This marks my second hands-on preview with a Legend of Zelda title in one day. I covered the Wind Waker HD update this morning, and now I’ve had time to go hands-on with the Nintendo 3DS bound The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
There was something extremely nostalgic and strange about firing up the A Link Between Worlds demo and finding myself in a prettier version of an aging memory. Like I said, I love A Link to the Past. I play it just about once every year. I know the world backwards and forwards. The world in A Link Between Worlds feels wonderfully familiar, and it presents a bittersweet sense of childhood straight away.
And it’s crisp, too. This new Nintendo 3DS title clocks in at 60 frames per second, and the resulting set of visuals are sharp, smooth and vibrant. It doesn’t pack the same 2D feel I fell in love with a little more than 20 years ago, but it does feel equally cartoony and charming.
I moved through the familiar overworld and into the only open dungeon. The same dungeon that made use of the hammer in the Dark World, the fourth dungeon you encounter in the game, requires the hammer once more for conquering. What I played had to have been a condensed version of this final dungeon, because I explored and conquered it within minutes.
Two new mechanics seeped into play that put an odd twist on this old formula. I’ll start with the quick and easy one: Link can hammer down on springy buttons, step on them and get launched to upper levels. The effect is actually cool in 3D, and the spin it puts on dungeon exploration makes play a bit faster.
The other new mechanic is Link’s ability to “merge” with nearby walls, become a drawing of himself and navigate on a 2D plane. You might need to span a gap in a dungeon, and the only way to do so is to merge with a nearby wall and shimmy across that way.
All told, I think I spent around 15 minutes with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. As a fan of the original on the Super Nintendo, and as someone really looking forward to more dungeon stomping, I’m excited for this new entry.
We’ll follow it closely and have more as it comes.