Quests that require you to continually swap a current item for a new one on the way to an ultimate goal aren’t uncommon in games. This is especially true in The Legend of Zelda series, where entries like Ocarina of Time, Phantom Hourglass, and The Wind Waker all ask you to consider going to multiple people and delivering different things in the hopes of getting a bigger, better thing. But, of all of them, none handles the process so well as The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. While this series of tasks is an obligation, it never feels like one. Rather, it’s a chain of events that is one of the most pleasant errands ever.
It helps that The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’s trading sequence begins by playing a game. When visiting Mabe Village, you’ll find a quaint little Trendy Game Shop with a grabbing machine. In it is a Yoshi Doll. Who doesn’t love Yoshi? Of course Link must have it. Except, someone else wants it more. The quadruplet’s mother has been hoping to get the doll for her baby. Since Link is an altruistic hero (and the doll would probably be ruined on the adventure anyway, let’s be frank), he offers it up to her. From there, the “adventure” begins.
From there, things do require a bit of going between people in the same area. You get the ribbon that Ciao Ciao the Chain Chomp wants, then receive the Dog Food Sale the Alligator craves in return. It’s a bit of wandering about, but fortunately all of the people who need these items are fairly obvious. The characters are memorable and you might have already visited them anyway. If not, then you’d probably walk past their home on the way to other activities anyway. You need to return BowWow to Madam MeowMeow after going to the Tail Cave, so you’re right there. Plus, you have to pass Sale’s Banana Shop on the way to Prince Richard’s house, Kanalet Castle, and the Key Cavern.
This is a trend, once you get over the initial need to get rid of the Ribbon and Dog Food. Most of the trades you need to make occur without having to go out of your way. The bananas you got from Sale? You’ll automatically hand those over to the monkeys so you can get into Kanalet Castle. The stick the monkeys leave behind? Tarin will ask for it when you’re heading through Ukuku Prairie to the Animal Village, leaving a honeycomb behind. When you’re in the Animal Village asking how to make the sleeping walrus move, you’ll absolutely talk to the bear who will ask to use it in his recipe, giving you a pineapple in return.
Eventually, you reach a point where it comes down to a bit of backtracking again. Once you find the quadruplet’s father in Tal Tal Heights, he’ll give you a hibiscus. You have to remember that Christine, the goat in Animal Village, wanted one. Then, you’ll need to take her letter to Mr. Write in Goponga Swamp, so you can get the broom that Grandma Yahoo needed.
Once you get to the end of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening trading sequence, things get a bit easier again. The Martha’s Bay fisherman needs the fishing hook she had, giving you the necklace the Martha’s Bay mermaid lost. She gives you a scale, which you can place in Sale’s brother’s mermaid statue to access the one thing you need most: the magnifying glass needed to read a book in Mabe Village’s library so you can finally wake the Wind Fish.
This The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening trading sequence is the perfect balance of fun and obligation. Yes, you really have to do it to beat the game. Sure, it can sometimes require you to do a bit of backtracking. But, much of it happens because you’re already in the area for other reasons. Also, each interaction is a chance to get to know colorful characters, making it a more enjoyable activity.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is available for the Nintendo Switch.