Paige FTW: ‘Oracles’ Due For A Comeback
After the glowing success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo is going low-key this year, merely putting out a remake of Link’s Awakening on the Switch to keep fans sated. The return to top-down, grid-based Zelda reminds me of two true gems of the early 2000s: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages.
Uncharacteristically, Capcom developed these two titles, not Nintendo — but in that very freedom from tradition came some of the series’ best innovations.
Link is, for example, taken out of Hyrule completely. Familiar names and faces appear, but in totally different contexts — as the three great goddesses Din, Nayru and Farore appear in tangible form this go-round. The complexity and breadth of exploration and puzzles is breathtaking, as each game has multiple worlds to explore (either through time travel or portals) and all the usual Zelda stalwarts of dungeons, myriad items (and related upgrades) and more.
And, just to rub it all in, the two companion titles — each of which has a unique identity with Seasons emphasizing combat and Ages puzzles — can be “combined” to be played as a long, contiguous journey that has an extra kick at the end if you finish both — a small innovation that even further justifies purchasing and playing both.
This Game Boy Color project may not be as flashy as Breath of the Wild, but it’s every bit as ambitious.
So, the question is today: where is it?
You can still purchase the games to play on the Nintendo 3DS today. I don’t believe they are playable on Switch, and since Nintendo is clearly in the process of phasing the 3DS out, I’m not sure what that means for these quiet masterpieces. If you have the means of acquiring them (they are only $5.99 right now), do it. They are worth every penny and more.