While I can’t say that I’ve played every game in the Legend of Zelda series, I am a huge fan of the series who has played just about every handheld title up until the 3DS era. When I sat down with Nintendo recently to preview Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, not only was it the first time in a while that I’d jump back into a Zelda game, but the first time in an even longer while that I had played on the 3DS. With that in mind, I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised with just how easy it was to slide back into Link’s latest adventure and new features, 3D and all.
Although the Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia establishes that there may be a few games more directly connected than previously thought in the three timeline continuity of the series, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the first game in the series to use the idea of a direct “sequel” as a selling point. A Link Between Worlds is, more or less, a direct follow-up to the much beloved A Link To The Past, taking place on the same “overworld,” but six generations later. The biggest difference to the game is the new stereoscopic 3D dungeons, as well as a few new abilities.
This time, Link not only has his signature sword and shield, but also a new “Wall Merge” ability. Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds borrows a similar idea used in the PSN title, Sideway, with Link’s new ability to become a 2D drawing that can travel along walls. A quick button press initiates the ability next to any flat surface Link stands near, and lasts until Link’s stamina meter drains empty. This ability can be used to avoid enemies, traverse dungeons, slip between the light and dark worlds, and, of course, to solve puzzles.
The mallet returns in A Link Between Worlds, used for smashing platforms (with evil smiley faces on them) that when stood upon can catapult Link upwards through levels. These catapults were also my first major interactions with the 3DS’s 3D, and were used extremely well, adding an authentic sense of depth every time Link ascended or descended floor. There were a few times when, as I’m told happens occasionally with 3DS games, being in a particular position warps the 3D effect, but overall I only had a few moments where it was at all distracting.
In fact, A Link Between Worlds was incredibly appealing, with the vibrant, colorful look really standing out more than ever before. This look also really emphasizes the idea of Link moving between planes of existence, between the usual top down view and the stained glass-like 2D world.
Most of the time I spent in the demo took place inside a dungeon and in the village around, where I took on Bombers, Buzz Bombs, Crows, Mini-Moldorms and Sword Soldiers. Unfortunately I was unable to play much more of the game, though I’m definitely interested in seeing more of it when it arrives next month on November 22nd to the 3DS.