This review has been a long time coming. Due to the (semi) recent discovery that my wife is pregnant we’ve been focused on attempting to move into a larger home so I haven’t had time to write. I’m getting terribly behind so I decided to use my lunch break today to finish up a few old reviews.
My boys both ‘chipped in’ and bought me The Link Between Worlds for Christmas. After wrapping it up and putting it under the tree they constantly pointed at it and reminded me that it was from them but they wouldn’t tell me what it was. What a surprise when the 3DS game shaped box from my boys turned out to be the only 3DS game on my Christmas list!
I’d already played the game at the Symphony of the Goddesses concert so I knew what to expect. The graphics look fantastic, and the 60 fps frame rate is so smooth it almost makes it feel like Link is floating. While it isn’t necessary the 3D effect looks fantastic. Lots of cool visual effects have been added to make use of the 3DS hardware. Dropping through floors (or bouncing up through floors), flying enemies or other various effects all look fantastic. I played the game mostly in 3D when I was playing alone but since my boys wanted to watch I had to shut it off frequently.
The map of the world is almost exactly like the map for ‘A Link to the Past’ (Which was the first SNES game I ever played) so I didn’t need to spent a lot of time exploring. The game introduces a host of new memorable characters including (but not limited to) Zelda’s Lorule counterpart Princess Hilda, a new villain named Yuga, and a character named Ravio who dresses as a bunny (similar in appearance to Nabbit from NSMBU) and turns your house into an item shop.
All of the items are available from the item shop as soon as it opens so there is no need to beat dungeons in a specific order to progress through the game. The game helpfully tells you where all the dungeons are from the beginning and you can tackle them in any order. While there are no items in dungeons there are heart containers so it’s still a good idea to tackle the easier ones first. I ended up tackling the harder ones first accidentally and was lucky I brought enough fairies.
When you die you lose all of your rented items but you keep items you have purchased outright. Early in the game this is an inconvenience but money is easy to come by so I had fully purchased the entire arsenal of items well before the end of the game. The items will all be familiar to anyone who has played Zelda before. Bombs and Boomerangs and Bug catching nets.
The villain of the game is an evil Wizard named Yuga that has the ability to turn people into paintings. Yuga made a pretty poor villain and while I’m OK with Nintendo venturing away from re-using Gannon over and over and over and over I’d rather see them create an interesting Villain that makes sense.
Anyway, through the course of events Link is turned into a painting but luck would have it that this only makes him more bad-ass that before. Instead of being an inanimate painting Link can walk around on walls. This gives him the ability to cross over chasms, walk through barred windows, cross through the narrows cracks between Hyrule and Lorule and escape from the 3D villains that roam the world. The wall crawling mechanic is what sets this game apart from other games in the series. I often came to a puzzle I couldn’t immediately find the solution to only to eventually realize “Hey…wait! I can walk on walls!”.
The game uses the 3D capabilities of the 3DS fantastically. The game can be played in 3D but there are several effects that look too cool in 3D to be skipped. If you have more than one eye I suggest leaving 3D on as much as possible. Thanks to Wind Waker HD both of my boys are big Zelda fans so if they caught me playing them game they insisted on watching. I frequently had to shut the 3D feature off so they wouldn’t go blind. I think that says something about how much I care about my boys.
Streetpass iso also used to great effect in the game. You can create a Shadow Link that will be sent out to other people you encounter via Streetpass. The Shadow Link you send has the same number of hearts as you, and you can arm it with two additional items. You don’t get any feedback if your Shadow defeats anyone or not but I like to think my Shadow is undefeated. If you beat a Shadow Link you win rupees which, as previously mentioned, you’re probably not greatly in need of. Fortunately Nintendo also lets you fight for Achievements. Achievements take the form of ‘Beat your enemy using the upgraded bug net to deal the final blow’ and things like that. Without Streetpass I probably would have stopped playing Zelda after I beat it but now I’ve gone for the full 100% of items and I check back into the game at least once a week to see who is waiting to fight me.
My wife was surprised I finished the game as quickly as I did. I’m not surprised though. I was playing it constantly for several days. The game is a lot of fun and if you have a 3DS I recommend picking up a copy.
- Fun wall-walking mechanic
- Great use of 3D.
- Fun Streetpass battles.
- Items are all from previous Zelda games.
Genre: Action / Adventure