Ever fancied trying your hand at making a Legend of Zelda game? I know there’s quite a few other developers that have, knocking out occasional action adventures that lean on Nintendo’s well established action adventure formula, but what about the average gamer? You’d have to brush up on your computing skills, grapple with Unity or GameMaker, and throw hundreds of hours at your project.
Or maybe you can just make do with the Chamber Dungeon creation challenges in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake?
In addition to taking the beloved Game Boy Zelda game and reviving it with a beguiling new art style – making it look like a claymation adventure with a dreamy tilt shift effect – Grezzo and Nintendo have added a handful of new and intriguing elements to the game as well. The biggest of these by far takes the old Camera Shop from Link’s Awakening DX and replaces it with Dampé’s Shack. Within, you’re challenged to create your own dungeons and then beat them.
It’s a nice and simple tool, giving you a growing set of dungeon tiles and having you just drop them together on a grid. As long as there’s a dungeon entrance, a dungeon boss room and a few other rooms and corridors joining them up, one of which must have a chest to house the Nightmare Key, then well done, you’ve made a dungeon!
There’s plenty of flexibility in there as you bolt together tiles that have one, two, three or four doors. The main rule is that every door has to lead to another tile, no ifs, no buts. They always serve the same purpose and layout, so if a room has a chest in it and makes an ‘L’ shape with its doorways, it will always have that. There’s no ability to rotate them, change the enemies, swap lock doors for open ones or anything of the sort.
That’s where the real puzzling comes with Dampé’s challenges. These channel your creative juices in a particular direction by setting restrictions on what you can do. There’s various restrictions on what each challenge gives you, whether it’s determining that you must have a chest room in particular spots or giving you a heart shape that you have to completely fill the tiles. The trick is browsing your catalogue of tiles and making sure they’re all pieced together, that there’s enough keys and so on.
It’s a mode that I feel will be enjoyed in small doses as you progress through Link’s journey, and I met Dampé after completing the third dungeon. The reason is that you’ll quickly start to recognise the tiles as having been lifted from the dungeons that you’ve already battled through on your adventure, and you’ll always be leading up to bosses that you’ve managed to defeat. And so, with just a few dungeons under your belt, there’s only a certain number of combinations and if you complete several of Dampé’s challenges on the trot, it will undoubtedly start to get repetitive.
Another possible part of the appeal is being able to share these creations with others, albeit only through saving a dungeon to an amiibo and then tapping it on someone else’s Switch. It’s a shame there’s no online sharing, and this is the kind of concept that would have worked perfectly with the 3DS’ StreetPass, but then Nintendo always do these things in their peculiar little way.
Still, Chamber Dungeons are a great little mode and addition, and one that I can see plenty of people exploring and returning to as they play through Link’s Awakening. As for the rest of the game? Well, you’ll just have to wait until our review next week, or go back and read our preview from E3.