The Zelda fandom is divided. While there are plenty in the middle there are 2 major camps, those that prefer 2d Zelda and those that prefer 3d (I like both). A Link To The Past was often lauded as a masterpiece of a game and used as the banner for what 2d Zelda in the fans eyes should be. And so many, many years later we got a sequel.
Released on the 3DS in 2013 the game is set some time after Link To The Past. You play as the Link in that game’s ancestor (I think, some relation down the line… anyway not the same Link) who is an apprentice blacksmith. Suddenly while going about normal activities the descendants of the Seven Sages are being attacked and turned into paintings by a mysterious figure Yuga. After waking up you are greeted by a strange figure in a purple outfit and rabbit helmet called Ravio.
The game’s main gimmick, if you will, is that it can be tackled in whatever order you have. This is thanks to Ravio. Rather than a key tool or item be acquired in the dungeons you will get them from Ravio, first it’s a loan but you can with enough rupees buy them altogether. After your first dungeon, which ends with you getting the other main gimmick more on that later, you can tackle the next dungeons in any order. It just depends on which item you select first.
The other main gimmick is acquired at the end of the first dungeon, this one will turn you into an image on the wall, but thanks to a bracelet Ravio gave you, you can then freely move in 2 dimensional planes, allowing you to hug walls opening up a bunch of different passages and ways round puzzles.
Hyrule for the most part is the same as it was in Link To The Past. So if you remember a secret from that game, it might just still be there.
While you go from the first few dungeons you will start to find people you encountered before disappearing. All this is to lead into the second half of the game. But rather than the Dark World you venture into Lorule (hence Link Between Worlds) here you have many more dungeons which outside of one (because of plot) you can tackle in the order you want.
It should be noted without items to progress being in the dungeons instead each dungeon will contain other useful items, such as objects to upgrade your sword so there is still good reason to explore through them.
It is a good experience but I can’t help but feel it’s just not as good as the original. The non linear nature is enjoyable as you can play the dungeons in whatever order, but I feel that robs me of the fun I had breaking the pattern in the original. Still there’s plenty to do and the new abilities allow for some good puzzles and dungeon designs.