It's a new mechanic (likely one of several) that never felt forced in my ascent up a seven-story tower, and pushed me to think differently about the rigid environment. Merging almost felt like cheating at first, as if bypassing chasms and enemies by simply disappearing into the wall and shuffling away was an irregular act. But within this dungeon I was encouraged to use Link's thin visage to advance.
The architecture of this desert tower offered plenty of flat surfaces for Link to traverse in flat form. A moving platform helped me realize that Link's abilities also function on non-stationary areas. Unless enemies figure out how to give chase in 2D, Link now has a safe way to bypass combat.
He can't spend an eternity on a wall, though, because a magic meter dwindles as Link merges or uses special weapons like the mallet or bow. Unlike A Link to the Past, this magic meter regenerates on its own without the need for magic jars. It's limited, but not to the extent where you can never escape into some brick and mortar when things get hairy.
Beyond Link's new ability, much of the new Legend of Zelda felt familiar. I fought Stalfos (skeletons), Hardhat Beetles and Mini-Moldorms (caterpillar monsters) left and right. Eventually, I opened the way to a boss fight against a giant Moldorm on top of the tower – and it went down about the same way as last time.
Those elements are timeless, but you would expect nothing less from a sequel to A Link to the PastThe problem Nintendo will wrestle with, while it finalizes the game's North American title, is that we will expect so much more.