The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening ׀ Controls

Screen shot of title screen

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (PEGI 7) is a top-down, action-adventure game available on the Nintendo Switch. It is a remake of the 1993 game which was available on the Nintendo Game Boy.

You play as the character Link, who gets stranded on Koholint Island. To progress through the game, you must defeat/avoid many enemies, solve puzzles and win boss fights. The aim is to collect eight instruments which you will use to awaken the legendary “Wind Fish” so that you can escape the island.

In this post we will take a look at the controls used to play. It is possible to play this game with access to just the left joystick and seven buttons. The right joystick can be used to zoom the map in/out, but you do not need this to play the game.


Default Controls:

Many of the controls are doubled up and can be accessed by pressing different buttons. For example, you can either press Z or ZR to use your Shield.

Screen shot of system menu showing controller layout.

Left Joystick = Move

A = Confirm/Lift

B = Attack

X/Y = Item: Items get acquired through the game; the Item you need to be equipped with will depend on the mission.

L/ZL = Dash: you must unlock this power before you can use it.

R/ZR = Shield: you need to hold this down at the same time as pressing B to attack your enemy.

+ = Subscreen: this shows Items, Map, and System. You need to use L/R to move between screens. ZL and ZR will also work.

 = Map: you can get to this in the Subscreen as well. As you progress through the game you will unlock more sections of the map – most of it is not visible to begin with.

There is only the default control scheme in Link’s Awakening. If you want to change the controller layout it is possible to do this at a system level. This post explains how to do this:


Getting started with Link’s Awakening:

When you first load up the game you will see this screen:

Screen shot of first game screen when you need to press L + R together.

You need to press L and R together to progress into the game.

Once you select a new game you will be asked what difficulty you want to play as:

Screen shot of difficulty options.

Normal: this is the classic difficulty setting. The game does not give you much guidance on how to solve puzzles and where to go on the map to progress. You need to be accurate with your joystick and have good timing with button presses to solve puzzles and defeat bosses.

Hero: in this difficulty setting you take twice as much damage, with no heart drops. It is recommended for advanced players.

Once you get into the game, the first weapon you are given is a shield. You can use this to repel enemies. To activate this, you need to hold down R or ZR.

Screen shot of Link using shield

Later on in the game you will be given a sword; you press the B button to use this. To use this at the same time as the shield you need to hold down R or ZR at the same time as pressing B to use your sword. You can use your sword separately from your shield and vice versa. It is useful to be able to block enemies with your shield while fighting them as this can help reduce the damage you take.

Screen shot of items menu.

As you progress through the game you will acquire different items and weapons. To equip these, you need to go into your Items menu by pressing +. Use your left joystick to move over the Item you want and press X or Y to assign the weapon to that button. You will need different Items for different challenges within the game. Some of these Items you will acquire through the game story. Some Items you can buy (bow and arrows, bombs) or acquire through side quests (boomerang).

If you have any questions about the settings or how to customise the set-up for your needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact Us page.