Zephyrus of the Anemoi

.the ramblings of a radman.

Tag: Zelda

Hey! Listen! Wake up, Lonk!

Lonk's Awakening Icon

There is currently a Flappy Bird-esque game on the App Store called The Legend of Zeldo: Lonk’s Awakening DX. No, that is not a typo. This is an actual game someone developed, because of reasons. It’s not terrible, as far as Flappy Bird clones go. It has a unique inventory system where you can collect items as you go which affect the game play (Pelican Boots let you dash ahead a short distance, Irony Boots increase the speed with which your character flies), which almost alleviates the frustration of the core gameplay conceit. Almost.

Lonk's Awakening Gameplay

It’s free, though. And it will likely only exist for a short period of time before the developer receives a cease & desist (even though it is clearly parody and protected, the dev likely isn’t willing to pay a lawyer to prove that), so if you think it might even be slightly interesting, you should pick it up now before it’s gone forever.

Return to Hyrule: An ardent journey to a familiarly unfamiliar place

Over the winter solstice holiday, I received a Nintendo 3DS XL bundled with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (thanks to my incredible wife), the latest offering in the Zelda franchise. While I have wanted a 3DS for some time, A Link Between Worlds became available at the perfect intersection of available funds and ultra-desirable game release. I have been a fan of the Zelda series ever since I first laid eyes on the initial game as a child, so I was very excited to play this game. However, I’ve been a little put off by the last two handheld entries into the franchise, simply because I was not as big a fan of the touch controls as I was of the classic controls of the past.

Thankfully, right out of the gate, Nintendo nailed the controls with A Link Between Worlds by basically reusing the same controls of A Link to the Past (which would make sense, since the game is actually a sequel to the Super Nintendo smash hit). But, it wasn’t just the spot-on controls and perfect execution of the 3-D in dungeons that made A Link Between Worlds so fantastic. There are two huge improvements to this game that make it stand out against so many other Zelda entries.

First of all, Nintendo was kind enough to avoid punishing players with sliding block puzzles as they so often have in previous Zelda games. Not once did I enter into a room that forced me to figure out how to slide a series of blocks just to get from one side of the room to the other. That doesn’t mean that I never had to push a block around to solve a puzzle, but I never had to wrack my brain trying to figure out which block to push in which order to prevent it being trapped against a wall or forcing me to exit the room just to reset and try again. I’ve done enough puzzles of that nature to last a lifetime, so I was quite thankful to be able to skip out on that, this time around.

Even more relieving, though, was the complete lack of a Shovel in this particular adventure. Don’t get me wrong, there is something very satisfying about digging up cool treasure in previous Zelda titles, but by eliminating the shovel entirely, I am never tempted to run around digging up every square foot of land in someone’s garden in the hopes of finding something cool. I can instead focus on throwing bombs at walls and dashing headlong into trees to find something cool. Which is something that really only works in video games. I mean, I can take my shovel into the neighbor’s yard and dig it up like crazy any time I want, but throwing a bomb at the cliff wall just outside of town is a surefire way to end up in a dungeon surrounded by angry moblins.

But, even had Nintendo subjected me to such OCD-feeding items as the Shovel and nerve-wracking torture-tests as pushing blocks until I wanted to scream, I still would have ranked this game among the best games I’ve ever played. I can say with absolute certainty that this the best gameplay ever offered by a “classic” Zelda title—in this case, “classic” refers to the top-down camera angle from the earliest Zelda titles (except for Zelda II, which was its own beast, and was awesome for a whole different slew of reasons). Is it the best story? No. That honor is still reserved for Link’s Awakening, which also has the best music, as well. But it’s certainly the most fun.

And on the subject of the story, A Link Between Worlds is no slouch. Using similar techniques to A Link to the Past (psychic messages from a sage and a princess that need your help), Link journeys between light and dark worlds on an epic quest to save the Hyrule from doom. And in a rather clever twist, the dark world on his latest journey is not the same Dark World from A Link to the Past, though it bears a very similar feel. This helps prevent the game from feeling as though it’s just a retread of a familiar game and lets gamers really explore the dichotomous environment to their heart’s content.

One place where A Link Between Worlds feels a little less than perfect is the challenge. Traditionally, Zelda titles have at least a couple boss fights or dungeons that have me pulling out my hair in frustration due to dying repeatedly. While there were definitely some challenging moments, I almost never died. This is actually great for getting younger and less-experienced gamers into the game, but for those of us that have played every Zelda game Nintendo published, it can be a little too easy. There is a Hero mode available after completing the game, but I think it might have been worth having an option to choose a difficulty somewhere between Hero and Normal when first setting out on your quest.

Of course, it may just be that the challenge I’m looking for no longer exists because I am an old hat with filling the shoes of the Legendary Hero and because the game has advanced to a point that some of the challenge I recall has been eliminated due to refinements in the controls and gameplay over the years.

All in all, if you haven’t yet played the game, I urge you to run out and pick it up (or just download it here). If you don’t have a 3DS, Nintendo is actually selling them at a pretty affordable price on their Online Store, if you don’t mind a refurbished system.

I am continually amazed at how much more willing I am to grab my 3DS and take it with me than I have been in the last few years. My iPhone and iPad had nearly eliminated my desire to take a Nintendo handheld with me, but A Link Between Worlds, the Bravely Default demo, and my collection of unfinished DS games have done an excellent job of reminding me of how consistently great Nintendo handhelds are.

UPDATE (2013/04/03): All of the fingerings have been updated so that links to them work once again. Thanks again for visiting, and if you have time, please check out some of my other posts about iOS apps, video games, or even creative writing. Or, if you like what you see, you can subscribe to my blog by clicking the Subscribe button on the top of the sidebar to the right.

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I’m collecting the various links to the Online Score Generator for the Smule Ocarina iPhone app into one post so that when I update it, people don’t have to look through the review to find them. Some of these I made entirely on my own, and others I modified based on ones I found at the Smule Ocarina forums.

I’ve also included a key for how I’ve interpreted the icons for the score generator at the bottom of the post.

The Legendary Hero – The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Zelda’s Lullaby – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Serenade of Water – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Jurassic Park Theme

Star Wars Theme

Hobbiton Theme – The Lord of the Rings

Title Theme – The Legend of Zelda

Epona’s Song – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Prelude of Light – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Song of Storms – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Song of Time – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Score Generator guide:

I skipped 1-16, as they’re obviously just the fingerings, but these 5 are a little different. This is my suggestion for following these symbols.

 – 17: Hold note for about one count and then move right into the next note.

 

 – 18: Hold note for about one count and then move into the next hold.

 

 – 19: Hold note for about one count and let fade out, should be followed by 21.

 

 – 20: Quick breath, then right in to the next note.

 

 – 21: Breathe, this is your “free” space.
[plinker heading=”Enjoyed this post? Check out the rest of my blog!”]

UPDATE: Corrected the fingering for Prelude of Light and added a link to the Hobbiton Theme from Lord of the Rings.

Anyone that has played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has wanted to learn to play the ocarina. Anyone. If you tell me you didn’t, I’ll tell you you’re lying. I’m looking at you, Jesse. The problem is that ocarinas cost money. Good ocarinas cost around $60-80. You can get cheaper ones, sure, but they don’t sound very nice. And even the $60-80 ones aren’t the highest quality. Plus, you drop it, and it’s probably gone. FOREVER.

Well, now you can get your very own ocarina for just $0.99. That’s right. Plus the $200 or $300 you spent on your iPhone. And your monthly AT&T bill. But, still just $0.99 for the ocarina.

My cousin Adam pointed out Smule’s Ocarina that was released today and allows you to play an ocarina by blowing into the microphone and touching the screen. I’m going to repeat that, because it’s fucking awesome. You blow into the microphone and touch the screen to denote pitch.

If you don’t realize how awesome this is, then please review below.


Direct link here.

Now, after seeing that, do you wish you had been the genius that came up with this? I know I do. But it gets better. Not only can you play a variety of awesome songs using your brand new digital ocarina, you can share your musical talent with the world. One of the features of the app is the ability to view a globe with little whitish-yellow “lights” on it. Each of those lights is another user of this app. While you view the globe, one of the lights will begin to send green rings and blue waves into the stratosphere. At this same moment, beautiful (and sometimes awful) music will emanate from your speakers. You’re listening to someone else play their copy of Ocarina.

As if that wasn’t already cool enough, Smule has posted a handy tool for you to create and share your own “sheet music” called the Online Score Generator. Adam pointed out an excellent song for your ocarina-ing pleasure: Song of Time from Ocarina of Time. I have been working on it since this afternoon and have much of it memorized. I’ve also taken it upon myself to find a large collection of ocarina fingerings that you can use with the Score Generator to make it easier to share with your friends and family, as well as bookmark for yourself.

So, here is one that I whipped up for you: Prelude of Light from Ocarina of Time.

And here is another: Hobbiton Theme from Lord of the Rings.

And here is a link to a plethora of fingerings to make your days brighter (WARNING: Some of these fingerings are not compatible without adjusting the key and even then they may not be accurate. You’ll have to experiment with them to figure it out).