‘Link’s Awakening’ Is Officially The Weirdest Game In ‘The Legend Of Zelda’ Series
At E3 2019, we had the chance to play Nintendo’s remake of Link’s Awakening, reconfirming that this is absolutely the weirdest game in The Legend of Zelda series. Stranger than Link gaining a fursona. An end of days 72-hour time loop of the moon crashing into the planet? More bizarre than that. Even every single thing Tingle has done on this plane of existence has nothing on this.
An Adorable Diorama World Of Wonder And Weird
After being shipwrecked on a seemingly inescapable tropical island, Link is tasked with finding the eight instruments of the siren to awaken the all-powerful Wind Fish that rests in an egg atop Mt. Tamarach and find his way back home. In Junkee’s demo, we explored the peaceful Mabe village, its quirky residents and the mysterious forest nearby.
Compared to the original release of Link’s Awakening, Nintendo’s Switch remake features a beautiful 3D world in a gorgeously diorama-esque aesthetic. Link, Mabe’s villagers and the furry critters of this world are adorably animated, comedic and shiny like a set of miniature figurines that are polished daily.
hey…here's what I worked on this year!!! 💃🤺🦊🐓🏝🏡🌊 pic.twitter.com/IaOmKHSJ5j
— Max Hancock (@kouotsu) June 11, 2019
Waking with just a shield on hand, I ventured out to the beach south of the village to find my sword. Running down flights of stairs, avoiding boulders shot out of octoroks’ mouths and slowly moving spinning sea urchins of death, I quickly found it and retraced my steps, heading towards the mysterious nearby forest.
On the way, I passed a pair of twins throwing a ball outside a house. Curious, I walked into the stone built complex, discovering a library of hints and silly lore. Several books were left open on Podemos throughout the room for me to read, but I was drawn to the one hidden away and sticking out of the top of the bookshelf. I approached it and pressed A.
“This is a bookshelf,” it reads. “What? You could see that? OK.”
Within moments, it’s hugely apparent that Link’s Awakening is the quirky cousin of Legend of Zelda, one that fans of Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess will surely enjoy. Everything about Link’s Awakening’s world and characters is crafted with that goofy fourth wall breaking charm. It takes the silly and makes it surreal.
An empty house with all but the sound of a ringing phone echoing throughout with no one on the other end. Bow Wow, the chomp chomp tied to the front garden of a sweet old lady’s home. A sweet-talking alligator salesman called Sal. Two bone boys in a colour-coded switching dungeon that look suspiciously like Undertale’s Sans and Papyrus.
We’re fucking sold.
I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY HAVE SANS AND PAPYRUS IN LINK'S AWAKENING pic.twitter.com/J4OhklfT44
— 🍑Pech🍑 (@peachdalooza) June 11, 2019
As producer Eiji Aonuma told fans in a Nintendo Treehouse live stream, expect to see a lot more cameos and gameplay genre streamlined in Link’s Awakening. Nintendo’s executive officer Takashi Tezuka, who has a legacy producing 2D Mario, Yoshi and Animal Crossing games, is producing the game, so it’s no surprise to see their icons and energy among Link’s Awakening’s characters and tone.
A quest in the demo had the player winning an adorable chibi Yoshi doll from a crane game, before embarking on a long journey exchanging items among various members of Mabe’s Village.
In the Nintendo Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, the text that appears when Link obtains the Yoshi Doll (right) is different from the text in the original Game Boy version (left) and references how much time has passed between the versions. pic.twitter.com/NKjfimhxxl
— Supper Mario Broth (@MarioBrothBlog) June 11, 2019
Oh, and there’s a shopkeeper who if he catches you stealing and you ever return to his shop, will fire a laser beam and kill you.
lol you can still steal items from the shop in the Link’s Awakening remake pic.twitter.com/KbK8ccr9DD
— TAHK0 ☕️ (@TAHK0) June 13, 2019
Dungeons, Old And New
As I stopped sidetracking and walked north to the mysterious forest, I fought my way through spear-throwing moblins, sluggishly slow but hearty sword and shield wearing moblins, adorably jellies that conduct electricity, a dumb amount of bats and gels that multiply into tiny clones when killed.
Deep within the forest, however, sat a mischievous raccoon that would not move. His pudgy little legs determined to sit still, blocking my path. As a Nintendo representative watching my gameplay told Junkee, to get him to move, I needed to seek out the help of an old witch in a cabin in the woods.
Allegedly, there was also a major dungeon I could explore if I was more conscious of my time and went directly towards it at the beginning of the demo. In the same vein as Super Mario Maker and custom stage building in Super Smash Bros., Link’s Awakening features a series of large-scale dungeons made by the team, but players can also create their own dungeons in a new mode, called chamber dungeons.
As you make your way through the game’s core eight dungeons, you’ll unlock pieces of the rooms you’ve clear that you can use in designing your own. Each room will have chests, locked doors, multiple floors and specific doorways to map out the structure and continuity of your dungeon. While you’ll be given a decent level of freedom in customising your dungeons and using a variety of different puzzles, environments and enemies you’ve encountered, all chamber dungeons will need an entrance, a nightmare boss room and doorways that connect each room to operate.
“I’ve always wanted to create a way for players to create their own dungeon, but I didn’t want to make anything too hard,” Aonuma explained in the Nintendo Treehouse gameplay demo. “Just like a puzzle, I wanted to make Chamber Dungeons easy enough for people to play and feel like they’re solving a puzzle.”
We’ll be able to meet more of this mysterious island’s residents and locations when Link awakens on Nintendo Switch on September 20. While made by Grezzo, the studio behind the 3DS remasters of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, hopefully this leads to Nintendo remaking other cult classic Nintendo games.
Super Mario RPG anyone?
Can we get a Link’s Awakening style remake for Super Mario RPG? pic.twitter.com/Jbca2kasZf
— Chris Becker (@SuperNintendad) June 15, 2019
In the meantime, please enjoy the many of us freaking out over last week’s Nintendo Direct, specifically Zelda’s new haircut in the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Julian Rizzo-Smith is a freelance game and pop culture writer. He wants you to know that his favourite games in the franchise are Breath of the Wild, Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker HD. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster.