GAME REVIEW: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review

Robby Badgley

I walked into this game with a lot of skepticism; A Link to the Past style game on the Nintendo 3DS? Yes please, but Nintendo’s recent handheld Zelda titles have been, well, garbage. But this time around it is sticking to a formula that has been proven to work on handhelds really well in the oracle games and is not about Link teaming up with Thomas the Tank Engine so let us dive in.

The story is incredibly mediocre. Zelda and the sages are in trouble? Quick! Find the nearest kid in green to save the day! Hyrule has an opposite world, but not the one in Majora’s mask, Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past or Phantom Hourglass but a new one named Lorule.

I can imagine someone thought that calling the opposite of Hyrule Lorule was clever, but really it just makes me cringe.

Visually the game is amazing. The world is a fantastic interpretation of all those old Nintendo Entertainment System Zelda games onto a more modern platform. It is a nice combination of the older games and the newer graphics, the music is just as good, particularly the Lorule theme which sounds amazing.

My only real complaint is that the model for Link looks a lot like the old terrible animated series or the Compact Disc Interactive (CDI) Link, but I can not count it against the game.

The gameplay hinges a lot around the circle pad, which you use to walk around, aim, and to get confused because the directional pad (D-pad) only changes the camera instead of doing anything useful. You wander around Hyrule and Lorule searching and tripping over dungeons that focus on one particular item to solve all of the puzzles inside. This all brings me to the item rental system, a first in the series and I think one of the worst parts of the game.

A man in a rabbit hood opens up an item rental shop in your house where you can rent any item you want until you die, where he then takes the items away from you and forces you to walk all the way back to your house to reacquire them. Later in the game you can buy them for obscene amounts of money, but there is no worse feeling than dying halfway through the dungeon then having to go and buy the tool again, march all the way back just to resume where you were. It is infuriating.

The game also can do a poor job of telling you what item you are going to need for a dungeon.

For the Dark Palace, I could not enter the temple because a bunch of rocks were in my way, so I went all the way back to Hyrule just to rent bombs and then flew back to the temple just to be shown that I need a different item after I blow up the rocks guarding the entrance. Once you know what item the temple uses, however, it becomes very easy to figure out what to do.

The other noteworthy new mechanic in this game is merging with walls. It is actually really fun to find new places that are only accessible by walking on the walls. The world is full of secrets and lots of mini games. An old Zelda trope is that if you can not figure out what to do, you look up. In this game, it is merged with the wall and walk around.

My last little nitpick with the gameplay is that you can not spam the items. You have a purple bar that refills over time that serves as ‘universal ammo’ for all of the items. You can not spam the items because two arrows eats up pretty much the entire bar.

Link Between Worlds is one of the better 3DS games and definitely the best handheld Zelda game ever made. It is definitely worth the price and if you are a fan of the series. It is challenging and fun even with the bit or annoyances.