing games exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. This game brings a pair of young Pokemon trainers across a new region as they attempt to become the champion of the land, defeating rivals and amateur collectors to prove they’re the best in the land. Combat is the focus of the game, and Pokemon launch a variety of attacks at each other in combat ranging from punches and breathing fire to blasts of energy and jets of water. But enemies, when defeated, either fade away or disappear into a shimmering pool of light, and no blood or gore is shown. Some female characters wear tight or revealing clothing, but otherwise, no inappropriate content is included in the game. Parents should know that there’s a larger focus on teamwork and cooperation in this game than previous titles in the series, and players can partner together with other gamers to defeat Pokemon or trade creatures between each other.

Parents need to know that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a science fiction action/adventure game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. The game’s set within the expansive Star Wars universe, shortly after the events of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. Players take on the role of a young fugitive Jedi on a quest to try to rebuild and restore the Jedi Order. Action is constant, with frequent killing shown onscreen and some intense moments of violence in cutscenes, though no blood or graphic gore is shown. The game emphasizes timing in combat and presents a relatively high degree of challenge, especially at higher difficulty levels. The word “bastard” is heard in some dialogue.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News