Nintendo’s Zelda Game & Watch is so much better than the Mario one

With four Zelda games and interactive clock features, the new Zelda Game & Watch looks to be a far better handheld and value than the Mario version released last year.

To celebrate The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary, Nintendo announced a new Zelda-themed Game & Watch among other Zelda news. The long-awaited trailer for Breath of the Wild was finally unveiled, with updates for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword also making appearances as part of the celebration.

The new Game & Watch, coming November 12, is a collection of Zelda games, which include the original The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and the quirky Game Boy classic, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Similar to last year’s Game & Watch, Nintendo has added a re-skinned version of a Game & Watch game, this time with Link replacing the character in Vermin.

The Game & Watch also has a clock feature, which in this case has been made playable. The clock is modeled after The Legend of Zelda, and users can move around and defeat enemies just like in the game. There appears to be a timer feature that is also interactive, except it’s made to look like Zelda II The Adventure of Link. The Mario Game & Watch has an interactive clock, but pressing the A or B button only adds enemies to the clock. It isn’t possible to move Mario around the way you can control Link.

Another way to tell time? Sure, why not.Nintendo

Not exactly a Switch Pro... — The updated handheld is virtually the same as the previous Mario version, except for the green trim and the addition of the Start and Select buttons. While the Mario Game & Watch was a welcome surprise last year, its single game quickly gets old, and after a few days, the fun is basically over. As a collectible, it looks nice on my bookshelf, and I’ll occasionally pick it up a few times, but there’s not a whole lot of replay value.

What gets me excited about the Zelda Game & Watch is that I’ve never played the original Zelda or Zelda II. I have played the Link’s Awakening remaster from 2019, but I’ve wanted to dive into the original Game Boy version for some time. As someone who jumped on the Zelda bandwagon when BOTW came out, catching up on 30 years worth of games has not been easy, but this new handheld seems to be a good way to dive in.

Nice packaging!Nintendo

Is it November yet? — While not the Switch Pro announcement we all wanted, the new Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda is already several times better than the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. version that came out last year. The handheld releases this fall on November 12 for $49.99, and I’m counting down the seconds with my Mario Game & Watch. (I guess it is good for something after all!) I just hope that Nintendo doesn’t make the same mistake this time by doing a limited-time release.

It’s also a shame these Game & Watch handhelds aren’t hackable since there’s no storage for adding extra games.