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Played in 2023
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While it might not have the polish of link to the past, oracle of ages has such a magic to it that it surpasses every previous game in the franchise for me. With a fairly limited map it gives me the Hyrule that so far in my Zelda journey I've most enjoyed exploring. The characters have so much personality, the various groups that live here are all so distinct and well implemented. It also gives you really unique things to do that extend past the classic trading quests (although they don't go away), one stand out for me is the Goron dance, essentially briefly turning the game into a rythm game and it's fun as hell. Another section I absolutely adore is when you wash up on Cresent island and you have all the belongings you've acquired up to this point stolen, it makes for a really memorable puzzle and hammers home exactly how certain abilities need to be used. It's not a perfect game, there's some annoying design to be found and I haven't played the linked game stuff so I can't fully comment on that, but I just loved my time with this game so much. Also it has moosh in it
Hot take but this game is fantastic, such a step up from the previous games in many many aspects and although to find certain items I had to rely on a guide, I really don't mind that I still has a magical time with this game.
First things first this game is so cute, the art style is lovely and I think it looks great. Playing as Yoshi is always fun and I enjoy the basic mechanics and the way he controls but that's kind of where the positives stop. The baby switching mechanic is cool in theory but it's really underused and when it is used the implementation isn't great, the actual switching itself feeling a bit clunky. The original Yoshi's Island is great and full of creative level design whereas there's not much memorable here, and the ones that stand out in my mind stand out for having needlessly frustrating segments. This especially goes for the auto-scroll levels which are way too common and add nothing of value, the auto-scroll just slows the pace and adds to frustration, my main example was on one level where you have to descend in a cave but the screen moves at such a slow pace I ended up dying from going off the screen way too many times when I knew a platform was just underneath me.
I wish the gameplay was more fun in this because I think it's such a cute game and love Yoshi but I don't know this just isn't something I enjoyed playing.