The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Switch

Link’s Awakening Remake Release Date Confirmed

Nintendo confirmed during their E3 Direct the release date for the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake.

A trailer also showed us some brand new gameplay, which you can see here:

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening released initially way back in 1993 for the Game Boy. A second version, that literally added more colour to the game, released in 1998 for the Game Boy Colour.

When’s the remake out for Switch? September 20th.

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Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review [Nintendo Switch] – A Clone That Holds Its Own

There are those among us who say imitation is the best form of flattery. If something is a hit, whether it be a TV show, movie, literary franchise, or video game, you can bet knockoffs, rip-offs, clones, copies, and different takes on the material will inevitably flood the market. When creative individuals love something from their past, they tend to create a kind of love letter to that very thing. Is this a homage to a great work of art, or a blatant rip-off with no soul of its own?

This is the thought I had to keep at the forefront of my brain, as I played through Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King from FDG Entertainment. There is no doubt that Blossom Tales is a love letter to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in almost every way, shape, and form. From the very start of the game until the credits roll, Blossom Tales borrows heavily from Zelda, but I am happy to say, also adds its own indelible mark on the adventure-RPG genre.

Blossom Tales is presented in the form of a fable being told as a bedtime story. Young Lily and her little brother Chrys beg their grandfather to tell them the story of Lily (yes, named after the granddaughter), who becomes a Knight of the Rose on the very same day that the evil wizard Crocus puts the king to sleep and takes over the kingdom. Lily the new Knight must now go on an adventure to save the king and vanquish the dark wizard who has taken over the land.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review

The story narrative is one aspect of Blossom Tales which separates it from Zelda in a significant way. As the grandfather is telling the story, the two kids are always chiming in with questions and alterations. The kids love to change what challenges Lily will face and are constantly asking their grandfather why things are happening. It’s all rather reminiscent of The Princess Bride, but with less Fred Savage and Peter Falk. I found this aspect of the narration to be quite adorable throughout, as items and creatures change or appear/disappear as the grandkids manipulate the story. Occasionally the grandfather reminds them that it’s his story to tell, but he happily makes the changes his two young listeners demand.

Everything in Blossom Tales, from the look, sound, and play mechanics, all feel like they’re taken straight from Link to the Past. Like Zelda, this game starts with our protagonist waking up and embarking on her adventure. Lily starts with a sword and shield but acquires more weapons throughout the journey. Although the weapons in the game aren’t unique, the way they’re used is night and day when compared to Zelda. Once you acquire an item (other than your sword), it’s now attached to a usage meter. Players can use as many bombs, arrows, and other weapons as they want, as long as their usage meter still has juice. Waiting a few seconds will recharge it, so players won’t have to look for potions as they travel. There are concoctions you can drink to give yourself a full meter, but just waiting twenty seconds also does the trick, and is much cheaper. Even your shield uses this play mechanic. Each hit you block depletes the meter, but I used my shield so little, I hardly ever noticed.

Just as in Link’s adventure, Lily can blow holes in boulders and cracks in walls to reveal hidden rooms and chambers. There are treasure chests scattered throughout, along with your typical array of stores, carnival games, and eccentric people populating the land. Lily must also collect pieces of heart in order to increase her life. If you hadn’t guessed by now, you need four pieces to make a whole heart. A part of me wishes the developers could have been slightly more creative with all of this, but at this point, everything’s been done already.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review

At first, using bombs and arrows willy-nilly is great fun, but after a while, you realize that’s all you really do. I hardly used my sword at all, relying on bombs eighty percent of the time and arrows the rest. It all tends to get monotonous when you can just blast away anything that comes your way.

The lack of needed strategy is also prevalent in the dungeons. There are a total of four in the game, and although the layouts are large and unique, the boss fights are not. In A Link to the Past, you need weapons and items found in the dungeon to defeat that level’s boss and gain access to the next one. In Blossom Tales, I used bombs to defeat every single boss (of which there are two in each dungeon). I never once had to change my strategy, and that got boring after a while. What’s the point in unlocking a slew of items when you really don’t need any of them?

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review

The game is also rather short in my mind. Aside from the monotony, I still rather enjoyed the adventure and really wanted more. In order to wake the king, Lily sets out to three dungeons to collect items needed for a recipe. This reminded me of Link to the Past, and the three pendants Link must find in the beginning of the game. Unlike Zelda, where you then must go on to acquire more items and search more dungeons, Blossom Tales ends soon after Lily visits the third temple. Once the king is awake (sorry, spoiler alert), Lily treks to the evil wizard’s lair (fourth dungeon), defeats him, and returns the land to peace and prosperity.

I was shocked when the credits started to roll soon after the Wizard’s defeat. I thought for sure, there would be more, or perhaps the Wizard escaped death or SOMETHING. If you choose to continue the game after the credits roll, the grandfather simply tells the kids that although Lily saved the kingdom, there are still heroic deeds to be done. From this point on, Blossom Tales becomes entirely about side quests and helping those you’ve met and will meet throughout the kingdom.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review

There is plenty more game to play, but without the narrative guiding everything along, it just doesn’t feel the same. There are still areas of the map at this point to uncover, and secrets to learn, but without a sense of urgency, I never felt the need to go back and keep playing. I still had several empty slots for items, but I never saw a point in trying to find them.

The best way for me to describe the look and sound of Blossom Tales is as a watered down version of Link to the Past. The game looks good, but not as refined as Zelda. The same goes for the sound, as it’s all rather pleasing to the ears, but there were times I heard things lifted directly from A Link to the Past. The funny thing, they actually make a joke about all this in the game. As the grandfather is telling the story, he nonchalantly suggests that elements of his adventure resemble that of the little elf boy in a far-off land. This and other off-the-cuff remarks actually give the game a sense of credibility as it admits it borrowed heavily from other source material.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review

There was one annoying thing I couldn’t get over about the game: it doesn’t utilize the Y button! With your sword taking up the A button, you now only have two slots for other items and weapons. With so many to choose from (although, you don’t really need them), it’s mind-boggling that the developers would simply choose to not utilize one of the main buttons. I can understand why they didn’t program anything into the triggers, but it makes no sense that the Y button is unusable. After playing through the main game, I can safely say it would have made the experience much better if they programmed the use of the Y button into the game controls.

There have been a plethora of Zelda clones made over the last thirty years and most of them never hold a candle to the original. Blossom Tales, however, may be a clone, but it most certainly holds its own. This game is the closest I think anyone has come to recreating the tone and whimsy of A Link to the Past but also manages to add a bit of its own personality into the mix. The narration and constant changes as the kids chime in add a fun and unique twist to this overused genre. I wasn’t a fan of the lack of strategy needed, nor the ease at which I could dispatch enemies. The game felt incomplete as the credits rolled, but one could say that is a good thing, as it left me with wanting more.

Breath of the Wild

Sonic and Link team up in funny new Breath of the Wild mod

The modding game community never ceases to amaze in terms of their ambition and scope. The latest is a mod for Breath of the Wild which sees Link ride Sonic as his motorcycle – you can forget the new Master Cycle Zero then.

Check out the funny results here from WilianZilv’s channel:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is expected to scoop the video game of the year, meanwhile the Nintendo Switch has sold far more than many predicted. Sonic hasn’t had a bad year himself either.

On that note: what a year for gaming in general. It’s going to to take a lot for 2018 to beat it.

Viewpoint: A Look Back at Ocarina of Time

As I write this, there’s no doubt countless Zelda fans are enjoying the open-world brilliance of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You don’t need to even play the game to see that its making its place in gaming history, with a large number of gaming publications giving it scores of 9 and 10. But before this game hit the shelves, there was only really one other Zelda title that made as much noise. The true pioneer of the 3D action-adventure, it revolutionary lock-on targeting system, its excellent combat and puzzle-solving…there could only be one game that fits the description. That game, my friends, is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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It’s crazy to think that, just over two decades ago when it was released in 1998, that this was the very first 3D Zelda title. We may have become accustomed to seeing our green-garbed hero, Link, in three-dimensions now, but it was unimaginable back then. Before Ocarina of Time, the previous major Zelda was A Link to the Past, yet another 2D top-down adventure that garnered almost universal acclaim and a commercial success. If poorly done, Ocarina of Time could have been a cringe-worthy moment in the franchise’s life. Fortunately for us, this was far from the case and Nintendo truly outdid themselves here.

The game was revolutionary in how it combined so many elements in one 3D package; adventuring, combat, puzzle-solving, and horseback riding. The adventuring, in particular, was helped by the then-impressive presentation – cinematic graphics that showcased a diverse fantasy world, with some of the most iconic music in gaming. The moment when you first step out onto Hyrule Field, you hear its grandiose melody and realise that the in-game world is your oyster is one you’re likely not to forget.

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Ultimately it was OoT‘s impressive set pieces that made up for what is essentially a simple plotline. As Link, you must stop the evil king, Ganondorf from taking over Hyrule. Aside from small twists along the way, that is essentially the crux of the tale. But the simplicity of the plot can be excused simply because of a) the wonderful characters, Princess Zelda et al and b) the aforementioned setpieces.

This game is the first to give Zelda an actual personality. In previous games, she was just your stereotypical wise maiden who was an object to be saved by our elf-like hero. Here, Zelda is a far more endearing character who is a mischievous, naive young child at the start, but a responsible and knowing badass adult by the game’s end. This brings me then to the set pieces. One of the coolest setpieces of the game is Link’s transition from a young child to a growing adult. As a kid, watching Link become conscious as an adult after the time skip was one of the best things ever – and still is. Not only do we see a slightly different Hyrule than before, but this newly grown-up character can use a different set of items than his younger self, adding some variety to the gameplay. Then there is the famous horseback riding where adult Link can travel across Hyrule with his trusty steed, Epona. There are so many elements to this game that I could go on forever. I could, but I won’t. Even if I would love to do so!

Since the game was re-released and given a graphical overhaul in 2013 on the 3DS, there is now a whole new generation of gamers experiencing the game’s majesty. Just like I grew up playing the re-release on the GameCube and was completely spellbound from beginning to end, so will many others in the years to come.

Breath of the Wild DLC Details Revealed

The Nintendo Switch has been breaking records and making headlines all over the world. Much of this wouldn’t have been possible without the launch day release of the popular sword swinging elf-like hero, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

With a huge, beautiful open world to explore and gorgeous graphics to accompany a tugging storyline, the new DLC, The Master Trials, gives players an even more engaging experience with more hours to pour into the massively successful title.

The new additions, the first of two DLC’s to be released for the game, include an all new Hard Mode, a new challenge known as Trial of the Sword, and for the completionists there’s “Hero’s Path” mode, a few new items and new equipment pieces. The only option to purchase this DLC is to buy the bundle pack of both DLC’s at the cost of $19.99. Let’s take a look at what you’ll receive with the new add-on content releasing this summer.

Hard Mode: If you’ve played through Breath of the Wild multiple times, getting your fill of the immense land may start to seem a little lacking of challenge. Changing the ranks of enemies and even a few high-ranking enemies you wouldn’t normally stumble upon, hard mode speaks to the thrill seekers and anyone looking for a true challenge in the realm of Zelda games. With a more combative healing structure giving enemies a health recovering system and a better detection system making Link harder to sneak around, this mode is sure to raise the bar. Finally, adding floating platforms throughout the game with hidden treasure, naturally guarded by tough enemies gives players even more to discover.

HardMode

Trial of the Sword: Bringing in a new enemy wave-challenge series, Trial of the Sword brings 45 trial rooms to complete in succession with an ultimate reward. In each room there are waves of baddy’s to defeat and once each room is cleared, it’s on to the next one. The Master Sword will awaken to its true power once all rooms have been cleared, also granting a constant glowing powered-up appearance.

Hero’s Path Mode: Something a lot of other open-aired game makers could get behind is Breath of the Wild’s soon-to-be released Hero’s Path, which highlights every path you’ve taken for up to 200 hours of gameplay. Included is a slider bar that’s attached to the game’s timeline to give easy access to find where and when you’ve visited a certain area.

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This will help players reveal parts of Hyrule they might have missed previously, including any Shrines not yet encountered. Additionally this will work retroactively meaning any previous steps you’ve taken before the DLC release will appear on the map as well, once the Hero’s Path is installed.

New Items: “The Travel Medallion” and “Korok Mask”. In a new treasure chest there lies a new item called The Travel Medallion which allows easier access to previously visited areas. Placing a travel blip on the map wherever you’re currently standing, this allows the player to be transported back to that point at any time, but only one blip can be placed at one time. A handy feature useful for remembering important areas you’d like to return to later.

The new Korok Mask can also be found, which when equipped helps you find more Korok locations. When near-by a location the mask will begin to shake making it easier to pin-point any undiscovered Korok areas.

Alas, equipment themed from previous Zelda games and characters will also be available to unearth throughout Breath of the Wild. Fan-favorites such as Tingle, Phantom, Midna and Majora’s Mask are all included in the DLC coming soon.

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More information will be released later this year about the second DLC which is scheduled to release this holiday season. Both the Switch and Wii U versions are available for the additional content, with the first release gracing Zelda fans everywhere this coming summer.

The adventure isn’t coming to a close yet – it’s gearing up for a long haul well into next year.

Splatoon 2 Coming 21st July, Arms on June 16th to Nintendo Switch

Nintendo has announced release dates for its two key Nintendo Switch titles: Arms and Splatoon 2.

Arms punches its way to gamers on June 16th while Splatoon 2 is coming on July 21st.

The latest Nintendo Direct presentation had lots of other juicy details including a new Pikmin game for the 3DS literally called ‘Hey Pikmin’. Hey Pikmin hits the 3DS on the 28th July.

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New amiibo for Splatoon 2, The Legend of Zelda and Super Smash Bros. were also shown off.

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June 23rd is the day when you can buy the three new Zelda figures, while July 21st will see the Splatoon and Smash Bros. ones launch.

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Did the Nintendo Direct live up to your expectations?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Gets New Frame Rate Patch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has recieved a new patch that removes a series of glitches in the game (there aren’t many), and increases the frame rate.

The patch brings Breath of the Wild up to version (1.1.1) and improves the frame rate issues that some players have encountered in built-up areas in the game –  The Lost Woods for example.

It’s worth noting that the frame rate dips don’t always happen in the same place every time either. It will be a while before we know how successful this patch is then.

New DLC for the game will be released in the summer and at the end of the year. It includes the following:

DLC

  • 3 Expansion Packs
  • Expansion Pass Bonus (available at launch) – 3 Treasure Chests
  • DLC Pack 1 Summer 2017 – Adds New Cave of Trials challenge, New Hard Mode and Additional Map Feature
  • DLC Pack 2 Holiday 2017 – New Original Story, New Dungeon, Additional Challenges