Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution review: It's time to duel!

Nintendo Switch and Yu-Gi-Oh cards
(Image: © iMore)

Back in my middle and high school days, I was big on all the trading card games. I collected Pokémon cards, I was interested in Magic: the Gathering (though it felt a bit too strategic at the time for me), but I loved everything Yu-Gi-Oh! From the anime series to the trading card game to video games of the card game, Yu-Gi-Oh! was totally my jam back then. In fact, I even gained a reputation at my high school for being one of the good female Yu-Gi-Oh! players way back in the early 2000s.

Back then, the game was pretty simple and straightforward, even the video games. But as years passed, I grew out of it and fell behind in all of the new mechanics that were added over the years. I tried to get back into the actual card game, but the meta these days is completely different from the game I used to know. Plus, it's a rather expensive hobby (all card games are). I dropped off again, but once I heard that Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution was coming to the Nintendo Switch, I knew it was time to get back into it. Plus, with all the cards available digitally in a game, I'd be saving money in the long run, too (and not getting my butt kicked in card shop tournaments over the weekend).

Whether you're a long-time fan, a current player, or just a veteran of the game, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is a great time to jump in on the Yu-Gi-Oh! train.


  • Tons of content spanning multiple Yu-Gi-Oh! series
  • Over 9000 cards for deck building
  • Local and online multiplayer
  • Helpful tutorials cover more complex game mechanics
  • Physical copy comes with three collectible cards
  • No microtransactions


  • Can't skip tutorials for the first duel in each series
  • Can't change your mind about an action once you make it
  • Need to unlock cards you want for specific decks
  • You'll get many duplicates

Reliving my childhood like a boss!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

As someone who only recently tried to get back into Yu-Gi-Oh!, this game came at a perfect time. It's allowing me to relive my childhood glory days, and since it also adds in all of the new mechanics, I can easily learn them step-by-step without being overwhelmed. I've bought real cards and tried to make new decks with popular metas, but even with friends who tried to explain the new rules to me, I found it quite confusing. Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution changes all of that.

I grew up with the original series, so I'm glad that the original series' characters and cards are still in the game. With the single-player campaign, you relive iconic duels from each series, so for me, it's just going through the arcs of Duelist Kingdom, Battle City, and more fond memories. However, the game has five full campaigns, from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series to Arc-V. There is also VRAINS, but it's not a full campaign yet since it only has three missions and a single booster pack.

Regardless of the series that you pick, the first duel in each one is pretty much a tutorial that gets you familiarized with the game mechanics and archetype from that era. This is especially helpful in the later series, when Synchro, Pendulum, Xyz, and Link Monsters are introduced. Again, learning these mechanics in real life may be overwhelming, but since the game takes you through each one step-by-step, it's fairly manageable and a good way to learn how things work. Make sure to follow the instructions to the tee, though, otherwise, you may find yourself having to restart the duel because you didn't follow the script.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

For the campaign, each duel features iconic characters who face off against each other. You can get an idea with the silhouettes, but once you beat it, the characters are revealed in the level selection if you want to replay it. You can also use the Story Deck (pre-made based on the character you're playing as), or you can use custom decks or other pre-set decks.

Once you beat a foe, you earn rewards, which include Duel Points (DP), character deck recipes, signature cards, unlocked booster packs, duelist avatars, and more. The DP is probably the most important, as you need it to purchase booster cards and unlock more cards for building custom decks.

If you prefer to play against others, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution has both local and online play. The local multiplayer requires the other person to have a copy of the game, and online will require an active Nintendo Switch Online account, of course.

To replicate a sealed tournament kind of play mode, there are Sealed and Draft Play modes, too. Sealed is where your deck is made instantly from 10 five-card Battle Packs, so it's all in the luck of the draw. Draft involves drafting 45 cards into a deck after three rounds of pack opening, giving you a bit more customization. Both of these cost 2000 DP to play.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

The flow of each duel is very streamlined and easy-to-follow, even with all of the mechanics involved. In fact, the game clearly distinguishes who's turn it is, and there are always prompts after each move is made to ask if you want to activate a card or effect in response to the opponent's actions or as the phases progress. This is what I like most about the game because it will remind me to check my cards to see if I have a response to the opponent. I often forget that in real life duels.

Since Yu-Gi-Oh! is all about deck building, the entire process is pretty nice in the game. While you can go with some pre-made deck recipes, the real fun in the game is creating your own themed deck once you pull a nice collection of cards from booster packs with DP. All cards are in your Trunk, sorted alphabetically, and you can add cards to your deck in a few button presses.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

Decks require a minimum of 40 cards to be playable, and it maxes out at 60. So while you could play with a deck of 100 cards in real life, the game limits you to 60 max. This also helps you get the right cards you need in a duel and generally speeds things up.

The best part about deck building in Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is the fact that it makes it easy to make a deck that revolves around a certain theme. Just find the card you want to build a deck around, such as "Red Eyes Black Dragon," and you can tell the game to show you all cards that are related to that card. This makes it easy to see what you have so far for that theme and just throw it in there. Then, you can just go back to your Trunk and put in staple cards, such as "Mirror Force," "Raigeki," and whatever other generally good cards to have in any deck.

There are plenty of empty deck slots that you can use for custom decks, and with over 9000 total cards to unlock and use, there's a lot of room to experiment with here.

Duplicates add nothing to the game

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

DP is essential in this game, and it's not hard to earn it. Just duel in the campaign and special modes, and you'll get some, even if you forfeit (consolidation prize). If you're going to build your dream deck, you'll need lots of it.

I spent a good few hours grinding for DP and, once I unlocked the Joey Wheeler booster pack, began to spend all of my DP on these packs. I've been wanting to build a Red Eyes Black Dragon deck for a while, and this is where most of those cards come from (since REBD is Joey's signature monster), so I proceeded to spend my DP to build my own deck early.

I noticed that after getting most of the "big" cards for it, I was getting a lot of dupes for the more common cards. I would never need so many, as you can have a max of three copies of a card in a deck at any given time (unless it's Restricted at one copy or Limited at two, clearly indicated when deckbuilding). Unfortunately, there is no benefit in getting dupes, as you can't sell them back for more DP, and you can't even trade them. A million copies of a card can just live in your trunk, with most of them doing nothing but collecting virtual dust. I wish that you could just get rid of cards you have too many of or just don't want.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

Another thing I noticed is that once you make a decision, such as summoning a monster in Attack position, you can't backtrack. This has resulted in some poor moves on my part, so I recommend carefully thinking about your move before committing.

Even if you already know how a mechanic works, you can't skip the tutorial lesson at the start of each campaign — I've tried to make my own moves, and I ended up getting stuck because the game wouldn't let me advance without doing the scripted move, but I wasn't able to do it due to the fact that I pressed something else. As a result, I just ended up restarting that duel and following the script.

And finally, even if you just want to replicate your real-life deck in the game, you can't do that until you unlock the cards in the game. So that Dark Magician deck I have in real life? I'll need to grind and acquire all of those cards again before I can build and use it here. It's expected, but a bit tedious.

It's time to duel on-the-go!

Overall, I'm very glad that Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is finally available on the Nintendo Switch, even if it is just a revamped version of the original Legacy of the Duelist that is out on PS4 and Xbox One from 2015, just with more content. To me, Yu-Gi-Oh! games were always best on portable consoles (Game Boy Advance and the like), so having this on the Switch is perfect. And the amount of content that is available in this game means I'll be staying entertained for months, if not more.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.