Link’s Awakening Switch review

Just over 9 years ago I came back home from my local GP, arm heavily bandaged, having had my first contraceptive implant put in. My console of choice at the time was the Nintendo Wii – a game changer (pun intended) in freeing the player from traditional controllers. No longer did the gamer need to sit with a lump of plastic tightly gripped in both hands. The Wiimote was designed to emulate everything from a bowling ball to a sword. It was brilliant. And, I realised as I struggled to remove my coat, utterly useless to me for the next couple of weeks. I could barely lift my arm above elbow height let alone simulate a game of tennis.

Fortunately the 2nd hand unit we’d bought had included a couple of Wavebirds and, remastered for the Wii, classic Legend of Zelda titles Windwaker and Ocarina of Time. I settled down in my reduced-mobility state to indulge in a little retro Link action.

Nearly a decade later I was recovering after having implant #3 removed in favour of a more permanent solution. So I took a break from my beloved Ring Fit, in favour of Link’s Awakening, the 2019 Switch version of the 1993 Game Boy adventure. My contraceptive implant journey has been book-ended by Link’s adventures. Seems fitting, somehow.

It’s a fab little game! The tilt-shift effect works beautifully to pop a 2D game into a 3D aesthetic. The camera reacts to your movements, panning up ever so slightly as needed to optimise the overhead view when you’re up against a near-side wall. It’s done seamlessly and sympathetically to both the player needs and the source material. Full marks there!

I first encountered our green-garbed Hero back in 2006 with Twilight Princess, and worked backwards through Windwaker and Ocarina of Time. Then forward again with Skyward Sword and BoTW. So it was really fun to see some of my favourite bits of Zelda-lore in a more embryonic form. The Like Likes which plagued my progress in Ocarina, the satisfaction of denuding a Helmasaur, and even the mysterious Wind Fish which clearly shares some DNA with Skyward Sword’s Levias.

It’s inevitable that a game like this will feel a little claustrophobic after the sweeping vistas of Breath of the Wild. Heck, the whole game map would probably fit into Hyrule Field. But it seems a bit churlish to try to compare a remastering of an old title with newer offerings. There is still plenty to do over 15 or so hours of game time (actually more like 17 in my case as I really struggled with the final boss) so I didn’t come away feeling short-changed. For a diversion while I healed up, it was really quite lovely.