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Links Awakening is full of unnecessarily obtuse and frustrating puzzles

Vire

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,098
Oh silly me you just needed to cut one bush in a giant overworld to find the path forward that’s mandatory for progressing the game. Or of course I was supposed to trade the honey comb for a pineapple, duh!

Every time I run into these situations and I look up the answer I don’t feel satisfied with the result, it’s not like “oh how could I be so stupid”, it’s more like “oh I never would have guessed that”.

Of course I was supposed to move the blocks into a square formation and then a key will pop out? But why?

This game has become increasingly tiresome for me, having to pause at least once a dungeon to look up some arcane answer. I never once had to do this in Breath if the Wild or Links Between Worlds or even Link to the Past is much better about these kinds of things.

It’s really detracting from my enjoyment of the game and this is probably the least amount of fun I’ve had with a Zelda - maybe ever.

Am I the only one with this problem with the game? I’m so bummed, Zelda has always been my comfort food but I feel like I can’t play it without a cell phone in hand.
 

Cipher Peon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,195
This is how I feel about most Zelda puzzles, including Link’s Awakening. I much prefer the dungeon designs of the NES Zelda games because of it!
 

Noppie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,101
Link's Awakening, especially the remake, is extremely handholding and obvious in most regards.

Can't say I can find myself in what you're experiencing.
 

BigTime_2018

Member
Dec 31, 2018
250
A lot of people had this criticism in the OT, but I actually found it to be one of the more intuitive Zelda games I’ve played.
 

Nights

Member
Oct 27, 2017
586
I actually think I solved them all pretty easily and the remake was my first play through of the game. However to get the Seashell where that walrus was by playing Marins song I had no clue about.
 

Tarantism

Member
Nov 8, 2017
97
The puzzles were very easy for me.
Sorry you had a bad experience but don't know what they could have done to accommodate you.
 

Twister

Member
Feb 11, 2019
423
This is my first Zelda game other than BOTW and I agree. It was fun at first but by the end I just wanted it to end. The puzzles weren’t clever, they literally required a guide. It just really wasn’t fun, I don’t get the hype behind the game.
 

Raging Spaniard

Artist at EA Star Wars
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
2,010
Not at all, everything felt very cleanly communicated. There are usually plenty of visual cues that will help you along with the "move this thing here" puzzles
 
Oct 28, 2017
709
Everything except the Final Boss guy was pretty self explanatory for me. I haven't played the original at all since the year it came out. I felt dumb at times after finally figuring something out because they're so obvious.
 

doodlewhizz

Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,236
I feel like it's a very easy excuse to accuse the game of being obtuse when you can't work out what to do - sometimes it can be justified (there are some ludicrous adventure game puzzle solutions), but really don't understand the complaints about that sort of thing in Link's Awakening. Everything is communicated just fine for players to understand what they should do next.
 

GuessMyUserName

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,821
Toronto
... Huh? Link's Awakening is largely very intuitive with its puzzles, the only thing I'd agree on is locating all seashells.

Like yeah if you see some blocks that are slightly off from making a pattern it should be very obvious what to do, additionally so if they're surrounded by crystals to break before you can even push them, or if there's any markings on the ground in the direction of pushing.

Not to mention if you hear a compass chime when you enter a room you should be paying attention to detail, and if you're lost there's owl statues and phone booths explaining things.
 
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Bitanator

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,318
Oh silly me you just needed to cut one bush in a giant overworld to find the path forward that’s mandatory for progressing the game. Or of course I was supposed to trade the honey comb for a pineapple, duh!

Every time I run into these situations and I look up the answer I don’t feel satisfied with the result, it’s not like “oh how could I be so stupid”, it’s more like “oh I never would have guessed that”.

Of course I was supposed to move the blocks into a square formation and then a key will pop out? But why?

This game has become increasingly tiresome for me, having to pause at least once a dungeon to look up some arcane answer. I never once had to do this in Breath if the Wild or Links Between Worlds or even Link to the Past is much better about these kinds of things.

It’s really detracting from my enjoyment of the game and this is probably the least amount of fun I’ve had with a Zelda - maybe ever.

Am I the only one with this problem with the game? I’m so bummed, Zelda has always been my comfort food but I feel like I can’t play it without a cell phone in hand.
Zelda needs more obtuse
 

Dary

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,311
The English Wilderness
It's usually a case of paying attention to what people say, or to the world around you.

If you think Link's Awakening is obtuse, stay far, far away from the text/point-and-click adventures of the 80s/early 90s XD
 

PKthndr

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,441
I agree with the bush one and a few of the overworld things, but as far as the dungeons go I never had to look anything up, and thought they were mostly straight forward.
 

Mugman

Member
Oct 27, 2017
509
There are definitely some things in the game that I found very unintuitive, but for me it was stuff like having to spin attack to beat certain bosses or that one sea shell that you have to play the ballad of the Windfish at a very specific spot to get. In regards to dungeon or overworld puzzles I surprisingly didn't have to look anything up, and I only played the game once before in my life, so it wasn't down to me remembering things

I have friends who also thought the game was far more unintuitive than I did, and the main thing I noticed was that they weren't talking/listening to NPCs as much as I was. I don't think I ever didn't have the correct item I needed for the trading quest when I first ran into the respective NPCs.
 
Aug 27, 2019
201
As someone who didn't play they original this was the biggest disappointment of 2019 for me. Nothing about it was fun...
 

Boiled Goose

Member
Nov 2, 2017
9,391
Nah. It's so easy. You have a compass that tells you where chests are.

A few things are a bit badly designed, like where the key that falls down drain ends up.

But full? Nah
 
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Vire

Vire

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,098
At this point they would have to add a GPS with waypoints to make people on Era happy lol. The game as it is now literally tells you how to do everything in plain text.
I really don’t want that, as mentioned in the OP I didn’t have this problem at all in A Link Between Worlds.

I can’t really describe much further other than the puzzles don’t feel organic or clever - just that they come to conclusions that are completely arbitrary.

Glad you enjoyed though. I’m loving the music and art style at least.
 

Shudouken

Member
Jun 19, 2019
298
You can go to a phone booth in the game if you're lost, and there's a full worldmap in the library.
Also the owl statues teach you many things, like that pushing blocks can open doors in dungeons.
From then on you should have that in the back of your mind.

I didn't have to look up anything. But I also didn't 100% it because Dampé was too annoying for me.
40 seashells had to do.
 

Unkindled

Member
Nov 27, 2018
1,851
My friend said the same thing I guess its frustrating for new players. He did the last two dungeon's with Youtube guide on cause he was done figuring it out.
 

ReyVGM

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,949
Oh silly me you just needed to cut one bush in a giant overworld to find the path forward that’s mandatory for progressing the game. Or of course I was supposed to trade the honey comb for a pineapple, duh!

Every time I run into these situations and I look up the answer I don’t feel satisfied with the result, it’s not like “oh how could I be so stupid”, it’s more like “oh I never would have guessed that”.

Of course I was supposed to move the blocks into a square formation and then a key will pop out? But why?

This game has become increasingly tiresome for me, having to pause at least once a dungeon to look up some arcane answer. I never once had to do this in Breath if the Wild or Links Between Worlds or even Link to the Past is much better about these kinds of things.

It’s really detracting from my enjoyment of the game and this is probably the least amount of fun I’ve had with a Zelda - maybe ever.

Am I the only one with this problem with the game? I’m so bummed, Zelda has always been my comfort food but I feel like I can’t play it without a cell phone in hand.


I would understand if you are short on time and aren't willing to explore until you stumble upon the character that needs the honey comb (obviously a bear), or maybe you were too tired to notice an obvious looking lone bush that has a stair under it.

But if a 13-year old can finish the game in one week without using a faq, so can you.
 

Umbrella Carp

Member
Jan 16, 2019
2,519
This stuff is partly why I didn't see the game through to the end. By the time I was trading the Pineapple for Bananas or whatever the hell (there was like 5 of them in a row), I was asking myself "is this it?".
 

Rodney McKay

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,839
My main problem with 2D Zeldas is that I just get fucking lost constantly.

Even with the helpful phone tip system in this game (which does help a lot), i don't really feel like I'm exploring the world, more like I'm just blindly bumping into every dead end until I find the one correct route available to me.

I'm not even that far in, I just got the chain chomp guy I'm supposed to walk, got told to go to an area I've never been before, and sent on my way to bumble my way to the right location.

Really didn't want to look up a guide for the game (something I almost always end up doing in 2D Zeldas), but I might have to since I haven't been back to the game since I got lost.
 

spman2099

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,884
Link's Awakening is not a hard game to figure out. I feel like if you are paying attention the game is rarely (if ever) obtuse.
 

The Boat

Member
Oct 28, 2017
876
I think the problem is more that you aren't paying attention to what the game is telling you, because it isn't obtuse at all. Overall, the puzzles are pretty intuitive and well visually communicated. Not only that, there are usually tips or clues and the game holds your hand as far as where to go next.
 

Tim de Man

Member
Apr 9, 2019
124
Am I the only one with this problem with the game? I’m so bummed, Zelda has always been my comfort food but I feel like I can’t play it without a cell phone in hand.
The overworld and mandatory item trade quest were clearly designed in the early '90s when trial-and-error was still a respected gameplay mechanic =P .

That said, I thought the dungeons were largely enjoyable =) .
 

VDenter

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,808
Remake of a Gameboy game that was quite clearly marketed as a nearly 1:1 remake besides the graphics. It's not even that obtuse with the puzzles.
It isn't to me either since i played it before but the idea that you have to give a remake of any game some slack because i'ts original version is old, especially after paying that much is pretty ridiculous. Nobody forced Grezzo to make a 1:1 remake and not address any issues from the original. They could have greatly expanded the game.
 

Illusion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,349
I don't understand anyone who defends this or says they never had a problem. Did you play the original and just know where things are?

Some things are so hidden and without explanation. I imagine a ton of people playing without a guide on the first playthrough getting lost on the regular.

Edit: Anyone who says the phone booth is helpful deserves to be hunted down by a mob of pitchforks and cuckoos.
 

"D."

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,195
I don't think its that bad. The only dungeon that had me stumped back when I originally played it as a kid in the 90s was the pillars in Eagle's Tower. I didn't know what a pillar was and after about a month of wandering around aimlessly I finally asked my uncle.

Despite that, I was pretty observant and intuitive for my age while playing it. I even managed to find all 20 secret seashells (it was 20 originally) and finish the trading mini game with no help from guides or any other person
 

Ramako

Member
Jan 1, 2018
238
Canada
I didn't have to look anything up, but I agree that compared to more modern zelda titles, some of the solutions to puzzles or game progression paths were not very clearly communicated. A bit frustrating if you're not used to it, but I think I'd rather the game err on the side of being too cryptic versus holding your hand too much.
 
How dare they expect players to explore and try things in a Zelda game!

the only puzzle I ever felt was obtuse was the nightmare key in level 2, which relies less on immediately available context and is harder to do accidentally than any other puzzle. Dunno why the clue for it is halfway across the dungeon and uses names not found in game.
 

Neutra

Member
Oct 27, 2017
650
NYC
yeah, playing this and Final Fantasy IX recently reminded me just how much game design/UX has changed in twenty years.

like someone said above, "wander around and try shit out" used to be acceptable design.
 
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Vire

Vire

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,098
I would understand if you are short on time and aren't willing to explore until you stumble upon the character that needs the honey comb (obviously a bear), or maybe you were too tired to notice an obvious looking lone bush that has a stair under it.

But if a 13-year old can finish the game in one week without using a faq, so can you.
I think that is my problem actually. My patience is much shorter now a days because I have such a limited amount of time to play. So when something like that bush thing comes up, it’s very frustrating to me because it feels like the game is not respecting my time.

I sneak in half an hour here and there while my family is not home but yeah I dunno, maybe it’s on me.
 

ShinUltramanJ

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,708
Link’s Awakening is bullshit. I’m glad this thread was created, because I can vent.

I’m playing - or was playing it, and these aren’t puzzles. Not in the sense of real puzzles, where you have to really think it through and come up with a solution. What Link’s Awakening has is a bunch of time wasting trial and error filler, designed to impede any progress.
 

Nikus

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,027
France
This is my first Zelda game other than BOTW and I agree. It was fun at first but by the end I just wanted it to end. The puzzles weren’t clever, they literally required a guide. It just really wasn’t fun, I don’t get the hype behind the game.
I beat the game in 1993 without a guide and I wasn't really a hardcore gamer...
 

Zeckett

Member
Mar 28, 2019
332
Portugal
I can say this from many games, but not this one. It was easy, honestly. And when I did run into a wall I eventually figured it out by myself.
 

Shudouken

Member
Jun 19, 2019
298
Also, while playing it whenever I ran into a dead end or saw an item I couldn't get to I would take a screenshot and revisit that place later.
 
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Vire

Vire

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,098
This stuff is partly why I didn't see the game through to the end. By the time I was trading the Pineapple for Bananas or whatever the hell (there was like 5 of them in a row), I was asking myself "is this it?".
Yeah and I would understand if that stuff is optional, but you need to do those ridiculous trades in order to progress. Mostly none of them are logical.
 
Dec 20, 2017
480
Game's not that big. I don't play many zelda games, but I've only been stumped briefly 2-3 times for no more than half an hour. Would hate it if it was completely obvious and hand holding on where to go constantly.
 

Jeeves

Member
Nov 21, 2017
410
Part of the reason why Link's Awakening is my favorite 2D Zelda is that it has the most straightforward puzzles. The game keeps you moving forward pretty naturally.

What bush are you guys talking about? Don't tell me it's the one outside Kanalet Castle, which is by itself in a small, obviously important area with nothing else going on in it?
 
Oct 29, 2017
3,671
I beat this game when I was 6 years old, without a guide. And it didn't take me months or years to do it. No I wasn't a MENSA genius, I just had enough patience to not immediately go looking for an online walkthrough or a Youtube video and instead... gasp! Try to figure stuff out by myself!

You are just used to playing braindead games that treat you like an idiot and spoonfeed you the answers to everything. Modern games don't require you to think, and they dull your brain. How fucking dare a modern game even have the audacity to ask you to think for yourself and explore on your own to figure things out for yourself!

Link's Awakening just comes from a time where games respected the intelligence of their players. It's not even particularily hard! It's one of the easiest games in the entire series! You have just been that sensitised by braindead modern games.