The Legend of Zelda game franchise is little short of outstandingly good on the whole (there’s only a couple of turkeys in there, in my opinion) and one of the best, for many people is “A Link To The Past” on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (aka the SNES). A Link Between Worlds is essentially a new game in the same “world” (the Zelda games don’t necessarily have the same worlds in the differing games, although recurring characters are common). Both games have a sort of top down/slightly at an angle perspective in a world of familiar Zelda place names and characters. It goes without saying, of course, that the 3DS game (being a much newer gaming system) is graphically superior to the SNES game (more pixels, more colours) but the only “major” difference is the ability of the 3DS version to play it in “3D” (I use the term loosely). If you’re not familiar with the 3D on a 3DS it’s hard to explain and, needless to say, can’t be shown on the computer screen you’re reading from. Personally I am not a big fan of the 3DS 3D feature, it gives me a bit of a headache and you have to view it at just the right angle, and to call it “3D” as oppose to “raised a bit and slightly odd” is not particularly accurate in my opinion.
So for the purpose of the review I am concentrating on the game, not the gaming system. I like my 3DS very much but I don’t turn the 3D feature on and play games in the normal mode just like a regular Nintendo DS, your mileage may vary of course.
The top down perspective puts this firmly in the same camp as the SNES (A Link To The Past) and assorted Gameboy Zeldas (Link’s Awakening, Oracle Of Ages, Oracle Of Seasons, Minish Cap). As before you control the character Link, who is as usual dressed in green (apparently the “hero” of Zelda legend is always dressed thus; although in the Gamecube Zelda Wind Waker you can play second time round in his pyjamas!) Each Zelda tends to have a new “twist”, in this game it’s Link’s ability to “merge” into 2D and traverse surfaces (primarily walls). The game also features Streetpass (you can connect with other players of the same game and share battles) as well as a “hint mode” for when you get stuck with one of the inevitable infuriating Zelda “puzzles”. As before you level up gaining a new “heart” every time you complete a dungeon/level and can get weapon upgrades and other items such as a bow and arrows, bombs, hookshot and so on. Bear in mind when I say “level up”, this is not like an RPG (such as the Ultima Games) or JRPG (such as Final Fantasy) when you can level up by defeating more enemies; in Zelda the “level up” points are at specific points so often you’re better off just avoiding a lot of enemies rather than “grinding” like in the aforementioned RPG/JRPG. However, like the RPG/JRPG you can collect money and replacement bombs/arrows/etc.
Several “themes” repeat themselves throughout the game (and it is testament to the quality of the games that they can get away with this!), Link “borrowing” a sword he was delivering, missing maidens, light world/dark world and more. Despite this it is still a damn good game and to my mind one of the best in the Zelda franchise. It’s not overbearingly hard (there is a harder “hero” mode you can play after completing it once) so the little ones can manage it no problem (and old farts like me!) The controls are the conventional pad and buttons of the 3DS and it all works really well. I think the reason I enjoyed playing (and completing) it was the fact that the first Zelda I played was a handheld one (Link’s Awakening) and it reminded me a fair bit of this and how much I enjoyed playing that.
What’s particularly appealing is the fact that it’s a damn good fun game, and it doesn’t need “flashy graphics” like a Xbox One or Sony PS4 system, it’s good on its own merits and it’s an example of what Nintendo tends to do best: make fun games (there’s a trailer below so you can see for yourself!)
I give it 8.5 out of 10.
PS Zelda games tend to go up in value, once Nintendo stop making them they become “rare” and tend to go up in value, just take look on Amazon and see the price of various different Zeldas, so you can buy one of these and kid yourself it’s “an investment” 😉