The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch remake reviews are making the rounds, and it sounds like Nintendo has a smash hit on its hands just in time for the holiday season. While expectations for the game were undoubtedly high, many fans tempered what they believed the game would be due to the fact that the developers were going to attempt to preserve as much of the classic iteration's intent as possible.
Given that Link's Awakening debuted in 1993, that led many to expect a game with a dated feel to it, a gorgeous-looking trip down a nostalgic road that might be hampered by its decision to honor the past. The feeling around the game began to change the more it was showcased, however, and with each reveal or trailer, fans began to get more excited about the possibility of a Link's Awakening remake that lived up to more than just the bar it set for itself over two decades ago. The Nintendo Switch has proven to be the ideal platform for games to get a second lease on life, after all, and even if most of the time that's been for direct ports, there was reason to believe that magic might extend to remakes as well.
Fans will be happy to hear, then, that The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remake on Switch has lived up to the lofty expectations of even the most diehard supporter. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for the Switch remake, with many declaring it a game that, despite its classical roots, feels new. Descriptions of the game indicate that it is a prime example of how to do a remake well, while others are labeling it one of the reasons to own a Switch - and there just so happens to be the Nintendo Switch Lite debuting in sync with Link's Awakening. The game currently sits at a lofty Metacritic score of 88, while Opencritic isn't far behind with an 87 average - and a 98% critic recommendation rate, which is extremely high. It's another win for Nintendo, a company that can seemingly do no wrong when it comes to exclusive releases. Read on for more impressions of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch remake.
GameSpot - 80/100 - Peter Brown
Though the remake has a couple of blemishes, it's still an easy game to recommend. People speak of Link's Awakening as the secret best Zelda game. That's a tough call to make, but it's definitely one of the best. If you haven't touched a classic Zelda game in a while, Link's Awakening will almost instantly transport you back to the '90s. It's simple, in many ways, but the orchestrated journey still conveys a sense of adventure, and this new version is without question the best way to experience it. And more than anything else, it will put a smile on your face. Remakes are a dime a dozen nowadays and often easy to overlook. Don't make that mistake with Link's Awakening.
Game Informer - 9/10 - Jeff Cork
Link’s Awakening has always held a special place in my heart, but asking someone to go back to the original release is tough. With this remake, people don’t have any excuses for not playing through one of the best (and strangest) entries. I envy those of you who will be experiencing this for the first time, though revisiting it all these years later is still an absolute pleasure.
USGamer - 5/5 - Nadia Oxford
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remake for the Switch improves most of the flaws from the original game while maintaining (or enhancing) everything that makes Link's Game Boy adventure a classic. Its shiny new coat of paint suits it well, even if slowdown issues pop up from time to time. A few hours of play is all it takes to remind you why Zelda fans love Link's Awakening so very much.
IGN - 9.4/10 - Joe Skrebels
My most succinct recommendation for the 2019 remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening would be this: a couple of weeks ago, having finished the original, I was actively hoping that this wouldn’t be a shot-for-shot remake. Entire decades after the fact, the dungeons felt a little underthought, the controls a bit archaic. Even slowly making your way through the overworld by way of set clues, rather than the kind of self-directed navigation we were allowed in A Link Between Worlds, felt old-fashioned. And yet, as I potter once again across Koholint, digging up its last remaining secrets to avoid turning it off again, I’m delighted to have been wrong. Link’s Awakening retains the style and feel of its 1993 self, but looks and controls like a game – albeit a retro-styled one – made in 2019. In doing so, this feels like it was made in some alternate present, where games remained in 2D, puzzle-focused and strange, but tech improved to support it all. You could, I guess, call it time travel.
Forbes - 100/100 - Ollie Barder
This is a excellent remake of an already faultless Zelda game. If you never played the Game Boy original, then you absolutely need to pick this up. If, like me, you grew up playing this game, then there is a lot of new content to keep you busy. While Breath of the Wild was the game many bought their Switch for, Link’s Awakening has only reinforced that decision for me. So buckle up and let a friendly owl show you what Koholint Island has to offer.
Overall, critical response has been nothing short of amazing for The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch remake. Critics seem unanimously impressed by the game's ability to preserve the feel of its 1993 counterpart while modernizing the game enough to make it compelling in 2019 - no small feat, given the huge gap in time between these two releases. Critics also seem enamored by the game's strangeness relative to the rest of the Legend of Zelda franchise, another characteristic that has been kept and improved upon in the newest iteration of Link's Awakening. While reviews have a scattershot interpretation of the game's few flaws, they never seem to amount to enough to call the game anything but a must-play for the Nintendo Switch.
It looks like Nintendo has made an even more compelling case for consumers to pick up a Nintendo Switch this holiday season with The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a game that will inevitably appeal to both old-school retro gamers and new fans alike. It really feels like it's Nintendo's world when it comes to exclusive titles - the other platforms have their own stars as well, but the Switch has swung for the fences with many of its big exclusive releases and come away with a home run basically every time.