2013 was a turning point for the Nintendo 3DS console. The software line-up changed opinions of the console from afterthought to leading light of the hardware market. The casual and family audiences moved towards the system in 2012, and now the core demographic was being provided with plenty of reasons to reinforce the worth of their investment. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was undoubtedly designed to be another of these reasons. The game offered an experience that core gamers never asked for, but unquestionably gobbled up in droves.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past remains one of the most critically acclaimed videogame titles of all time. Capitalising on this success is nothing less than good business sense. It’s more of a shock that it’s taken Nintendo so long to do it.

The fear, of course, is that a poor successor may tarnish the memory. It’s very clear that Nintendo was careful to create a true successor and not just a remix or cash-in. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a SNES videogame created on more modern hardware. And it simply couldn’t get any better than that.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds screenshot

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – New Yet Familiar

The original Hyrule Field is recreated as an immaculate rendition of the classic layout we all know and love. With the open area ranging from Link’s house to the desert in the west. This was the journey to be undertaken, with dungeons often located in the same position as in the original The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. En route players familiar with the original will witness many positive reflections – enemy placement, walls ready to be bombed and more – while newcomers will learn the basic principles of everything they need to complete this dungeon.

The B button is reserved exclusively for the sword (including the familiar projectile and spin attacks) with L used to raise your shield. The player can customise the weapons placed on the Y and X buttons, but the magic meter now recharges automatically. A small change that has a significant impact on the game.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds screenshot

Merging Between Worlds

The merge spell is of course one of the biggest new additions to The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. This allows Link to take on the appearance of a cave painting and slide along walls. Thus, allowing the player to pass otherwise impassable ledges. An early example being the navigation around a corner to collect a heart piece before entering the dungeon. Which is a clever design, to say the least, as the coming dungeon revolves around careful use of the merge spell and the hammer.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a gorgeous looking topdown adventure. Similar to the latter The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake, the game features silky smooth animation that is guaranteed to please fans of the SNES original. The dungeon discussed above is one of the best arguments for designing specifically for stereoscopic 3D, with the player only welcomed into a small area and having to climb higher and higher in order to progress. The transitions between levels are fantastic, but being able to see the action on the floors beneath as you concentrate on what lay ahead create what is arguably one of the most believable interpretations of a fantasy world in any interactive software.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds screenshot

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a Safe Play

The Legend of Zelda is an undeniably important franchise for Nintendo. And it is also one that is synonymous with quality. The team behind The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds had to be incredibly careful that they don’t wound the fans with this sequel. Yet, at the same time, not throwing any artificial barriers in the way of newcomers. That’s an incredibly difficult task to accomplish. Thankfully, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds offered enough innovation to satisfy returning players despite some formulaic retreading.

The Legend of Zelda has changed a lot in the past decade. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom have taken the franchise in entirely new directions. And yet, there’s still something to be said for the classic Zelda experience. Perhaps it’s time you dust off that old Nintendo 3DS, and give this classic another go?

Categories: Games