Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

When I first heard about the pitch for A Link Between Worlds -- that you could switch into 2D -- I groaned, thinking it a reverse rip-off of Paper Mario: Sticker Star's 3D-flip (which sucked). I couldn't have been more wrong.

The_Legend_of_Zelda_A_Link_Between_Worlds_NA_coverTraveling between Hyrule and its darker counterpart, Lorule, was distinctly entertaining. The dungeons and puzzles are satisfying if occasionally frustratingly difficult (and by difficult, I mean taking thirty minutes to figure out something obvious, like a switch I somehow overlooked, lol), with the 2D technique expertly worked into the mechanics so that using it seems natural rather than hindering.

Probably my only complaint: At first I was irritated by the fact that you had to pay for necessary equipment which would be lost if you died, but honestly, rupees are easy to come by; plus, later in the game, you can purchase permanent versions (at a higher but reachable cost). Speaking of the equipment, as I've come to expect from Zelda titles, there are several new awesome items (including what essentially is a flamethrower), all the uses of which are cleverly worked into puzzles.

As a small aside, I also enjoyed seeing some of the characters in Lorule, who were less than friendly, lighten up as Link completes tasks in their realm. The Lorule Blacksmith's wife (who is a kind woman in Hyrule) softens after the Blacksmith upgrades Link's sword; seeing the Blacksmith work, she remembers why she fell in love with him in the first place.

This was also probably the only time I've been legitimately surprised by a plot twist in a Zelda game. In hindsight, what happened should have been obvious, but I'm glad I didn't predict what was to come; the surprise added a delightful emotional punch. I really hope we get to see more of Ravio and Lorule in future titles.

P.S. YESH! Club Nintendo posters!

Rating: 5/5

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