This article contains spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.


The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom finally came out to an expectant fanbase, and it is proving to be everything they hoped for and more. While the map of Hyrule is similar to Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s, it’s populated with plenty of new things to do. Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom‘s arm abilities differentiate this title through frequent building challenges and by giving many of the new Zonai Shrines multiple solutions. Dungeons provide more classic flavor without abandoning the Divine Beast structure, and every well or hole in the ground unfolds into a mini dungeon.

GAMERANT VIDEO OF THE DAYSCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

However, the main differences are undoubtedly the sky islands and the Depths. These are Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom‘s biggest additions to Hyrule, and they are already providing countless hours of playtime on their own. Finding ways to transition between the three major layers of content is where much of the excitement in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom comes from, which also helps players feel like they’re mastering the world and its mechanics. These extra maps even provide new ways to experience areas from Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with some locales, like the Lost Woods, incorporating them especially well.

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Zelda’s Lost Woods Have Never Let Travelers Walk Straight In

zelda totk great hyrule forest

Among the iconic locations in The Legend of Zelda, the Lost Woods stand out. Having been around since the original NES Zelda alongside Death Mountain, they still retain something akin to their original purpose. Anyone who enters The Lost Woods will find themselves constantly warping back to the beginning. The only way to make progress is to figure out the solution to a given Lost Woods, whether it’s traveling in a certain series of directions or following an environmental clue.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild opts for the latter, rushing the player with fog and teleporting them to the entrance every time they mess up. Talking to an NPC will reveal that following one’s torch, thanks to the wind blowing through the forest, will lead them to safety. In Link’s case, it’s where he finds the Korok Forest, Deku Tree, and Master Sword. The former two are still present in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and the Deku Tree provides information on the latter. However, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom‘s Lost Woods won’t be solved the same way twice.

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Takes Advantage of The Lost Woods’ Geography

zelda totk lost woods 2

Instead of a maze, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom prevents entry to the Lost Woods entirely. Players who try will be snatched up by an ominous purple mist, reminiscent of the Gloom variant of Malice. No obvious solution presents itself, so those looking to investigate the Master Sword’s normal resting place will have to leave it alone. Curious explorers may then wonder if the fog barrier extends below the forest. It does wrap around the tree line, but players approaching the Depths will find their way unbarred.

This culminates in one of the most clever environmental puzzles in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Players must find pillars stretching to the surface and Ascend through them, using ogre trees with Large Poe flames atop them to find the right one. Upon Ascending, they’ll appear right in front of the Deku Tree, who has his own small chasm with a Phantom Ganon lurking inside.

After clearing that, the forest will return to normal and players will receive their reward, as well as access to the rest of the Lost Woods. Making Ascending from the Depths—something players might imagine early on—an actual puzzle solution was brilliant, and it keeps the legend of the tricky Lost Woods alive.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available now on Nintendo Switch.

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