A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story encourages players to be helpful and kind to those in need. Players will find that taking time to think about puzzles and persevering in harder areas can lead to rewards. The dungeon making missions could inspire kids to be creative and take an interest in game design.
Positive Role Models
Link is a standard smiling hero, happy to lend assistance to the troubled and fight off monsters when they attack. He also displays intelligence when solving puzzles and bravery when facing tough bosses.
Ease of Play
The controls are basic, the menu is easy to navigate, and general guidance is provided by a character Link can telephone from special huts. But it's easy to get stuck figuring out specifically what needs to be done next, which could lead some players to seek help from online guides.
Violence & Scariness
Link uses a sword, bow and arrow, and bombs to attack cartoonish fantasy creatures, including spider-like foes and skeletons. There's no blood or gore, and enemies simply disappear once defeated.
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Products & Purchases
Players are encouraged to use amiibo figurines (sold separately) to unlock exclusive content.
Parents Need to Know
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.
Is It Any Good?
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. The only potentially rough spot is the new dungeon building activity -- which could have benefited from giving players a little more freedom to create -- but the fact that this is the harshest criticism speaks volumes about the quality of the rest of the experience.
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. The thrill of discovering secret areas is just as potent as it's ever been. And earning items necessary to get past obstacles and access new areas is a compelling motivator to keep exploring. Even slicing swaths of grass looking for treasure remains weirdly satisfying. And all of this seems to be age agnostic. Older players are bound to experience a pleasant sense of nostalgia, but this is unnecessary to appreciate the rest of the adventure. Indeed, 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.
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