This chapter covers the Nintendo Switch version of Link’s Awakening. If you are playing the Game Boy Color version, check out the Tail Cave Walkthrough.

1.1 Sword and Shield

Once Link awakens head over and speak with Tarin, the man on the right side of the room, who will return your shield. Exit Marin’s house and head left along the path. Follow the pathway southwest, leaping off the ledges until you arrive at the Toronbo Shores. Walk to the east and you’ll find some spiky enemies known as Sea Urchin. Use your shield and walk into them to push them away.

Along the shoreline Link will find his sword and, as he draws near, he will be interrupted by an Owl. The Owl will serve as a navigator along Link’s quest, regularly appearing to advise Link on where to go and the secrets of the island. If you want to remember any of your conversations with him, you can open your map and review your memories. The Owl then tells you to travel north to the Mysterious Forest where he will meet you again. Hoot!

“Hoot! Hoot! So you are the lad who owns the Sword… Now I understand why the monsters are starting to act so violently… A courageous lad has come to wake the Wind Fish. It is said that you cannot leave the island unless you wake the Wind Fish… You should now go north, to the Mysterious Forest. I will wait for you there! Hoot!”

Grab your sword to the tune of some awesome music which triggers the classic Legend of Zelda theme. With your trusty sword in hand, walk all the way back to Mabe Village.

Optional: Piece of Heart #1

There is a small well found at the west end of town. Cut down the bushes and jump down into the well to find a Piece of Heart!

1.2 Mysterious Forest

~ Mysterious Forest ~

Once you enter the Mysterious Forest you will once again be confronted by the Owl, who will tell you some more about Koholint Island. The Owl gives you a message to a find a key that will allow us to enter Tail Cave. After he flies away, head up and you’ll encounter some enemy Moblins. Defeat them with a few sword slashes. Continue through the forest to the right and enter the Cave.

Inside the cave, defeat the enemy Keese and slash away at the crystals in the room. Push the stone that is in front of the treasure chest and then open it to get a Purple Rupee, worth 50 Rupees.

Continue north and then west through the cave and you’ll find a heart piece. Unfortunately we cannot reach it just yet, but you will be returning at a later point to pick this piece up. Push some of the blocks out of your path and exit the cave to the south.

Back outside, defeat the shielded moblin (an easy way is to let it hit your shield, then counterattack) and walk over to collect the Toadstool. Go back into the cave and move the stone blocks again. Make your way through the next two screens and exit the cave. Back outside once again, this time head all the way up north and then east to exit the Mysterious Forest.

~ Witch’s Hut ~

Once you arrive at the Koholint Prairie, you’ll see another piece of heart on this screen, but we cannot reach this one yet either. Continue along the path heading down and to the right to find the Witch’s Hut.

Speak with the Witch and Link will automatically give her the Toadstool. After some mixing, she’ll give you some Magic Powder. Magic Powder can be used to light torches, but also can be used as a weapon against most enemies. Exit the hut and return to the Mysterious Forest.

Once you are back in the forest, make your way back to the Moblins we fought when we first entered the forest. From there, head north and you’ll find an area with a raccoon. Simply sprinkle some Magic Powder on the raccoon to discover that it actually is Tarin! After some small talk, go up and open the chest to get the Tail Key! You’ll then be joined once again by our good old friend, the Owl.

The Owl instructs you to take the key and travel to the Tail Cave, where you will find one of the Instruments needed to wake the Wind Fish. Exit the Mysterious Forest and return to Mabe Village.

1.3 Quests in Mabe Village

~ A Collecting Spree ~

There’s plenty to do in Mabe Village at the moment and the majority of this is optional. However, Link can begin the Trading Sequence. This is where Link will acquire specific items and then trade them to various characters that he meets. Most of the trading sequence is eventually required, so it’s a good idea to get these goodies now.

At the southeast part of Mabe Village you’ll find a building which holds the Trendy Game. It costs 10 rupees to play and is a traditional crane game. Link can control the two buttons (but can only press each button one time) and the goal is to position the crane right above the items he is trying to get. When it is released, the crane will drop down and try to snag the item below. In the Nintendo Switch version, traditional crane game physics are introduced and it’s very easy for an item to slip out. There are two items that are stationary on the shelf, a Yoshi Doll and a Piece of Heart. You definitely need the Yoshi Doll, but it is a good idea to get the Piece of Heart as well.

Trading Sequence Item #1 - Yoshi Doll

Play the Trendy Game at the southeast corner of Mabe Village for 10 rupees. Position the crane right over the Yoshi Doll and snag it.

Optional: Piece of Heart #2

Play the Trendy Game at the southeast corner of Mabe Village for 10 rupees. Position the crane right over the Piece of Heart and grab it.

After acquiring the Yoshi Doll and Piece of Heart, Link can leave the Trendy Game and re-enter to find some new items have been stocked, including a Secret Seashell and a CiaoCiao Figure. Figures are a new feature added in the Switch version, and are available from the Trendy Game. After collecting a figure, place it at the correct pedestal in one of the houses in Mabe Village in order to help decorate the place. You can examine the figure after you place it for a little more info about it. Once you have placed a figure, the next figure will be available in the Trendy Game, although you may need to progress through the story first. To get all the figures, you will need to beat the game and watch the ending.

Secret Seashell #1 - Mabe Village

Just north of the Trendy Game, there is a small 6×6 patch of small bushes. Slash them down and you’ll find a Secret Seashell hidden underneath one of them.

Secret Seashell #2 - Mabe Village

After playing the Trendy Game and acquiring the Piece of Heart and Yoshi Doll, leave the game and re-enter and new items will appear, including a Secret Seashell. Play again to win it.

CiaoCiao Figure

After playing the Trendy Game and acquiring the Piece of Heart and Yoshi Doll, leave the game and re-enter and new items will appear, including a CiaoCiao Figure. This can be placed on the table at Madam MeowMeow’s house.

At the north end of Mabe Village, there is a large house with two entrances. Go inside and speak with Mamasha, the woman who is holding a young baby. She will ask if you’ll give her the Yoshi Doll and in return, will give you the Ribbon.

Trading Sequence Item #2 - Ribbon

Give the Yoshi Doll to Mamasha, located in the large house at the north end of Mabe Village. In return, she will give Link the Ribbon.

Near the center of town, Link will find a house with a chain chomp right in front. Enter the building using the door on the right to meet CiaoCiao, a tiny chain chomp. She will want your Ribbon and in exchange, will give Link the Dog Food. If you got the CiaoCiao figurine from the Trendy Game, enter the building using the door on the left and place the figurine on the pedestal on the table.

Trading Sequence Item #3 - Dog Food

Near the center of town next to the large chain chomp, enter the door on the right side. Give the Ribbon to CiaoCiao and in return, she will give Link the Dog Food.

At the northwest portion of Mabe Village, Link will find a small fishing pond with a Fisherman. Speak with the Fisherman and Link can go fishing for 10 rupees. Hold ‘A’ to have Link charge his cast, and then release it to cast the line. To help position the lure, you can use the joystick to wiggle it in any direction. Once a fish has grabbed on, tap A as fast as possible to reel it in. When the fish starts to pull away, stop tapping for a moment, to allow the fish a little slack. Then pull it back again by tapping ‘A’ as fast as you can. There is a little leeway between when the fish starts and stops pulling away where you can get some extra tapping in, especially on larger fish, but if you’re too greedy, the fish will get away. Continue to tap and release until Link has caught the fish.

Optional: Piece of Heart #3

Play the Fishing Game at the northwest corner of Mabe Village for 10 rupees. Catch a regular size fish (yellow) and Link will be awarded with a Piece of Heart.

Optional: Piece of Heart #4

Play the Fishing Game at the northwest corner of Mabe Village for 10 rupees. Catch a “lunker” (green) and Link will be awarded with another Piece of Heart.

Optional: Middleweight Lure

While fishing, if Link catches a “lunker” (green fish), Link will be awarded with a Middleweight Lure. This will allow Link to catch fish that are deeper down in the pond.

Optional: Fairy Bottle #1

At the very bottom-left of the Fishing Pond, there is a Fairy Bottle just sitting there. Position the fishing line over the bottle and press A to hook it. However, as you’re reeling it in, if you hit any fish along the way, you will lose it, so it is a good idea to clear some of the fish in the pond first, before going after the bottle.

You can equip this bottle to X or Y to swing it and attempt to catch a Fairy if you spot one. However, unlike other games in the Zelda franchise, if you die, the Fairy will not automatically come out and save you. You must use the Fairy manually.

While it is a bit out of the way, if Link returns to the Toronbo Shores, he will find a single house here with an Alligator named Sale. Link can trade him the Dog Food that he got from the CiaoCiao. In exchange, Sale will give Link the Bananas. Since this will be required later, it’s good to go ahead and get it now.

Trading Sequence Item #4 - Bananas

Give the Dog Food to Sale, located in the lone house at the Toronbo Shores. In return, he will give Link the Bananas.

1.4 Tail Cave

To reach Tail Cave, exit Mabe Village to the south and then immediately follow the path heading eastward. Place the Tail Key into the lock to open the entrance to the dungeon.

Tail Cave is without a doubt the easiest dungeon in the game. It consists of weak enemies, easy puzzles, and is the smallest of all the dungeons. From the dungeon entrance, head to the screen to the left. The new enemies here are known as Hardhat Beetles and you cannot damage them. Instead, the only way to defeat them is to hit them away with your sword, knocking them off the ledge into the abyss. Once both of them have been done away with, grab the Small Key and head left a screen.

Beware of the torches in this room as they’ll occasionally shoot out fireballs towards you. Defeat the four Green Zols and then open the treasure chest to get the Compass. The Compass shows the locations of all the treasure chests, as well as the room with the dungeon boss when you take a look at the map. Additionally, whenever you are near a key, you’ll hear a short jingle, and the Compass icon will flash at the top right of your screen. With the compass in hand, go back to the first room of the dungeon.

Go up a screen and defeat hardhat beetle and gel that are walking around. Step on the switch in the center of the room and a treasure chest will appear. Open up the treasure chest to get a Small Key, and then head right a screen.

The two Stalfos in this room will jump away when you try to slash at them. Corner them and deliver two sword slashes to defeat them. Defeat the two keese as well to make a treasure chest appear. Open it up to get the Dungeon Map. Go up a screen through the one-way door.

At this point you can take a quick optional detour to get this dungeon’s Stone Beak.

Tail Cave's Stone Beak

Defeat the enemies in this room and then head through the locked door to the right.

Avoid the Sparks in this room and then head up a screen. The strange looking enemies here are conveniently known as Three-of-a-Kind. They rotate through the four suits (heart, diamond, spade, or club) and stop when you hit them. You need to strike them so all three match. Keep an eye on the rotation so you know when the suit you need is next. Once you’ve slashed all three of them to make them match, a treasure chest will appear. Open it up to get the Stone Beak.

Whenever you see an Owl Statue within a dungeon, you can walk up to it with the stone beak from that dungeon to get a hint. There is an owl statue in this room, and if you speak to it, it will give you a hint of having to use a shield to turn over the spine creatures. We’ll be using this information in just a bit. To return to where we started this detour, head down a screen, and then to the left.

~ Finding Roc’s Feather ~

Continue to the left and there is a Mini-Moldorm crawling around the ground here. Defeat it with a few sword slashes while trying to avoid getting hit by the sparks. Once it has been defeated carefully open up the treasure chest in this room to get another small key, and then continue to the left.

Defeat the Mini Moldorm here and a chest with 20 rupees will appear. You might notice there is a crack in the wall on the left side of the room. We need Bombs in order to access this room, and we won’t be getting those until later in the game. Thus, we will be returning to this dungeon even after we complete it. Go up a bit and be sure to avoid the Blade Trap by pushing the block up one square. Use the Small Key we just got and go through the locked door.

Go right and maneuver through the blocks, trying to avoid the sparks and defeating the Gels. Walk back to the left along the top part of the screen and you’ll find another spark. There is also an owl statue here and if you talk to it (if you got the Stone Beak earlier), it gives you a hint on what you need to do. Push the block that’s by itself on the left over to the right and the door will open up, so head through it.

There is another owl statue here, but (if you got the Stone Beak) it tells you the same thing the first one did…use the shield to flip over these Spiked Beetles. Pull out your shield and hold it out so that the spiked beetles will run into you. The shield will cause these enemies to flip over, allowing you to defeat them easily with your sword. Once both of the beetles have been defeated, a staircase will appear, so let’s head down.

In this side scrolling area, you’ll find some…Goombas? Yes indeed, apparently these foes have made their way from the Super Mario Bros series into the Zelda franchise. Slash at them with your sword or fall on top of them from a higher ledge to defeat them. Whenever you land on their head, they will always leave a recovery heart, so keep that in mind for the future. Continue one screen to the left, defeating another Goomba before climbing the stairs.

Walk up two screens, avoiding the blade traps that will try to squish you. Open the treasure chest here to find the dungeon item, Roc’s Feather! This feather will allow Link to jump! You can use this to jump over pits, reach floating items, jump on top of enemies, or to evade enemy attacks. Go back down a screen and you can now use Roc’s Feather to reach the floating recovery heart. Go down a screen and backtrack through the side-scrolling area with the Goombas.

~ Finding the Nightmare Key ~

Continue backtracking right a screen, and then down by jumping over the pit here with Roc’s Feather. Continue to the right and then up, where you will find a block with a keyhole. Use a Small Key on the locked block here and then walk left. Open the treasure chest found here to get the Nightmare Key. This is the key that will allow you to enter the boss room of the dungeon.

We are now ready to move deeper into the Tail Cave and we want to make our way to the far east part of the dungeon. Make your way through the door to the southeast and we are now in a room with multiple sparks. (If you took the detour earlier, you’ve been in this room before.) Jump over the gap on the right side with Roc’s Feather and head right to take on the dungeon mini-boss, Rolling Bones.

Rolling Bones has a huge spiked log that he will roll across the room. After rolling the log, he’ll jump over to the other side of the room and will roll it back once again. All you have to do is use Roc’s Feather to jump over the rolling log and slash away with your sword. If you notice, Rolling Bones always jumps in the same diagonal pattern, so use that to your advantage in planning your attack. Once you’ve hit him eight times with your sword, he will be defeated, leaving behind a fairy. Additionally, a warp portal will appear and if you step into it, it will take you back to the entrance of the dungeon. Likewise, you can now reach the mini-boss room easily through the portal at the entrance of the dungeon. Once you have recovered your hearts with the fairy (or put it in a bottle), head up a screen.

There is a staircase here, but the only thing down there is three recovery hearts. Instead, we are now ready to take on the dungeon boss, Moldorm. Avoid the blade traps and head through the locked door.

Moldorm will crawl around the room and try to harm Link. Each time Moldorm makes contact with Link, it will bump you away and deal damage. Moldorm’s weakness is its glowing tail, which you must strike four times with your sword in order to defeat him. However, each time you hit Moldorm’s tail, he will swiftly move across the room, trying to knock you down. After hitting his tail, he will hide the orb in a small flower bulb momentarily.

Try to stay away from the cracked floor tiles and the corners of the room. If you fall down, you will have to climb back up and start the battle over. You can use Roc’s Feather to jump over him when he’s near, or block him with your shield. When you have an open shot at its tail, swing away with your sword to hurt him. Repeat this method until he has been defeated.

After defeating the Boss, pick up the Heart Container that is left behind. Walk up a screen and collect the first Instrument of the Siren, the Full Moon Cello.

“…SWAMP… A path opens…in the blooms…”