Spoilers: Buy this game.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is more than just a love letter to all fans of A Link to the Past. This 3DS game is a warm embrace of the game from the early 1990's, and you'll find one that's hard to let go. Nostalgia exudes everywhere as you battle over familiar territory, except things are ever so slightly different.
A Return to the Past...Sorta
While the overhead map is very, very, VERY familiar, it's still quite new to any veteran players. And, in a way, Nintendo's preservation of the map subtly suggests that the whole SNES world is canon to the story. (It may be, I'm not entirely sure...I'm still in the early part of the game)
But the one thing you notice almost immediately is the freedom of movement. No more 8-directional restricted movement, no more making awkward throws diagonally to hit enemies. However, when you're using a bow, you're still locked into the 8-directional format, so I guess it depends on the item.
Even the land's layout has upgraded from its rigid grid layout to something more natural flow, with rocks and grass laid out haphazardly across the land. Mind you, the grid format is still somewhat apparent, but only to emphasize its roots.
Playing the Game
No, seriously...I was just playing the game just now. The game is so good, it warrants me to actually blog the act of gaming after the fact.
Playing in 3D
The 3D fad has faded out from Nintendo's bag of tricks since its birth. Many games now use it as a timid excuse for you to flip the switch once, go "ooooo," and then turn it off. Not this game, though. I've faithfully left it on since I started playing it, and I don't regret it at all. The depth it gives in each dungeon is simple but staggering. The most dramatic experience I've had was in a nearly-bottomless cavern with largely-spaced square platforms hovering at different levels. Congratulations, Nintendo...you've successfully induced vertigo on me through a game.
Playing in Transit
It's a good thing that save points are quite liberal in this game. With my commute times lasting about 45 minutes each leg, you'd think that's plenty of time to complete one dungeon. In fact, it's probably good enough to comfortably explore half a dungeon in that span. Which leads me to the second thing I enjoy about the game - the green portal within dungeons. Usually appearing halfway through a dungeon, the green portals allow a quick transport to the dungeon entrance, should you feel like saving your game before proceeding on. It's a minor thing that really does not disrupt gameplay, but contributes greatly to those who have short moments to play the game.
If' you're still reading this, stop. Go out there, buy the game, and play it.