The Legend of Zelda series has to come to fans in many iterations, evolving from sprawling two-dimensional landscapes to dynamic and beautifully-rendered three-dimensional open worlds. The distinction couldn't be any more different when comparing 2017's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, full of colorful locales and an impressive area to explore, and 2019's The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, which reminds fans that 2D Zelda games can be just as valuable as a 3D one. As such, it might be high time that the next brand-new Zelda iteration be 2D.
1993's The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is, like Majora's Mask after it, a fan favorite for its more quirky elements and blending of genres. As a result, it makes sense that, of all 2D Zelda titles, Niintendo would decide to bring Link's Awakening to the Nintendo Switch. Reception to the Link's Awakening remake has been very positive. Garnering an impressive 88 on Metacritic, the game has been widely praised for its crisp presentation and overall faithfulness to the original while still feeling like a polished reimagination. Above all, the game proves unequivocally that there is more than enough juice left in the storied 2D Legend of Zelda engine.
Link's Awakening for Switch is a remake of a Game Boy game, and apparently has been criticized for, at times, adhering too closely to it. It is a well-made one at that, but even 2013's The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, one of the series' last 2D games, couldn't be called brand-new. Rather, the game appears to be a not-so-subtle homage to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Both of these are great games in their own rights, but it still proves that we have been lacking a much-needed spectacular, original 2D Zelda experience.
Before Link Between Worlds, the last original 2D Zelda game was The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. The game received good reviews, in actuality, but fans consider Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass two of the lower-quality games in the long-running series, relatively speaking.
With all of these factors in consideration, it is about time Nintendo gets to developing a new 2D Zelda game. Link's Awakening proves that there is still merit to the gameplay mechanics. Swinging away at enemies while traversing a vibrant field and solving puzzles through imaginative dungeons is, apparently, as timeless as ever. It appears these elements are musts for any 2D Zelda game. However, a totally new Zelda map, complete with new mechanics, new dungeons, an interesting Breath of the Wild-esque story, and an inventive art-style would make for a fantastic 2D Zelda game. Simultaneously, it would satisfy the cravings of any old-school Zelda fan looking for a fresh take on familiar mechanics, and it would help initiate the younger generation of Zelda fans. The toy-like art-style of Link's Awakening has been widely praised, and if Nintendo can imitate that with a new style for another 2D Zelda game, we would surely have a winner on our hands.
The Zelda series is due for a brand-new 2D installment. Now that we've gotten a nearly perfect 3D Zelda masterpiece and brilliant 2D remake for the Switch, it seems fitting to get a new 2D experience. If Nintendo can nail implementing these familiar mechanics with a whole new layout and setting, then the Zelda fans of yore will be reminded of what got them so hooked in the first place.