Link's Awakening on Switch: can a Game Boy title hold up 26 years later?

Can a Switch remake of a 1993 Game Boy actually work? Based on the E3 showfloor demo I experienced, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’ – and it’s partly down to just how good the original design was. A combination of smart overworld design, challenging dungeons and Game Boy-pushing visuals ensured that the original was a genuine classic. While still very much an 8-bit experience, this portable outing managed to deliver a Zelda game that stands toe to toe with its bigger brother on Super NES – and the new Switch version looks quite beautiful.

Once again, Nintendo has teamed up with Grezzo – the studio responsible for the two N64 remakes on 3DS – and what immediately strikes me is just how faithful the new Switch game is to the Game Boy original. When you first fire up Link’s Awakening, you’re greeted with a beautifully animated introduction – a video sequence very closely based on the original Game Boy’s intro. Eventually, the animation comes to an end and the game cuts to in-engine graphics showcasing a beautiful scene on the beach with soft focus depth of field and water lapping up on the sand. And again, it recreates the content of the original scene almost perfectly.

The stage is set then: we get modern 3D graphics rendering but really – this is Link’s Awakening. The design and placement of items, roads, grass and characters is all consistent between Game Boy and Switch. Some of the details I really like include the flowers – which are drawn in pairs of two just like on Game Boy. Meanwhile, the trees retain the stacked appearance with the same design for the truck. The original version added butterflies in places to add some life to the blocky scenes and these too are replicated. Later on, you’ll find the beach, which includes a sand texture that recalls the original Game Boy presentation as well.

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Source: Eurogamer Link's Awakening on Switch: can a Game Boy title hold up 26 years later?