Instead of using the iconic Lego minifigure, as many brickbuilt stop-motion animation projects do, the good Baron has created his own assortment of stylized puppets. With mouths that open and close and expressive eyebrows, they add character and depth to Lego people.
They look a little creepy, sure. And when you think about it, the Kakariko’s cereal, which are named after a village that’s appeared in several Legend of Zelda games, is made out of the same material as Link and crew. He’s sort of… eating himself.
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This is Hamako Mori. At 89, she’s not new to video games. She has been playing them for nearly four decades.
In an interview with GameSpark, the Tokyo native says the first console she played was the Cassette Vision, which was released in 1981. After that, she was into the Famicom and played The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest. She continued gaming through the years that followed.
For the past few years, Mori has been uploading clips to YouTube. Previously, Mori had watched other Let’s Plays and decided to start uploading her own clips.
“The graphics for the recent games are truly amazing,” she said. “I think it’s truly wonderful to have lived this long.”
“As you get older, I recommend single-player games over multiplayer,” she said. “Inevitably, if you’re on the battlefield with younger players, you’ll slow them down… But, I think as the number of elderly players increases, there will be dedicated servers where that won’t be a concern.”
The gaming granny is looking forward to the next Grand Theft Auto and Elder Scrolls.
“If you play video games, you don’t get dementia,” she told GameSpark, adding that her biggest piece of advice is to start playing video games when you’re young.
“If you are into fashion or playing sports, there comes a time when you cannot continue those hobbies.” The same isn’t true for games, Mori believes. “Even as you get older, it’s wonderful to keep gaming.”
While this animation video looks exactly like something Blizzard would release, as part of some dream Zelda x Overwatch crossover event for the upcoming Switch version, it’s amazingly/sadly just the work of some fans instead.
After recently completing a run of Breath of the Wild making use of only bombs and shields, PointCrow went one better over the weekend and finished the game, Calamity Ganon and all, using only shields.
It took around 27 hours in total for him to scrape around the map and get it done, including a final battle that took three hours. Not to mention the couple of months spent before the run spent exploring and working out how to beat certain challenges and overcome certain parts of the game without weapons.
Here’s an abridged version of the run. The Ganon battles are a particular highlight, seeing the weird and wonderful ways PointCrow was able to work out ways to deal damage using… well, only Ganon’s own attacks.
The best feeling you can possibly feel while playing a video game is the act of swinging a sword in Zelda. I came to this conclusion recently, while playing the new remake of Link’s Awakening and trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me love Zelda games so much. The answer, I think, is the way Link swings his sword.
Is there anything more delightful, more palpably satisfying? The developers at Nintendo have always understood that a video game is only as good as its verbs—its actions—and they’ve always endeavored to make those actions induce as much joy as possible. Over the course of this playthrough of Link’s Awakening, I swung that sword thousands of times, and it never failed to bring me a jolt of happiness as it connected. Look at the way the blade cuts through the air, leaving an arc that almost looks like lightning. Watch how that poor Moblin staggers and flashes a satisfying shade of red. You can’t hear it in a gif, but it sounds delicious, too—an empty whiff when you miss, but a satisfying crunch when you hit. If you told me I could only perform one video game action for the rest of my life, Link’s sword swinging would at least be in the top three. Link’s jumping—not common in Zelda games, but brilliant in Link’s Awakening—might be up there, too.
You know what? Everything you can do in this game feels pretty damn good.
This remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, out for Switch on Friday, is a near 1:1 recreation of the 1993 Game Boy game. At the time of its original release, Link’s Awakening was just the fourth game in the Zelda series, a line of games in which you, as a floppy-capped, pointy-eared boy named Link, solve puzzles, fight monsters, and save princesses. Link’s Awakening was a strange game but a wonderful one, and people still rank it among the best entries in a series full of excellent games. Its music, dungeon design, and light but melancholy story have always made it stand out.
Many people coming to this remake will know of it already and want to know how it’s different. Its structure has not changed, but its aesthetics and the conveniences it affords players have.
For the remake, the developers at Grezzo and Nintendo have re-designed every screen in the world, replacing the old sprites with beautiful painted 3D tableaus that make it feel like you’re looking down on a toy set. The old MIDI soundtrack has transformed into a flowing orchestra, full of woodwinds and choruses. The characters and puzzles remain untouched, but they look very different.
There are a few other key differences between the original and this remake. First and foremost, you no longer have to waste time juggling items. Every Zelda game gives you a stable of go-to gadgets for fighting monsters and solving puzzles, so it’s helpful when you can access as many as possible at once. The Game Boy version of Link’s Awakening was limited by the system’s two action buttons, A and B, and you had to go into the menu and assign an item to one of those buttons every time you wanted to use it. This included the sword, shield, and even the Power Bracelet, an item that let you pick up rocks, bottles, and other heavy objects. If you wanted to, say, lift a rock and throw it at an enemy, you’d need to open your inventory, select the Power Bracelet, swap it in with one of your equipped items, and then press that button next to the rock. It wasn’t hard to get used to this system, but it was tedious.
Fortunately, the Switch has a lot more buttons than the Game Boy, and the designers of the Link’s Awakening remake have taken advantage. Your sword and shield now have dedicated buttons, as do the Pegasus Boots, an item you’ll get early in the game that lets Link dash at super-speed. You no longer have to equip the Power Bracelet to pick up rocks. You just have to own it. These changes might sound minor, but they make a huge difference, and this version of Link’s Awakening feels like it belongs in 2019.
The other big difference is the addition of a side feature—Chamber Dungeons—which is boring and tedious. It’s an optional mode in which you can take rooms from dungeons you’ve already beaten and rearrange them using layouts provided by the Zelda stalwart Dampé the gravedigger. Unless you enjoy playing through the same rooms over and over again, it’s just a big waste of time. (Read more about Chamber Dungeons here.)
There are a handful of smaller tweaks, too. You can save and then re-load the game from anywhere. You can catch fairies in bottles. The fast travel warp points are more frequent and easier to use. Unlike the Game Boy version, Link’s Awakening on Switch has a few notable framerate issues. While walking around the overworld—which, rather than a grid of single-screen rooms, is now a continuous map—I ran into some choppiness. (I played the game entirely in handheld mode.)
What hasn’t changed is everything that made Link’s Awakening work so well in 1993, all of which holds up today: the locations, the puzzles, and most importantly, the moment-to-moment satisfaction of smacking slimes in the face with a boomerang.
Some quick history. Back in 1987, The Legend of Zelda blew people away with its promise of what an open-world video game could look like. It encouraged exploration and instilled a feeling of adventure unlike anything we’d seen on the NES before, but it was very shallow, like a blueprint for what Zelda could look like in the future. Its sequel, the black sheep Zelda II: Adventure of Link, experimented with sidescrolling action to mixed results. It wasn’t until 1991 that the Zelda formula first emerged with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the game that established conventions that would be used for many years to come.
Like the original Zelda, Link to the Past dropped you into an open world with little but your wits and the sword in your hand, but unlike the first game’s flat layouts and simple topography, Link to the Past was dense. Different areas of the world had different themes, almost personalities, like the swampy Misery Mire and the chilly Kakariko Village. Rather than ask you to walk through a series of indistinguishable flat maps as the NES game did, Link to the Past was full of elaborate mazes and tangled designs. The world bulged with secrets, and around every corner you’d find a hidden chest or cracked wall to blow up. Your options would be limited to a few areas at first, and over time, as you acquired more items—the Power Gloves, the flippers, the hookshot—you’d be able to access more and more of the world. Backtracking to old areas would reward you with cool stuff, like item upgrades and pieces of heart.
Link’s Awakening started off as an experiment to remake the Link to the Past on the Game Boy, according to an interview with the game’s original developers. Soon it had evolved into something much weirder. Taking influences from sources ranging from Mario to Twin Peaks, the developers filled their world with quirky characters and a variety of locations: magically enhanced forests, cactus-infested deserts, mazes full of bushes and deadly holes.
The game starts off at some indeterminate point in Link’s life. Our hero is sailing through a nasty storm when suddenly everything goes dark. He winds up on a beach, where he’s rescued and taken to safety by a girl named Marin who has a beautiful voice and a magnetic appeal to cute animals, like a chibi Disney princess. Turns out that Link is on a mysterious island called Koholint that’s full of strange people, talking animals, and a whole lot of references to Nintendo’s Super Mario series. A talking owl sends Link on a mission to go wake up the Wind Fish, a godlike creature who lives in a giant egg in the center of the island. Soon he’s off on a journey to go find eight instruments in eight dungeons across the world.
Like Link to the Past’s Hyrule, the world of Link’s Awakening is dense and full of mysteries. It starts off feeling constrained, limiting you to a handful of areas thanks to obstacles like heavy rocks and bottomless pits. The more you play, the more you’ll break down those barriers. By the time you’ve hit your stride and explored enough of the map to see how it all fits together, you may appreciate its intricacy, as if you’ve just cracked open a mechanical watch and learned what makes it tick. In the Game Boy version, the world map was broken up into 256 screens, most of which had their own gimmicks or secrets. The Switch version links them together in one large world map. Both styles are appealing, but the latter is easier to get around, and it’s a delight to see how it all weaves together.
Link’s Awakening’s eight dungeons each follow a traditional pattern, blending puzzles with navigational challenges and obstacles that you’ll need that dungeon’s item to overcome. One puzzle might task you with killing three enemies in the right order; another might involve maneuvering a floating block until it fills every gap in the floor. None of these challenges or puzzles are particularly complicated. Usually they’re just subversive enough to stymie the first solution you think of, but the second will work. Still, completing them is usually satisfying, and the themes grow more interesting as you go. The seventh, Eagle’s Tower, has one of the more memorable gimmicks of any Zelda dungeon to date. The optional ninth Color Dungeon, added for the Game Boy Color version of the game in 1998 and retained for this Switch remake, is actually the weakest of them all, which may come as a disappointment to anyone who played the original and was hoping for something brand new.
And there is nothing brand new to the main adventure here. Link’s Awakening is a beautiful recreation of a legendary game, but it doesn’t have much to offer to players who already know the ins and outs of Koholint Island. For newcomers, or people who played Link’s Awakening two decades ago and can’t remember exactly how to finish the trading quest or track down that damn singing frog, this is a worthy remake and a must-play Zelda game.
You may recall that two years ago, Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an all-time great that revitalized the iconic series. The company’s latest Zelda game is so radically different that they basically feel like different genres, but when taken together, they help explain what makes The Legend of Zelda so special. On one end of the spectrum, there’s the vastness of a polished, beautiful open world full of strange places to explore; on the other, there’s the density of an island packed with secrets. If the two games have one thing in common, and offer one reason to keep playing Zelda all these years later, it’s this: They both make it feel pretty damn incredible to swing a sword.
After years of wishing and hoping, Nintendo finally added a selection of Super Nintendo games to its Switch online service. Which of the 20 classics should you play first? We had Kotaku’s resident old men, Chris Kohler and Mike Fahey, Statler and Waldorf together a ranked list.
20. Super Soccer
Chris Kohler: I played this for a minute.
Mike Fahey: Same. I played for a minute, got two fouls, felt very American.
Chris: The opposing team got the ball, started running it toward my goal, and I realized all too late that I had no idea what buttons did what.
Fahey: Which is exactly how real soccer works.
19. Super Tennis
Fahey: I do understand tennis. This is definitely tennis.
Chris: Yes. This one I got the ball over the net a couple times.
Fahey: I appreciate the use of Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 graphics to turn the court around once per match.
Chris: That’s a model of restraint.
18. Brawl Brothers
Chris: There are a lot of great side-scrolling beat-em-ups on the SNES. This is not one of them.
Fahey: It reminded me of several good ones, so much so that I had it higher in my list. Then I played it again.
Chris: It’s not much to look at, the controls are stiff… it doesn’t have the personality of a Final Fight. Where’s Final Fight? Oh, it’s on the Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle. Where’s Final Fight 2, then?
Fahey: In the hearts of little children everywhere.
17. Super E.D.F. Earth Defense Force
Fahey: Talk about a misleading title.
Chris: Yeah, if you were thinking this was going to be about killing giant ants, I have bad news.
Fahey: That a game could make me feel bad about a lack of spiders is an amazing feat.
Chris: It is a competent side-scrolling shooter. Again, though, not much personality.
Fahey: We’ll get to good games soon, I swear.
Chris: We’re there now!
Fahey: This is certainly a game that people love a great deal. I still love its look, if not its feel.
Chris: Yeah, F-Zero never really grabbed me. Not sure why.
Fahey: I liked the Gamecube version much better. Until the virtual console gets Gamecube games, we have this.
15. Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
Fahey: Here is a game I did not remember enjoying, but I’m having fun with it now. Maybe I’m growing up?
Chris: Maybe you appreciate the slow-paced leisurely island lifestyle more now that you’re a parent.
While the original was a straightforward port of the arcade game, this is a console exclusive with more adventurey elements. It’s fun although it’s not quite as exciting as the first one.
Fahey: Or dinosaurs. My kids love those dinosaurs. Either I am older and more mature or I am projecting. Either way, mildly better than those other four.
14. Stunt Race FX
Chris: I had never played this back in the day but I’m fascinated with how they pulled off a polygonal racer on the SNES.
Fahey: It was too slow for me back when it came out, and I was too shallow to appreciate the technical achievement. Now I gawk at it in wonder.
Chris: It has charm. The cars have eyes.
Fahey: Proper headlight eyes, none of this Pixar windshield eyes BS.
Chris: 10 FPS means you have time to appreciate each frame as it goes by.
13. Star Fox
Fahey: Is this the one with the furries?
Chris: ‘Tis. And I think again the personality of the characters and the design helps smooth over the fact that as an early polygonal game, it’s pretty choppy.
Fahey: I do love the characters. And I remember being blown away by what the Super FX chip could do. They basically installed an extra GPU inside the game cartridge. That’s amazing.
12. Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
Chris: They keep re-releasing this and I keep playing the first minute of it only to realize the only way I’m going to get past the first minute is to make mastering this game a second career.
Fahey: I just choked on a delicious beverage. This is another game that was much higher on my list until I played it. Still love the look and the terrain morphing.
Chris: Yeah, the music, the graphics, the tech is all so beautiful! It is an appealing game. And then everything about it is designed to murder you relentlessly. I’m too old for this.
Fahey: It will always be the fastest I’ve ever gotten naked. Can’t take that away.
Fahey: You’d think there’d be more non-sim games about casually flying. Aren’t we humans always dreaming about this stuff?
Chris: It’s just this side of being a glorified $60 tech demo for the SNES’ sprite rotating and scaling ability, and yet it’s still super fun. You’re right, the “casual flight” genre is not particularly robust.
Fahey: I am surprised we aren’t playing the latest Pilotwings game on our Switches right now. This will have to do.
10. Kirby’s Dream Land 3
Chris: I forgot to play this. This is good, right?
Fahey: As a fan of everything Kirby, it is indeed good. It’s still too early a game for Kirby to transform into different forms based on which powers he’s using, but the mechanics are all present and accounted for.
Chris: OK. I assumed.
Fahey: KIRBY FOR LIFE!
9. Demon’s Crest
Fahey: Look at us in the single digits, and with a Ghouls ‘n Ghosts spin-off no less.
Chris: It’s all the beautiful animation, art design, music, etc. from Ghouls ‘n Ghosts except you actually have a life bar and mobility and half a chance of winning. This is a very good action game with RPG elements.
Fahey: I remember peeing a little when the dragon peeked through the bars during the game’s opening sequence. In my defense, I was just a young boy of *checks release date* err, 21. Maybe I was drunk.
8. Super Puyo Puyo 2
Chris: It’s Puyo Puyo, which is a good thing.
Fahey: What I love most about Super Puyo Puyo, aside from its Puyo Puyo-ness, is it opens with an anti-AIDS message.
Chris: I saw that! That’s awesome. This particular edition is well-liked for having four-player support. At this point I’m sure you have four Switch controllers.
Fahey: And some of them work!
7. Breath of Fire
Fahey: It’s no Chrono Trigger. It’s none of the Final Fantasies. If I had to pick a turn-based Super Nintendo role-playing game that was not either of those, this would easily be fourth or fifth on my list.
Chris: And yet, where are the Chrono Triggers and Final Fantasies? Certainly not here. So it falls to plucky Breath of Fire to fill the void. I mean, it’s pretty good though.
Fahey: Oh yes, I will happily take Breath of Fire any day. Hell, it’s time for a new, non-free-to-play mobile sequel. I’m sure Capcom is totally on top of that.
6. Super Mario Kart
Chris: When I read the words “Super Mario Kart,” the soundtrack just starts playing in my head immediately.
Fahey: My trigger fingers starts me a-hopping. It’s like F-Zero for people with taste.
Chris: I wish it had four-player balloon battle mode, but I’ll just have to live without it.
Fahey: One day there will be a Mario Kart game with that mode, Chris. One day.
5. Kirby’s Dream Course
Fahey: Now we are talking. For all of the excellent platformers and free-to-play four-player Switch battle games out there, Kirby as a golf ball is the most charming Kirby of them all.
Chris: Oh man, this is still the best golf game ever. So clever. You know, a prototype of the unreleased pre-Kirby version of this, called Special Tee Shot, was just dumped. Would be cool if Nintendo put the final version of it on this service.
Fahey: Maybe they will include it in the modern version of Kirby’s Dream Course secretly being developed inside my head.
4. Super Mario World
Chris: I remember when this came out on the Wii U and it was like, ah, finally, a game to play on my Wii U.
Switch has a few more games though.
Fahey: A couple, yes.
This one was tough for me. I feel like Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario Land are constantly duking it out inside my head.
Chris: Yeah, this one is still a fantastic Mario game, but in the fullness of time you can see that it’s not quite as ambitious as Yoshi’s Island.
We’re splitting hairs at this point though.
Fahey: And spitting eggs.
3. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Fahey: In the battle between more Mario and something cool and new, cool and new won.
Chris: We’re deep into “masterpiece” territory now. Playing it again, you can see that the art design still looks fantastic. And that music!
Fahey: It’s ageless, like you.
Chris: Yoshi’s Island will be here after we are all gone.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Chris: I think this is still the best old-school formula Zelda. Prove me wrong.
Fahey: Do I have to?
Fahey: I would go as far as saying that A Link to the Past is my favorite Legend of Zelda game. The modern 3D stuff has its own flavor. I like 2D better.
Chris: You don’t need to qualify this with “Well, you see, at the time this was released…” — it just holds up. You could put this on a cartridge and sell it (although I’ll glady take it as part of a super cheap yearly subscription instead)!
1. Super Metroid
Fahey: The closest thing we had to a huge disagreement on placement in the rankings, solved by ten minutes of playing this legendary game.
Chris: It is the best Metroid. If you’ve played any other Metroid game and thought, oh, this is cool, but you haven’t played this—this is better.
Want to gather a whole lot of delicious virtual fish in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with very little effort? Redditor Charlieboy95 discovered that all you have to do to force fish ashore is purse your lips and blow.
It’s like whistling while you work, only whistling is the work. In a video posted to Reddit (via Destructoid), Charlieboy95 demonstrates the whistle fishing technique. It’s performed by floating near a beach or riverbank and using the game’s whistle command, normally reserved for calling a trusty steed. The noise of the whistle causes fish to swim away and beach themselves for easy retrieval.
According to Charlieboy95, the trick only works in areas where the water gently meets the land, with the banks of some lakes being too high for the fish to make the transition. According to several other posters in the thread, whistle fishing is awesome and is almost as fun as bomb fishing.
There are so many great, memorable levels in the Zelda series, from Majora Mask’s Stone Tower Temple to the Arbiter’s Grounds in Twilight Princess. But a level that’s always stayed with me from the series is the Palace of Winds from the Minish Cap.
Developed by Capcom and Flagship, The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap was released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance. I feel it’s an overlooked entry in the series that doesn’t get as much love as some of Link’s other portable outings, like the Oracle games. While size transformation of the Honey, I Shrunk The Kids variety was the main new gimmick introduced in Minish Cap, the Palace of Winds was about climbing high up into the heavens and braving the heights. It fused Mario-style platforming with the distinct puzzling of Zelda. In fact, there are several nods to the Mario series in the palace that make it all the more memorable.
Creating a sense of verticality and height is difficult in an overhead perspective. But the Palace of Winds is structured almost like a series of islands floating in the sky. Clouds, actual islands, and the ocean lie far below. When you first enter the palace, the only way to get across is through a series of bridges that are activated via crystal switches. You have to fight off groups of Peahats and use a combination of arrows, boomerangs, and bombs to trigger the crystal switches in the right places. The process feels cumbersome, especially as some of the switches are hard to reach. But this is intentional since it’s a setup for the dungeon’s key item.
The Roc’s Feather, first introduced in Link’s Awakening, is one of my favorite items in the overhead Zelda games, as it allows Link to jump. The treasure you gain in the Palace of Winds is the Roc’s Cape, which not only allows you to jump, but glide across big chasms as well. Usually in Zelda dungeons, the treasure comes about halfway through it. In the palace, you earn it fairly early on after defeating a swarm of fire-hurtling Wizzrobes, indicating that it’ll be an important component of your playthrough. Donning the cape means that you no longer have to rely on activating bridges to cross pits.
Through the freedom of flying, I came to understand the original builders of the Palace of Winds—the Wind Tribe. The Wind Tribe lives in the clouds and can magically control the wind. Their ability to harness and manipulate wind is felt nowhere as clearly as with the Roc’s Cape, which allows Link to jump up into the clouds and soar. I could imagine tribe members leaping from one location to another. And the palace is huge, easily one of the longest dungeons in Minish Cap.
The palace is swarming with enemies and grates that flip over, which tug on the nostalgia strings since they’re so similar to the ones from Super Mario World. Even one of the original Mario enemies, Lakitu, makes an appearance here, riding on clouds and attacking with lightning bolts. Keeping with the motif of the Mario games, there are also moving platforms that Link has to traverse to make his way through the palace.
Some of the trickiest parts of the palace involve activating three copies of Link, then getting on a moving platform, avoiding obstacles, and reaching another part of the palace to perform a task that only the three of them can do, like moving a huge block. Since the copies of Link evaporate once the green magic gauge runs out, the time constraints, coupled with the massive drops, heighten the intensity.
With breakable floors forcing you to keep on your toes, and potential drops around every corner, the palace constantly reminds you that you’re high up in the sky. Even though falling off the edge only does minimal damage, I still felt pressure not to fall.
Gone With The Wind
The developers do a wonderful job setting puzzles up, and then allowing you to harness the pieces to solve seemingly impassable routes. For example, you first come across a series of fans that let out streams of strong wind that push you over the side. Waiting for the right time to jump, or hide in a hole, is key to crossing these sections. But shortly after that, you are confronted with a massive pit that’s too wide to jump over, even gliding with the Roc’s Cape. In this case, you have to use the fans, not avoid them, waiting for them to shoot out long gusts of wind, then use that wind to cross the massive chasm. Levitating torches guide Link’s way, showing where he should aim his flight.
The Big Key, which opens the pathway to a Zelda dungeon’s boss, usually represents the climax of a dungeon. Here, it’s barely the midpoint. You open up what you think is the path to the final boss, only to find yourself standing over a gigantic pit. A dive lands you on an island and a mid-boss battle.
There are subtle references Minish Cap makes to previous games in the series, and my favorite is the mid-boss battle music, which is a remake of the Zelda II’s original boss battle music on the Famicom (it was replaced with a different tune outside Japan). The mid-boss fight against the giant Red Darknut can either be a very easy battle, or a difficult one. Putting aside the question of how he got onto that tiny, isolated island in the first place, the key to a quick victory is to knock him off the side of the platform, using the environment to your advantage. This also reminds you of how precarious your situation is high up in the palace and how fortunate you are to have the cape.
After the Darknut’s defeat, you keep on climbing. Tornadoes are interspersed throughout the back half of the dungeon, tossing Link up into the air and forcing him to glide to either another platform or tornado. Link continues to jump up through the clouds, warding off Wizzrobes, Gibdos, and Moblins.
Going into mini-mode isn’t an important part of the palace, which makes sense since it’s all about the wind and flying across the air. But I do feel it was a missed opportunity, as soaring across gaps that would be tiny for big Link could have led to some interesting puzzles.
The boss of the palace is a Gyorg Pair. They’re like giant flying manta rays which you have to ride atop. This final fight forces you to combine all of the gameplay techniques you’ve utilized in the palace. You clone yourself, then attack the multiple eyes in a flurry of sword swings. But the male Gyorg swoops in for a strike, damaging Link and also causing the clones to dissipate. Link is forced to leap from the big Gyorg to the smaller male, weaken him, then return. It’s a frenetic battle across the sky, and the music complements the pace well. The female Gyorg even releases her children, which you have to kill. Multiple jumps from one Gyorg to the other follow, as do more cloned attacks and swift dodges. Eventually, Link triumphs.
Honestly, it’s a sad sequence when you actually think about it. This Gyorg family is chilling in the skies when Link comes to attack and essentially massacre the entire family. Is his need for the wind element so important that the Gyorgs had to be killed to gain it?
Without it, Link can’t gain the sacred blade and defeat Vaati. The cost the Elemental Sanctuary demands is bloody and dark, despite the colorfully vibrant aesthetic. Link eventually becomes master of the four swords and the elements, and can finally defeat Vaati. But the cycle perpetuated by this plunge will haunt Link and all future Links to come.
I loved the way the palace used verticality to incorporate a different type of experience into the Zelda franchise. While some of it openly borrows from Mario, the quirky charm and challenges Minish Cap employs makes the Palace of Winds one of the best levels in the series.
In general, it feels like the portable outings for Zelda encourage more experimentation and quirkiness, whether it’s the dream world of Link’s Awakening or the seasonal and temporal manipulation of the Oracle games. This is very much welcome in a series that, until recently with Breath of the Wild, could be rather formulaic. My only wish for Minish Cap was that it was longer. But sometimes the best things come in minish sizes.
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.
I recently started a new game in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild after I took my Switch to my sister’s house and my nephews deleted my save. I’d played a few hours of the game last year but never picked it up again. This time, it’s totally sucked me in, and I spent all day Sunday playing. I had a lot of chores to do, so this could have been a problem, but luckily, I was able to do the chores even as I played the game. That’s because I had plenty of time to kill while I waited for the in-game rain to stop.
I had to wait for the rain to stop, because Link can’t climb in the game if it’s raining. And, well, I’m completely in love with Breath of the Wild’s rock climbing. I recently got super into rock climbing in real life, and I’m relishing the chance to do my new hobby in a video game, so I try to climb mountains in the game whenever I can. I went out of my way to pick up the climbing outfits Link can wear, even though I’m horrified that he spends so long in his climbing shoes, which in real life are shoes that intentionally run small and are uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
So I was headed in a straight line across the map, vaguely intending to reach a randomly-selected marker for part of the quest to find the Divine Beasts. I was making pretty good progress—that is, until it started raining. As we’ve noted before here at Kotaku, it rains a lot in Breath of the Wild. Since climbing doesn’t work in the rain, I found myself stuck at the base of a mountain waiting for the weather to change. At one point the weather cleared, but I was immediately attacked by a group of Lizalfos. Once I’d dispatched them, I only had time to get a little bit higher up the mountain before it started raining again. I scrabbled a little bit farther by jumping. By the way, climbers call this move a dyno, because all climbing lingo makes you sound like a 1970s California surfer. Link is very good at dynos, but even he has his limits. At this point, I had only one more section of rock to go before I was at the top. I wasn’t about to head back down now, so I stood on an outcropping, figuring the weather would change soon.
The weather did not change soon.
I spent about an in-game week standing and waiting. After 10 real-world minutes, staring at my Switch screen was starting to grate on my eyes, but the longer I waited, the more I got committed to waiting. I kept checking my map, thinking about warping somewhere else, only to imagine how bad I’d feel if it stopped raining the second I gave up. I was determined to wait it out. Surely it couldn’t rain forever.
Here are some things I did while waiting for it to stop raining in Breath of the Wild:
Scouted for shrines with the Sheikah Slate. Did not find any.
Watched the sun set (in the game)
Watched the sun rise
Watched the sun set again
Watched the sun rise again
Cooked lunches for the week (in real life… using this recipe, if you’re curious)
Googled whether or not you’re supposed to trim radish leaves to keep them fresh longer
Pulled the leaves off my leftover radishes and then second-guessed myself about trimming them
Cleaned the radishes and put them in a plastic bag
Felt bad about wasting a plastic bag, so put the radishes in a plastic container instead and washed out the bag
Tried to figure out how I, personally, would climb the bit of mountain Link was stuck on. Because rock climbing lingo is ridiculous, climbing strategies are called “beta.” Now you’ve learned something! Anyway, I don’t think I could do it myself, but it definitely feels doable for someone who’s more experienced than I am.
Imagined getting good enough at rock climbing to climb the section. Goals!
Jumped up and down (in real life)
Admired Breath of the Wild’s sky
Shouted “oh no, a blood moon!” and then realized no monsters could reach me
Admired the blood moon
Googled whether you can climb on wet rocks in real life. Apparently, it can be really damaging to the rocks, so climbing after the rain is very contentious. Admired Nintendo for taking a stance on this issue.
Wondered if Breath of the Wild was broken
Googled whether Breath of the Wild was broken
Saved my game, closed it, and opened it again to see if it would make the weather change
Held back tears when it was still raining
Struggled to pull a can off those super-tricky Paktech recyclable six-pack rings, which usually results in either failure or me sending the can flying across the room
Sent the can flying across the room
Retrieved the can
Jumped up and down some more
Remembered I have a FedEx package that’s been stuck in “shipping label created” for several days
Checked the shipping status. Still stuck.
Read some forums about packages being stuck in “shipping label created”
Debated watching an episode of The Simpsons but couldn’t decide which one. Felt ridiculous thinking about watching TV instead of just giving up on Breath of the Wild.
Spun the in-game camera around
Dropped some gear
Second-guessed myself and picked the gear back up again
Jumped up and down some more
At this point, I’d had it. It was getting late in real life, and I wouldn’t have much longer to play before I had to go to bed. I picked a shrine across the map, shouted “oh no!” to psych myself up, and made myself warp to it. As Link’s molecules reassembled, I heard birds chirping. The sun was shining. It wasn’t raining.
A while later and many in-game miles away, I was interrupted by several characters called Zora asking me to meet someone named Prince Sidon. When I found him, Sidon directed me toward the marker I had been trying to reach and said that I couldn’t climb because it was raining, which sent me into hysterical laughter. As I trudged along a mountain path, fighting enemies while Sidon cheered me on, I wondered if I’d been coming up the backside of this wet mountain before. Maybe the weather had been scripted and it was never going to change? I tried to remember where I’d been on the map, but I wasn’t quite sure. Had I waited in vain? I’d like to believe I didn’t, because I’m not sure I could live down the shame. At least I got a lot done in the rain.
For players who may have been disappointed with the lack of traditional dungeons in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a new set of modding tools is helping players add dungeons inspired by previous games.
As spotted by PC Gamer, Earth Temple is a mod that adds the dungeon of the same name from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Created by a modder who goes by Kreny for the Wii U version of Breath of the Wild, the dungeon comes complete with tons of lava, platforming puzzles, and even a boss fight. While it’s not a one-to-one recreation of the original Earth Temple, it seems to get the spirit of it right.
The mod was made possible in part thanks to the visual editor “Ice-Spear” and collision data tool “Ice-Hall,” both of which were created by a modder called HailtoDodongo in order to help Breath of the Wild fans make more advanced dungeons for the game. “My goal is to get the feeling of old, bigger Zelda dungeons,” the modder told PC Gamer in an interview last month. While HailtoDodongo’s work includes ambitious additions like the Sky Maze dungeon, the tools are one small step toward a sort of unofficial “Zelda Maker” for the Wii U.
At this year’s E3, Nintendo announced it was making a sequel to Breath of the Wild that effectively grew out of how ambitious its original DLC plans for the game were. In light of the lack of new content then, it’s nice to see fans being able to add their own creations to the game to give players new dungeons to explore, at least for those with the Wii U version of the game.