Sunday, June 30, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Shadow Link Footage

screenshot of Shadow Link facing Link in a small, empty chamber with a staircase in the middle from the Tail Cave dungeon

I hadn't seen this until earlier this week, but apparently Nintendo of Japan showed us the Shadow Link, which can be spawned via the new Link amiibo inside a Chamber Dungeon, in a video. You can find it here.

It reminds me a lot of the Cosmic Mario from the Super Mario Galaxy Prankster Comets. And that's not really a good thing, because both the behavior and the music are annoying. It's still nice to see that Shadow Link made it back, where it's probably the same AI that was used for both A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes. After all this remake seems to be borrowing quite a lot from the Nintendo 3DS Zelda games, but while they were at it, they also could have borrowed some of the amazing music from the Shadow Link battles.

I'm not entirely sure, how using the amiibo in a Chamber Dungeon works. In the Treehouse Live stream they made it sound like you can add the Shadow Link on a specific chamber, so you could potentially use one of these "plus effects" per chamber in your dungeon.

It will be interesting to see, what different effects all the Zelda amiibo will have. I could imagine that one of the Zeldas or maybe all of them will add flying Hearts or even a Fairy to your chamber. Archer Link and Revali could add flying arrows. And the Guardian could add maybe a Beamos to the chamber. But those are all really cheap ideas, where the final product will hopefully be somewhat more interesting...

Link's Awakening Remake: New Map Features and Secret Seashells

Next to the Trendy Game, the newest video from GameXplain also shows off some of the new map features. You could already see them partially at E3, but here you get a nice look at them.

You can replay conversations with the Owl (much like the original game's map could), but also with Marin, which is new. And it marks your found Pieces of Hearts and Secret Seashells on the map, which is certainly useful.

screenshot of the map menu

However, as a completionist this also makes me wonder, how the Secret Seashells are going to work in this version. I'm already suspecting that the two extra Secret Seashells from the Seashell Mansion will be gone and replaced with something else, like one of the new Pieces of Heart. Unlike the extra shells, those prizes then could be gotten at any time, so you wouldn't have to rush to the Seashell Mansion, just because you have exactly five Secret Seashells after the 2nd dungeon already.

But in the original you only needed 20 of 26 Secret Seashells for the reward. And then the other six seashells would simply be gone or replaced by 20 Rupees. But would they then be missing from your map? I would hate that, because for completion I also want all Secret Seashell marked on the map, of course. But in this case you would have to wait until you get the Flying Rooster to reclaim the reward, while you could get it two dungeons earlier.

Ideally, there wouldn't any missable seashells any longer and they would all be useful. For the one at Kanalet Castle you should always be able to borrow the Flying Roster again. And they could also add more Secret Seashells in various places for a total of 30, where there is a new, additional prize for the 30.

The prizes could go like the following:

  • 10 Secret Seashells: Piece of Heart
  • 20 Secret Seashells: "Master Sword"
  • 30 Secret Seashells: Great Spin (Attack)

Kudos to Lankelink for suggesting that they should add an upgrade to the Spin Attack here. It makes a lot of sense. Oh, and I called the Seashell Sword "Master Sword" here, because I wouldn't be surprised if you just get that in the remake, because it needs to be the Hylian Shield and Master Sword in every Zelda game now...

Link's Awakening Remake: New Trendy Game Prizes

The newest video from GameXplain shows off some good stuff in Mabe Village, including the Trendy Game, where they get a Yoshi Doll. However, unlike in the Treehouse Live stream, they go back inside afterwards and reveal that the prizes have changed:

screenshot of the Trendy Game

There's now a figurine of YipYip here, the Chain Chomp pet with the ribbon (now called CiaoCiao). And this is probably where you get the figurines for the stands from, where in this version of Link's Awakening you would have to play the Trendy Game a lot more to complete it.

There's also a new Piece of Heart there and with the new physics it might be difficult to cheese this game in order to get many Rupees early on. The initial Purple Rupee even gets replaced by the figurine, while a Red Rupee takes the place of the Yoshi Doll. But with the 10 Rupee fee you would only earn 10 Rupees from it.

Of course it also could be that this isn't the only source for those figurines. For example the Shop seems to have to extra slots, which weren't there in the original:

screenshot of the town shop

There are signs on them, probably indicating that something will go there in the future... And it would make sense, if those were figurines as well. The Chamber Dungeon could also be a source for getting these figurines.

But then there's the question, how you would store them in your inventory...? Maybe they have their own sub menu or maybe you can only get one at a time, where you'd have to place it on its stand before you can get the next one. Or maybe they don't appear in your inventory at all...

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: New Warp Holes?

screenshot of the hill above the third dungeon, where you can see a warp point in the background

The original Link's Awakening certainly wasn't the most convenient Zelda game when it came to teleportation. There is Manbo's Mambo, which can teleport you to Manbo's Pond and the entrance of any dungeon. And there a four Warp Holes, where only three of them are really useful for a majority of the game...

These Warp Holes will be back in the remake, where you can spot one in the screenshot above. They look a little bit different from before, where they seem to be some sort of monument now, without any real hole visible. Maybe they will activate, once you get close to them, because according the Mabe Village Library they apparently work exactly the same as they used to (during E3 I saw someone check all books in the library, but I can't find that video anymore, sorry).

However, it's entirely possible that they've added one or more new Warp Holes to Koholint for convenience. And a video by GameXplain you can actually spot an area, which was changed when compared to the original. It's the quadrant north of the House by the Bay:

screenshot of the treasure chest at the east end of the Toronbo Shores

In the original there are only trees there, blocking you from getting to the secret Mad Batter close by. But they've added an elevated area with stairs, where there's no visible purpose to this change. But what if they've added a Warp Hole right there?

This would be really useful for the quests, where you meet Marin at the beach and where you have to bring the Ghost back to the House by the Bay. In both cases you have to get to this area, but there is no quick route to and from this place.

Another nice place would be a Warp Hole at the Seashell Mansion, because there is no quick way of getting into this area either, as well as a Warp Hole up in the east half of the Tal Tal Mountain Range, maybe next to the Hen House. Of course there is already one in the Tal Tal Heights, but this doesn't help getting back up the mountains as much. And you have to get up there multiple times during the game, where a shortcut would be appreciated.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: New Piece(s) of Heart Spotted!

GameXplain has released a new gameplay recording from the E3 demo of Link's Awakening. In there they've managed to go past the Tail Cave to show a little of what's beyond the Mysterious Woods.

There they take a look inside Mr. Write's home and Dampé's Shack, where the latter isn't ready to arrange the Chamber Dungeon just yet. But they also go to the small ledge at the foot of the Tal Tal Mountain Range just north of Mr. Write's home to listen to the incredible music of the mountains.

This has always been a special spot, because it let's you take a sneak peak into the final area of the game very early on. You won't get up there until you're on your way to the final dungeon, where it all comes back full circle. It's a special feeling, once you finally arrive on the upper end.

screenshot of the west Tal Tal Mountain Range

But as you can see in the screenshot above, they've also added another element to this area: a Piece of Heart. It's on the ledge that lets you drop down a little bit more to the east.

This is where you end up, if you go to the western half of the mountains without the Mirror Shield and that's a nice consolation price. You can go there as soon as you get the Hookshot, where now you will be able to find a total of two Pieces of Heart there, where an early tour might be actually worth the trouble.

However, there is another Piece of Heart visible in the footage, which wasn't as easy to spot before. It's south of the Dampé's Shack in the northeast corner of the Tabahl Wasteland:

part of a screenshot of Dampé's Shack, where you can see a Piece of Heart at the lower border

During the Treehouse Live footage you could already get a glimpse of it, but this fully confirms that there is indeed another Piece of Heart there. And this is an excellent spot as well, because this used to be an otherwise empty area.

Though, with this addition you can quickly get two Pieces of Heart in a row here, unless they somehow changed up the area and walled it off with boulders or even trees. From the footage it seems like there are many more of these skeleton trees than there used to be. Maybe you need the Power Bracelet to even enter the area. You also can't get to the east of the Witch's Hut now without the Power Bracelet, so they might have changed this.

Anyway, with that we already know of three additional Pieces of Hearts (the third one is in the Trendy Game), where there is also lots of potential in other places... Here are some ideas:

  • Additional reward in the Seashell Mansion.
  • As reward(s) in the Chamber Dungeon.
  • New seaside fishing minigame.
  • Somewhere on the Rapids Ride.
  • From the hidden Zora in Animal Village.
  • From a new cameo character in Animal Village (e.g. Isabelle from Animal Crossing).
  • Sunken somewhere around Martha's Bay, if you now can spot sunken Heart Pieces.
  • In the cave north of Mr. Write's house. The original version only had Rupees there.
  • Somewhere in the east half of the Tal Tal Mountain Range.
  • Sold later in the Shop.

We are already looking at three additional Heart Containers with these suggestions. Three more to go... Though, it's reasonable to assume that we'll also get full Heart Containers in certain spots, e.g. from the boss in the Color Dungeon or clearing a boss challenge in the Chamber Dungeon.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Seaside Fishing?

screenshot of Link catching a fish in the fishing minigame

This pond's all
fished out. Why
not try your
luck in the sea?

With Grezzo at the helm of developing the Link's Awakening remake, one of the first things that comes to mind are the new fishing locations that were added to Majora's Mask 3D. If you take a look at the new Fishing Pond minigame (for example in this video by NintendoLife), you can clearly see that they put some good effort into modernizing it. It looks really good, it seems to play a lot better and there's even a Fairy Bottle to get.

So, why not expand upon that and add a similar minigame to Martha's Bay? The original game teased you with this, but it simply ended up being another station on your trading quest...

screenshot of Link getting the Pearl Necklace in the DX version

This time, getting the Fishing Hook could actually unlock a similar minigame for the sea. You could also get different fish here, maybe another one with a Piece of Heart, but there would also be the Necklace somewhere on the ocean floor for you to get. (I'm assuming the Bikini Top won't return here, since you most likely will be able to view below the water surface.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Rapids Ride?

screenshot of the lower Rapids Ride

Yeah, the Rapids Ride... this "minigame" in Link's Awakening was really interesting when you played it for the first time, especially since it occupies an entire four by four area on Koholint Island. However, there isn't much to gain here except for two treasure chests and many flying Rupees. So, whenever I've replayed the GameBoy or GameBoy Color version, I usually only went through there to complete my map. Twice, actually, because you can't cover all the squares on your first try.

Now, with the remake there is some potential to improve things there. First of all, map completion probably doesn't work the same way and going through the area once should be enough for it. Secondly, there should be at least one of the new Pieces of Hearts there, so there is a bigger incentive to fully explore the area.

They've already changed the minigame somewhat, because now you can actually use the Hookshot to pull yourself to the trees. This didn't work in the original, because the Hookshot couldn't be used on the raft, because the game acted here like you're surrounded by walls. But the remake obviously handles this differently.

If you look closely on the above screenshot, you can also see how they've changed the course quite a bit. This is the entire area as seen in the DX version:

The above screenshot seems to be near the end of the course, but it looks quite different from the original, while otherwise this remake has been a very accurate translation so far, mostly on a tile-by-tile nature. So, there is definitely something going on here...

Maybe they can use the one island in the middle, which couldn't be accessed in the original, to put a Piece of Heart there. They could add an opening between the trees at the south end of the island for example.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake Developed by Grezzo

screenshot of Link catching a fish in the fishing minigame
I bet you can now try your luck in the sea for real!

Jason Schreier from Kotaku has published an extensive interview with series producer Eiji Aonuma, where he could confirm a couple of things about the new Link's Awakening remake.

First, there won't be any new dungeons in the remake. The focus was entirely on the Chamber Dungeon feature, which could even lead to a Zelda Maker in the future, if people enjoy it. I like, how Jason is trying to plant ideas into Aonuma's head here. He deliberately asked about the Zelda Maker, though Nintendo probably knows this already themselves that this could be the next step. It's a no-brainer. But he also asked, why you can't freely arrange the controls in Breath of the Wild, where I bet that they will let you do this in the sequel.

Anyway, he also could confirm that Link's Awakening was indeed made by Grezzo. This was expected, since they were hiring for Zelda in 2017 with experience in Unreal Engine 4 and Unity. This fully adds up and Grezzo is still at their best when it comes to porting, remastering or remaking games. I wouldn't mind, if they were to continue on remaking the Oracle games in the same style afterwards.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Rupee Rocks?

There was some other small addition visible during the Treehouse Live segment for Link's Awakening, where I'm sure some people have missed it: it seems that Rupee Rocks were added to the game.

You can clearly see such a rock north of Dampé's Shack, which wasn't there in the original versions and has a green glowing effect on it (this effect can be seen better in the video):

screenshot of Dampé's Shack, where you can see the special rock just north of it

That's probably a Rupee Rock and they first appeared in the GameBoy Advance version of A Link to the Past. Since then they have appeared only one more time, in A Link Between Worlds, where it's likely that the same team, who was developing A Link Between Worlds, is now working on Link's Awakening and re-using some features from the 3DS game.

It's also not the only thing that was brought over from A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds. As we already know, apples can grow on trees as well, where Link can get them (probably with the Pegasus Boots) and eat them:

screenshot of Link eating an apple north of Martha's Bay

Friday, June 14, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Nightmare Mode?

screenshot of Link fighting the Master Stalfos

There are already various additions to the remake of Link's Awakening: we're getting more Heart Containers, they've added Fairy Bottles, there are seemingly stands for Mario enemies and of course there is the new Chamber Dungeon mode. But what they still could add is a second playthrough, which changes things up... A "2nd Quest" or "Master Quest", a "Hero Mode" or "Master Mode". For this game, let's call it "Nightmare Mode", because this sounds perfectly fitting.

Nintendo doesn't always do it, e.g. Majora's Mask 3D didn't have one, but most of the Zelda games in the last years had something like it. Ocarina of Time 3D had "Master Quest", of course, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds and Twilight Princess HD all had a simple Hero Mode, while Breath of the Wild got its Master Mode as DLC.

So, there is a chance that Link's Awakening will get something similar as well. The simplest form would be a Hero Mode that can be turned on right from the start, but they could go as far as offering a fully fledged 2nd Quest with re-arranged dungeons. However, there already is something in the game that's supposed to mess with the dungeons in various ways: the Chamber Dungeon mode.

screenshot of the Chamber Dungeon menu - it's the challenge, where you have to fill a heart shape

Potentially this could lead to crazy challenges, like dungeons that are entirely made out of boss fights. It will let you experience the original dungeons in very different ways and this could potentially make a 2nd Quest obsolete or maybe even be a reason against it, because it would split the feature in two completely different versions.

On the other hand, if they go through the effort of designing a 2nd Quest, they could build the new dungeons with the Chamber Dungeons in mind, meaning that they probably would focus a lot more on using chamber rooms that can be used in that mode...

But then again the dungeons might end up being too simple, where there aren't really worthy of a real 2nd Quest. It's even a problem that the Color Dungeon had. Because it's entirely made out of these simple square chambers (probably as a nod to the original NES dungeons, where it also borrowed its music), it felt somewhat underwhelming when compared to the other dungeons in the game. It will be of good use for the Chamber Dungeons, however.

Otherwise such a 2nd playthrough mode doesn't necessarily need to change up the dungeons. The "Nightmare Mode" would first and foremost make the fights more difficult by increasing the damage or similar mechanics. They could also increase the number of enemies or swap enemies for more difficult variants, etc.

And even if the main game doesn't have such a mode, they could add one later on as downloadable content. DLC is a good point, actually, where I personally would prefer if this doesn't get any, because I'd like it to stay a complete package like the original game. But the Chamber Dungeon mode could theoretically be expanded by new panels and rooms via (free) updates, where I certainly wouldn't mind the additions.

Link's Awakening Remake: Figurine Stands?

There was one new feature in the remake of Link's Awakening, which was visible during E3, but didn't get elaborated on. Most of the houses in Mabe Village now have stands or pedestals for what might be figurines. This could be similar to the decoration sockets on Windfall Island in The Wind Waker, but with the difference that every stand has a set piece, which is supposed to be put there.

For example, there are two of these stands in Marin and Tarin's house, where the small stand on the table is for a Goomba and the stand in front of the beds for a Piranha Plant. There is another of these in Madam MeowMeow's house saying "CiaoCiao", which is probably the third Chain Chomp pet.

In addition, according to IGN there are also stands for Boo, Shy Guy, Pokey and Spiny. So, we know of the following stands so far:

  • Goomba
  • Piranha Plant
  • CiaoCiao
  • Boo
  • Shy Guy
  • Pokey
  • Spiny

And what do all of these have in common? They are enemies from the Super Mario universe, specifically enemies that all appear in Link's Awakening. In case of the Spiny, it simply might be that the enemy we know as "Spiked Beetle" was originally a Spiny in this game. It makes sense.

So, it seems you will be able to collect the Mario enemies as figurines or something similar and place them on the stands in the houses. Of course it could be that there are stands for other things than just the Mario enemies as well, but we would have yet to find out about them.

Update: One idea would be that you earn those as rewards from the Chamber Dungeon. If each Challenge gives you a reward, there isn't really much to give the players besides Rupees, maybe Secret Seashells, new Pieces of Hearts, a Fairy Bottle (already confirmed) and maybe a new Heart Container at the end. This could be the place, where you earn them, which even makes sense, because most of the Mario enemies are encountered inside the dungeons. So, maybe an early Challenge based on the Tail Cave gives you a Goomba.

But this is really interesting and it will certainly be neat to see what this is all about.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Cadence of Hyrule Released

The new indie rhythm game based on the Zelda universe, Cadence of Hyrule, releases today and Nintendo just showcased the game on their Treehouse Live stream, where you can watch the entire segment here.

screenshot of Cadence of Hyrule in the desert area

Since I don't have a Nintendo Switch yet, I have no plans on playing this any time soon. It looks alright, but I guess you have to really "feel" the game to get it, because simply watching the gameplay didn't do it for me. But I can imagine that doing everything in the rhythm can be a lot of fun.

I'm also not a fan of the rather ugly 2D sprite graphics. Don't get me wrong, I love the 2D visuals of The Minish Cap and similar games, but this looks not as lovely. Well, it's made by a small studio, so I don't want criticize it too much, but the visual quality reminds me more of Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland. It looks okay, but it's no match to The Minish Cap or Four Swords Adventures.

But that's not deal-breaker and I will probably get it together with Crypt of the Necrodancer, once I have a Nintendo Switch, out of curiosity alone and because I want to own all the Zelda spin-offs, which weren't released on the Philips CDi.

PS: The game has also a guest appearance of Dampé. As I told you, a rising star!

Link's Awakening Remake: New Cameo(s)?

Link's Awakening is know for its many curious cameos from other video games. For the most part this includes various Mario characters and enemies, but there is also Prince Richard from The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls, Dr. Write as a reference to Dr. Wright from SimCity and of course the Anti-Kirby.

But after 25 years there is so much more potential for additional cameos from other Nintendo games here, which they could include in the remake, maybe even as a source for additional Pieces of Heart or other goodies. But of course they shouldn't overdo things here, where we suddenly get Fire Emblem characters camping around Kanalet Castle...

It should be something moderate, which fits both the new art style and the environment. And it if has to be just the one, then there's only one good answer here:

artwork of Isabelle from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate


... or anyone from Animal Crossing, really, but where Isabelle is basically the mascot of the series, which even made it into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Why her? Well, this would go hand in hand with the newest game, Animal Crossing - New Horizons, which takes place on islands and might even have some nods to Link's Awakening here.

But the main reason for such a cameo would be that we have the perfect place for this: Animal Village. It's practically an Animal Crossing town within the Zelda universe and adding one of their characters there would be a fitting reference.

It couldn't hurt to put Isabelle in one of the houses there or somewhere outside in Animal Village, where you can talk to her and where she might give you a Piece of Heart if you bring her an apple or something.

Link's Awakening Remake: Guardian Acorn & Piece of Power

Link's Awakening stands out in many different ways, when it comes to the Zelda series. And one of theses oddities are certainly the two temporary power-ups, the Guardian Acorn and the Piece of Power. And they could be a little bit annoying, because you get a text message every single time you pick one of them up and the music changes from the nice overworld and dungeon tunes to a repetitive jingle.

screenshot of Link picking up a Piece of Power inside the Tail Cave

And this will return in the remake the way it was, for the most part. You still get a text every time, where it would have been an improvement if it only does this the very first time, but at least it's a little bit faster now. You also have the classic tune, but this time these power-ups are on a clock. They only last exactly 30 seconds now.

This makes a good difference, because in the original those effects could potentially stay forever, as long as you don't switch between overworld and caves or dungeons and as long as you don't get hit. So, the little power-up music could last for the rest of a dungeon, if you're skilled enough. (Sometimes I would even hurt myself on purpose to get the dungeon music back.)

But with the timer it makes them feel a lot more like traditional power-ups, where you want to make the best out of the effects as long as you have them, where you even might seek confrontations as quickly as possible. The 30 seconds timer makes a big difference from the original, where these power-ups feel more valuable and less annoying, despite the fact that they actually got less useful.

The other big change is that they leave a notable visual effect, some sort of aura. It's blue for the Guardian Acorn and red for the Piece of Power, matching the two tunics from the Color Dungeon with the same effects. Those look really cool and give a nice visual indicator that you're using the power-ups:

screenshot of Link surrounded by a blue glow in the Koholint Prairie

However, using the Piece of Power doesn't feel as powerful as in the GameBoy original, mainly because the enemy hit sounds aren't as intense. Throwing an enemy over the entire screen with an intense sound effect was absolutely satisfying... Now, it just makes them go "poof".

You can watch both effects in action in this video by IGN. The screenshots in this post were also taken from there.

Breath of the Wild 2: Gerudo Magic?

screenshot of the green vortex around the hand

One of the central elements of the trailer for the Breath of the Wild sequel was Ganondorf being pinned down by a magical vortex flowing into a glowing hand. The "sparks" of this vortex seem to be made out of Gerudo runes:

screenshot of the same green vortex from above

And according to Nintendo World Report these words actually say "Seal Ganon".

Theory: in Breath of the Wild the Gerudo had distanced themselves from Ganondorf, where it could really be that it was them, who have banned him from existence with their own magic. However, his malice still kept spreading, which ultimately led to the creation of Calamity Ganon and later on to Link's and Zelda's long journey into the deep undergrounds of Hyrule, where Ganondorf has been imprisoned for thousands of years.

Now, things get more interesting in the trailer, as Link essentially absorbs the magical Gerudo hand:

screenshot of Link absorbing the green vortext with his right hand

If we add to the fact that no Sheikah technology can be seen in the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer – no towers, shrines, Divine Beasts, pylons or even the Sheikah Slate, we can only assume that it will be replaced with something of similar nature. The Shrines might be replaced with entrances to the new underground world, while the Sheikah Slate could be replaced with the new "Gerudo Hand", which serves an equal purpose, but with a different source of power.

While technology was basically the new magic in Breath of the Wild, good old magic could be replacing the technology in the sequel and play a similar role.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Dampé, Hero of Hyrule

screenshot of Dampé inside his shack in the Link's Awakening remake

Congratulations to our favorite gravekeeper, the infamous leader of the Heart-Pounding Gravedigging Tour, Dampé, who has now officially surpassed Tingle in the number of appearances in a Zelda game! Not counting any cameos in the form of wanted posters, figurines, dolls or costumes in the later Zelda games or his appearances in any spin-off games, Tingle has "only" starred in a total of five Zelda titles:

  • Majora's Mask
  • Oracle of Ages
  • The Wind Waker
  • Four Swords Adventures
  • The Minish Cap

Dampé, however, now officially appears in six games of the Zelda series:

  • Ocarina of Time
  • Majora's Mask
  • Four Swords Adventures
  • The Minish Cap
  • A Link Between Worlds
  • Link's Awakening

Amazing! He's now on the same level as Beedle and Impa, who have both appeared in a total of six Zelda games as well. The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild are games with Beedle, while Ocarina of Time, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild all feature Impa. The latter was also mentioned in both the NES Classics and therefore technically plays a role in eight different Zelda games, but she never actually appears in those games in person.

Well, but Dampé is certainly the new rising star, who will have a fierce competition with Beedle from now on, who will most likely score a seventh appearance in the Breath of the Wild sequel. Both should certainly become playable characters in the next Hyrule Warriors, however!

Best Error Message Screen Ever

The Treehouse Live stream for E3 2019 just had some issues and they used the following screen for the error message:

screenshot of an error message using Error's house and text box from Zelda II - The Adventure of Link

This is golden!

Link's Awakening Remake: Limited Edition Announced

Limited Edition with artbook and GameBoy steelbook

And of course it's different between the regions, where Europe again is getting the nicer one with the 120-page artbook, a nice box and a GameBoy SteelBook. I'll be getting this for sure...

However, of course there is another Limited Edition I desperately want, but where Nintendo seems unwilling to give it to me: a Nintendo Switch with a nice Zelda design bundled with the game. I will not buy a Switch before one is available, that's for sure. And it will be hard to resist when this shiny remake hits the stores. I might be able to borrow a Switch again, like I did for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, after all it should only take me a weekend to beat the game...

But this can't go on forever. At the same time, if I buy a normal Switch now for Link's Awakening, you can be rest assured that Nintendo will announce a Special Edition soon after. We're still facing rumors that a new Switch model will be produced and announced soon (see here), where we still could be getting a Link's Awakening bundle later this year for Christmas or so.

In any case it would be a mistake to buy a Switch now...

Link's Awakening Remake: More Hearts!

screenshot of Link climbing Mt. Tamaranch with a total of 20 Heart Containers

Sky is the limit and that limit says 20. Yes, you've seen correctly, the remake of Link's Awakening raised the total number of Heart Containers from 14 to 20. That's six more Heart Containers to collect than in the original!

Mostly, this should result in additional Pieces of Heart, where we've already seen a new one in the Trendy Game during the Treehouse Live footage. It also seemed like there is one in the Tabahl Wasteland, right below Dampé's Shack. And there are plenty of other places, where they could hide additional Pieces of Hearts:

  • As rewards from the Seashell Mansion.
  • As rewards from the new pedestal side quest.
  • As rewards from completing Chamber Dungeon panels.
  • In treasure chests that previously only contained Rupees.
  • As a gift from the hidden Zora in Animal Village.
  • Somewhere on the Rapids Ride. In the original the main reason to play this part was to complete your map.
  • Behind the one bridge in the Tal Tal Heights, which is now useless again.

And so on... However, we're talking about 24 additional Heart Pieces here, which is twice as much as the original game had! So, maybe we're also getting some full Heart Containers in certain places. For example the boss in the Color Dungeon could give you one and maybe there really is some additional dungeon somewhere, which they haven't shown yet (which is unlikely, because they certainly would have shown this at E3).

Some of the Chamber Dungeon challenges could also give full Heart Containers instead of Pieces. Maybe the Chamber Dungeon will even feature bosses, which weren't there in the original game, where upon defeating them for the first time you're rewarded with a Heart Container.

In the end there could be 12 new Heart Pieces and three new Heart Containers for a good mix. But it will certainly be interesting to find out where all the additional hearts are coming from.

Link's Awakening Remake: amiibo Support

So many questions were answered in yesterday's streaming segment for the new Link's Awakening and one of them were about amiibo. First of all, they really will release an amiibo of Link in the new art style:

the new Link amiibo

It will be released on the same date as the game: September 20th. Next to this new amiibo, all amiibo from the Zelda series, as well as all amiibo of Zelda characters from the Super Smash Bros. series will be supported in the new Chamber Dungeons feature.

They will add so called "Plus Effects", which can be compared to the Prankster Comets in Super Mario Galaxy from what it seems. The new Link amiibo for example will add Shadow Link to the dungeon, who is chasing you and can be defeated for additional Rupees. Other Zelda amiibo will have other effects... And who knows, some of them might even be helpful like constantly giving you the Guardian Acorn or Piece of Power effects (which are still in the game by the way).

This is an interesting feature that adds some value to your amiibo collection, without taking away anything of importance from the game. These "Plus Effects" seem more like a mutator for playing a Chamber Dungeon challenger than anything else.

In addition, it seems that other amiibo might be supported as well with the pedestals that you can find in various houses. According to this site, you can put Piranha Plants into them with the corresponding amiibo. Luckily, I got one of those...!

Update: the pedestals really seem to be for a variety of things, including Goombas and "CiaoCiao"... It really might be for a new collectible instead of amiibo or a mix of both.

Link's Awakening Remake: Bomb Arrows!

Bomb Arrows return in the same fashion as in the original Link's Awakening, where you equip Bombs and the Bow at the same time. And they look more ridiculous than ever:

screenshot of Link using Bomb Arrows inside the Yarna Desert

Maybe this feature is made a little bit more prominent this time around, so that players actively pursue the shortcuts in Level 8 for example.

Link's Awakening Remake: New Items?

During the Treehouse livestream we could take a first look at the inventory screen of Link's Awakening:

screenshot of the inventory with another screen showing Eiji Aonuma in the bottom right corner

As expected, Sword, Shield, Power Bracelet and Pegasus Boots all now have their dedicated buttons, much like in A Link Between Worlds, where they are put together with the Zora Flippers, your current tunic and your current trading item at the left side.

What's of note here is the weird item next to the stick. It looks like some cream in a bowl, where this could be the new Secret Medicine or something else entirely. It could be part of a second trading sequence that was added to the game, for example. Those could also serve to decorate the pedestals in the various houses (kudos to lankelink on GameFAQs for pointing this out). Update: it seems the stands are used for figurines of Mario enemies, so it's probably unrelated to the cream item.

Anyway, there is a dedicated room for the Eight Instruments of the Sirens, as well as the five dungeon keys, much like in the original. There is a bar for temporary items next to them, where you have the Secret Seashells at the top. The Mushroom actually takes the fourth spot, so it's not a button item any longer, which makes sense. And this bar might also offer room for the Golden Leaves, as well as the Secret Medicine.

If the Secret Medicine is still in the game and works the same way as in the original, that is. With the new Fairy Bottles, which were shown as a reward for beating one of the Chamber Dungeons in the trailer, the Secret Medicine might simply go inside those, next to Fairies and Apples.

screenshot of Link eating an apple north of Martha's Bay

Yes, apples are in the game, which is a feature taken from A Link Between Worlds... And with that it could be that you can put them into bottles as well.

There should be enough room in the rest of the inventory screen for up to four Fairy Bottles. Why "up to"? Well, since there is now enough inventory space for everything, it makes sense to give the Boomerang its own slot, instead of trading it for another item like the Shovel. This was always annoying that you could never really have all items, where the remake can finally fix things.

Maybe this is even what the new trading items could be for. Maybe there really is a separate trading sequence, where in the end you get the Boomerang from the Moblin at the beach cave.

However, then there would only be space for three bottles, because we also still have the Bow, the Hookshot, the Ocarina and the Magic Rod. And having only three bottles, instead of a nice row of four bottles, seems a little odd. But it's possible, since the original didn't have any bottles at all and only one slot for the Secret Medicine.

Alternatively, they could give you four Fairy Bottles, but you can trade any of the Bottles for the Boomerang. So, in this case you could choose between keeping the Shovel or having four Bottles in total...

So, it will be interesting to learn what all the new slots are there for.

Link's Awakening Remake: No Camera Shop

While the Color Dungeon returns, the Photo Quest together with the Camera Shop won't return in the remake, which matches our expectations about the DX features back in February. How do we know this?

Well, Dampé's hut is in the same place, where the Camera shop used to be:

screenshot of Dampé's Shack in the Tal Tal Heights

screenshot from the DX version with the camera shop in the exact same place

And honestly, this is good riddance! Like with the Challenge mode in Hyrule Warriors: Legends, not including a bad feature might actually be for the better. The "Travels of Link", which is how the Photo Quest was called originally, had many issues, which are all easily solved by excluding it entirely.

The main issue was that it had added missable items to a game, which previously had none. The first photo is a choice of two variants, while there a four photos that can be missed entirely during your journey, because they can be only taken at a certain point in the game. Plus, one of the photos required you to steal from the shop and effectively become THIEF to complete the game...

Also, it created some weird moments with weird dialogues. For example you can meet Richard at the close gate of Kanalet Castle, before you even meet him officially in his house for the first time, but he still acts like he knows you already...

I guess, some moments could still be kept in some form. For example I'd expect the hidden Zora to still be there, where he might give you something else, like a Piece of Heart. And overall this is all for the best.

PS: I like, how this places Dampé's Shack quite close to the graveyard area. This is a very fitting spot.

Link's Awakening Remake: Color Dungeon Returns

screenshot of the entrance to the Color Dungeon

While the new trailer for Link's Awakening focused on the overall visuals and experience, as well as the new Chamber Dungeons feature, the Treehouse segment showed us that the Color Dungeon from Link's Awakening will be back in fully glory.

The Skeletons at the entrance, who now have names like everyone – Gar and Dion, don't ask you their colors any more, but they are still talking about how you will need Magic Powder and are offering to sell you some. The rest of the dungeon seems to be unchanged and that's nice to see.

While it is not the most complex dungeon in the game, it will be a great addition for the new Chamber Dungeons, because it offers a big variety of the small dungeon rooms that are necessary for this feature:

entire map of the Color Dungeon from the DX version

As indicated by the Color Dungeon's classic music, this is one giant throwback to the dungeons of the first NES Zelda game, where everything is made out of these simple square rooms, in which the exits of each room are placed right at the centers of the walls. It even has a hidden Rupee chamber, much like the dungeons on the NES used to have.

Now, the Chamber Dungeons only seem to work with such square rooms and not bigger constructs out of multiple rooms (that are now one), where the Color Dungeon is made exclusively out of them. It's the only dungeon in the game that does this. In fact the Chamber Dungeons feature might even be the main reason, why Nintendo went through the effort of bringing back this particular dungeon in the first place...

Link's Awakening Remake: Chamber Dungeons Announced

screenshot of the inside of Dampé's Shack

Of course the remake to Link's Awakening was getting something new, where at E3 2019 Nintendo announced the "Chamber Dungeons" as a major addition to the game.

Here Dampé returns once more, where instead of digging up graves he arranges underground dungeons for you. By beating dungeons during the game, you unlock more chambers that you can use to solve the different panels, where you have to fit in the chambers into the grid.

screenshot of the Chamber Dungeon menu, the challenge where you have to fill up a heart shape with rooms

When we discussed potential follow-ups to the new Link's Awakening, a "Zelda Maker" was amongst those ideas, where it's nice to see that Nintendo is already experimenting with this in the remake! Of course this isn't a fully fledged dungeon maker, but it goes in this direction, where Nintendo simply might want to test the interest here.

Dungeon making is also presented here as a puzzle in itself, because the rooms have to fit each other. It actually feels similar to the Sky Keep dungeon in Skyward Sword, where instead of sliding the rooms around you'll have to place them in this puzzle. And this seems to work really well.

And as a new feature this is super exciting. I know the original game like the back of my hand. I've played it so often, I can actually replay all the dungeons from my memory alone. But re-arranging the rooms of the dungeons turns it all into a very different experience, where I know the rooms, but there is something else to find on the other side of the doors every time...

However, the Chamber Dungeons only seem to work with the small square rooms of the original dungeons. The big center area of the Tail Cave and the Key Cavern are not available for example. Those do actually scroll like we've predicted, as seen in this video by GameSpot, but they most likely won't work for the Chamber Dungeons.

Some rooms even have been modified to have walls with doors on their side, so they can be used as chambers. One example would be the narrow walkway with the flying heart that leads to the Roc's Feather in the west part of the Tail Cave. In the remake this is all one big scrolling room, instead of three. For the Chamber Dungeons, however, they've added doors to the walkway on each end, where it now has screen to screen scrolling like in the original.

There are also some additional generic rooms with blade traps, which couldn't be found in the original game, probably to compensate for missing pieces.

This might even be a big reason for bringing back the Color Dungeon... Why? Well, this dungeon was exclusively made out of such "chambers" and therefore offers many different rooms to use here.

Anyway, the Challenges themselves could lead to some interesting scenarios. With this mode you could potentially even create your own Boss Gauntlet, where maybe this is even one of the Challenges, where you're restricted to using boss and mini boss chambers only.

It's a really clever concept that Nintendo is introducing here to the series and basically even removes the need for including new dungeons and things like a Boss Rush to the game, because it can be all done via Chamber Dungeons.

Give the Zelda fans a new dungeon and they will be entertained for a little while. Give the Zelda fans their means of making their own dungeons and they will be entertained forever!

Breath of the Wild Sequel Announced

screenshot of the rising Hyrule Castle from the Breath of the Wild sequel trailer

Okay, let's get the big stuff out of the way, before we focus on Link's Awakening once more... As an impressive finish to their E3 2019 presentation Nintendo announced that they are working on the sequel to Breath of the Wild. Well, this isn't really a big surprise, since Aonuma already said as much in Creating a Champion / Master Works one and half years ago. So, they've been working on this ever since they've finished the DLC for Breath of the Wild, maybe even earlier.

It also shouldn't come as a surprise in general. Breath of the Wild has been a huge success, the most successful Zelda game so far, where it's only natural that Nintendo wants to drive on this success by making a sequel in the same style right away. This is common for all the handheld Zelda games, but the only 3D Zelda game so far that got the same treatment was Ocarina of Time, where they had planned expansions for the Nintendo 64 DD and ultimately one of them turned into its own game with Majora's Mask.

So, you can't even blame Zelda fans, if they draw parallels between this and the beloved Nintendo 64 sequel. Both are using the same engine to give us something new. And both seem to follow a much darker tone, at least from what we've seen in the trailer so far, where this let's us dive from the technological approach of Breath of the Wild into something much more... mythical.

However, the thought of this becoming another Majora's Mask is only masking the worries that this trailer brings. When watching this trailer some might even think that this was supposed to announce new DLC for Breath of the Wild and you can't really blame them either, because it heavily looked like an expansion. Of course Nintendo won't be doing more DLC, because fans would be asking for it on Wii U as well and they certainly don't want to maintain the Wii U version of Breath of the Wild any longer. The game could have gotten many more content updates, if it weren't for that... But it still could mean that the development of this new game started originally as another expansion, much like Majora's Mask did.

The Return of Ganondorf? The Absence of Technology?

Overall the trailer leaves you really puzzled with what's going on. We see a mummified corpse that's supposedly Ganondorf under Hyrule, held down by some divine spirit or something similar. And we see Ganon's malice spreading.

What we don't see is any Sheikah technology. The shot of Hyrule Castle doesn't show the pylons around it, which held the Guardians, there also don't seem to be any Sheikah Shrines or Sheikah Towers visible and Vah Rudania is not around Death Mountain... Also, Link is always cut off in a way so that you can't see whether he is carrying the Sheikah Slate or not, but it doesn't seem like it.

This makes it actually difficult to place this trailer. You would think that this takes place after the events of Breath of the Wild, but then the absence of all things Sheikah technology would have to be explained. It might even be what causes Link and Zelda to explore these underground ruins in the first place. Maybe the last scene in the trailer, where Hyrule Castle rises up, chronologically happens before all the other events.

It's also thinkable that this is in fact something that takes place before the events of Breath of the Wild and we just witnessed the awakening of Calamity Ganon from a new perspective, but this also doesn't fit what we've seen so far and Hyrule probably would look quite different, with various housings visible on Hyrule Field and such. Also, there would be no real point in telling this story now, after Calamity Ganon has been defeated...

In any case, this scene might probably be a memory or something similar – something you discover along the way. If it's not and this is actually supposed to be the beginning of the game, we would loose an aspect that made Breath of the Wild so good: dropping you into a world without knowing what's going on. And this leads us right to the next point...

The World?

The trailer overall seems to have the purpose of shocking people with its imagery, similar to the original reveal of Breath of the Wild, where a Guardian came out of nowhere, chasing you. It raised many exciting questions at the time, much like this new trailer has now. However, there is one big difference: the first teaser of Breath of the Wild started by showing us the massive and exciting game world. The first look trailer for the sequel does not.

In fact this gives more the impression of an underground expansion than anything else, where you explore Hyrule's vast underground dungeons in the same Hyrule as before. That's certainly something that some fans wanted, but exploring a massive, seamless overworld is what made Breath of the Wild so good in the first place. If they are simply re-using the same overworld and adding to it, then the sequel would be in a very bad spot already.

It could be a situation similar to A Link Between Worlds, where the old overworld is there, but has been altered in many ways, while there is also a new world to explore: either the underground or a Dark World / Lorule. The latter would have to be very different, however, because having three different versions of the same gigantic overworld would be too much. And as good as the world of Breath of the Wild has been, the sequel first and foremost needs an entirely new world. If you have invested hundreds of hours into the first game, then a sequel that takes place in the same world seems rather exhausting than exiting...

Hopefully, Nintendo will clarify on this soon. Update: Aonuma did confirm that this will take place in the previous Hyrule in an interview with GameInformer. He also confirmed that development started as DLC in an interview with Kotaku.

This really could mean that they most likely will focus on expanding Hyrule's underground world, while they do something different for the overworld.

Link and Zelda? Multiplayer?

A more promising aspect of the trailer is that we see Link and Zelda adventuring together. That's a vision that the end of Breath of the Wild gave us and something that will hopefully now will be delivered. It would be nice, if we could actually play as Zelda next to Link in this game.

(Her new hair style might even have the purpose that it was easier to animate her and put her many different outfits during the game, even though her old hairstyle probably looked a lot better.)

screenshot of Zelda riding an elephant through a dark cave

If there really is a two world mechanic, Zelda could be playable in the familiar Hyrule, while Link explores the underground or the Dark World or whatever there is, where you can switch between the characters at any time to make both worlds interact with each other... However, this would put the two characters apart, which wouldn't be as interesting.

This could also lead into a two player coop experience, where one plays as Link and the other as Zelda, either locally or online. Aonuma has stated that he wanted to re-explore the multiplayer aspect of Zelda with what they've learned from Breath of the Wild, where it's entirely possible that they might add multiplayer to a 3D Zelda game for the first time (source).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

E3 2019: Roundup

screenshot of Link fighting the Evil Eagle in the Link's Awakening remake on top of the Eagle's Tower
This should be a stage in Smash!

Good show. As a Zelda fan I'm very satisfied and got what I wanted: some nice new things about Link's Awakening and a first glimpse at the Breath of the Wild sequel. The Metroid fan in me is of course a little bit disappointed, but used to it. Maybe next year...

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate x Dragon Quest & Banjo-Kazooie

This is probably only of little interest to me, since I'm not a fan of either games. The Dragon Quest DLC looks really well done, though, with all the different alts for the heroes. It's a little bit weird to have characters originally drawn by Akira Toriyama in Smash now, but it's a very popular series and certainly a good choice overall.

Banjo & Kazooie on the other hand is some serious grave digging. I know this game has its fans, but so does Golden Sun for example, where they also didn't bother. And the Spiral Mountain stage looks kind of bad...But the reveal trailer for Banjo was very funny, I give them that. It's almost frightening how well they are in touch with the Smash community here, where "Banjo would just be a Duck Hunt clone / Echo" was a running gag for a while now.

I suppose, Minecraft might just be getting the single DLC stage, if anything at all. And it might really be that the last two Challenger Packs will be Ryu Hayabusa and Doom Slayer, but I would be hyped about both of them.

Link's Awakening

Yes, Color Dungeon is back and the Camera Shop is gone (good riddance), just as we had predicted here. And instead of the Camera Shop we get the nice new "Dungeon Maker" feature. Absolutely awesome!

It also looks like the game has more Heart Pieces and Heart Pieces to collect, as well as Fairy Bottles. And there is amiibo support for all Zelda amiibo for the new Chamber Dungeons. More about all that later.

Most importantly, it all looks really nice. It's very faithful to the original game, but has improved in many different ways and the whole clay diorama art style is just lovely. I can't wait to play this!

Breath of the Wild Sequel

Okay, wow, while I was playing with the thought of them showing the sequel already, I didn't really expect it. But here it is... And it's not at all what I was hoping for. But let's talk about this in a separate post, like all the Link's Awakening stuff!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

E3 2019: Hopes and Expectations

E3 2019 logo

The E3 2019 is about to start and there will certainly a few things to look forward to. Here are my hopes and expectations for the Nintendo Direct event on Tuesday.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Challenger Pack 2

This was already confirmed by Masahiro Sakurai yesterday after the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate World Championship 2019 - we will see the next Challenger on Tuesday! I would expect a full gameplay reveal for the next newcomer with a release date for this month. But it's also possible that they might end things with a teaser for Challenger Pack 3 as well, so we will know three out of five characters at the end.

Recent rumors have been all about Banjo-Kazooie, Erdrick from Dragon Quest, Steve from Minecraft and the Doom Slayer from DOOM. I personally would prefer the last two, but let's see. Maybe there will be even a surprise fighter that no one saw coming. That would probably be the best...

Other than the Challenger Packs there could be announcements for the next big update with new modes and extras, like the return of Home-Run Contest, a free Echo Fighter or finally a Mii Mage class.

Link's Awakening

Nintendo has already confirmed that the game will be playable at E3 and there will be without a doubt new footage from the remake. I would expect a release date, a potential Nintendo Switch bundle, as well as some information about new features like a bonus dungeon or a 2nd Quest mode. It would also be good to know whether the features of the DX version will make it back or not.

But for Zelda fans Link's Awakening will most likely be the highlight of E3 2019.

screenshot of the Goponga Swamp near the entrance to the Bottle Grotto

First Glimpse at the Breath of the Wild Sequel?

While Link's Awakening will certainly take the spotlight for Zelda at E3 2019, it's possible that we get a first teaser for the next big Zelda game just to show us that Nintendo is working on more than just remakes and remasters when it comes to Zelda. I would not expect anything major here, however, so only a small glimpse at what they have been working on and no real gameplay.

Skyward Sword HD?

It's possible that this might be showcased already, but I'm not fully expecting it, because it would just take the attention away from Link's Awakening. Similar to Majora's Mask 3D and Twilight Princess HD, they could reveal this later this year, when Link's Awakening is already released, for an early 2020 release. So, this probably won't appear at E3 2019.

Metroid Prime Trilogy HD?

Similar to Skyward Sword HD, they could announce this at any time, because these remasters aren't exactly the most spectacular showcase. However, since we would get the entire trilogy remastered in one neat package and these remasters would give us a glimpse at how Metroid Prime 4 will feel on Nintendo Switch, this could warrant a spot at E3 2019 nonetheless.

Retro Studios' Latest Project?

We know that Retro Studios has taken over the development of Metroid Prime 4, but we don't really know what they've been doing for the last five years, ever since the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze in early 2014. It could be one or even more failed projects, which never will see the light of the day, or they could be finished with their latest game, which will also release in 2019. It would be nice to know what they've been up to in any case.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Some Nice Custom Gifts

It was my Birthday earlier this month and I got a couple of nice handmade things as gifts, where I thought I should share them:

a photo of various custom made items

  • A Makar figurine.
  • A small scroll based on the intro from The Wind Waker.
  • A glass, which says "The Legend of Tourian Tourist", with a Hylian Shield on it. This also came with the wooden box.
  • A birthday card using the artwork from the new Link's Awakening.
  • A small music box with a winder that plays the Song of Storms. Made by Tigerbee.

The Minecraft Creeper & TNT key chain is the only official merchandise here and the odd one out (but I still like it a lot as well). Those are all cool custom items and some lovely ideas for presents, where I want to thank those again, who have gifted me with them. Thank you!