Tears of the Kingdom Turns Glitches Into Gameplay

Tears of the Kingdom some of the most popular glitches and tricks from Breath of the Wild and turns them into gameplay features, making the possibilities endless.


Published: May 22, 2023 12:00 PM /

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Link flying above the sky islands in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on a glider powered by a fan.

How do you follow up a game that is considered by many to be the greatest game ever made? How is it even possible, and how does Tears of the Kingdom do it so well? The answer is remarkably simple: what were once glitches are now gameplay features, and Nintendo has gone even further to add a level of creative freedom that rivals nearly anything you see in a AAA title. This makes Breath of the Wild feel a bit like a tech demo in scope -- a proof of concept of what this environment could offer, but not fully evolving into an evergreen sandbox for another six years. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is Nintendo's most daring move of handing power over to the players. But for every amazing flying machine and clever solve to a puzzle, there are countless others using their powers to commit war crimes and... crucify Koroks? We're only a little over a week in, but what players are doing with Tears of the Kingdom has been both amazing and disturbing in the most miraculous ways. 

Link riding a flying machine powered by wind through a shrine in Tears of the Kingdom

Tears of the Kingdom: A Thousand Solutions To Any Puzzle

Where previous Legend of Zelda games had players approaching a puzzle with, "How do I solve this?" Tears of the Kingdom instead invites players to think, "What's possible here?" As open and amazing as Breath of the Wild was, it didn't offer this level of creativity in its core gameplay. Of course, people found a way to manipulate bombs, shields, minecarts, and more to move around the map quickly and glitch their way to the end destination.

Tears of the Kingdom, on the other hand, provides those tools to you to do what you will. Thanks to the Ultrahand ability, I've managed to build some halfway-decent flying machines, a car that could overcome most terrain, and even a rudimentary rocket ship. Some of the most viral videos on TikTok, though, show people using Ultrahand to build helicopters, strategic bombers, and even a multi-stage rocket to launch a Korok into the abyss.

Where other games might lock an ability like Ultrahand behind late-game achievements, Tears of the Kingdom players get it before departing the Great Sky Island. At first, the process of gluing objects together can be a bit cumbersome, but with practice, it's possible to quickly build impressive machines. Not to mention unlockables later in the game greatly simplify the process of using Ultrahand.

When players find themselves in a shrine, the capabilities to solve a puzzle tend to be limited to what's directly in front of you, but there are often still multiple ways to reach the end goal. The most popular of which seems to just be to build extremely long bridges out of anything that will stick together end-to-end? The Nintendo Switch is famously not a powerful system, but it does impressively well with calculating the real-time physics and movement of all of these items stuck together. 

Yes the frame rate drops below 30 at times, and yes the resolution is lower than most other AAA titles, but Nintendo maximizes the fun factor with its toyetic approach by making the entire world something you can interact with in different ways. It may be too soon to be talking about second and third and fourth playthroughs, but Tears of the Kingdom gives you the freedom to never approach your adventure in quite the same way. 

This leads to the question: Are you a benevolent savior of Hyrule, or some kind of vengeful deity? 

A Korok on a crucifix with Link standing in front of him in Tears of the Kingdom
Image from a YouTube video posted by user FCUYTFUYTF

Why Do People Keep Crucifying Koroks? 

In a way, I get it. Some people spent hundreds of hours running around Hyrule in Breath of the Wild eager to see what the reward was for finding all 900 Koroks, only to be disappointed by a golden poop. It would seem these same people are taking their revenge on these poor woodland creatures instead of helping them.

Where kind players will help the Koroks reach their friends and overcome any obstacle, others will strap them to rockets, or imprison them, or straight up crucify them. I've seen too many videos of people burning Koroks at the stake, or plunging them into the depths of a Chasm. 

It makes me wonder if Nintendo is ever going to give us this level of freedom with a game again. Are they ever going to allow their player base to corrupt and destroy the world they spent so many years building? I hope so, because Tears of the Kingdom is some of the most fun a lot of us have ever had in a video game. And the fact that it has sold over 10 million copies in the first week and got myriad high review scores shows just how well received this epic adventure has been. 

Unlike the oft-disproved Sony slogan, Nintendo has come out the gate swinging with this title to indicate that play truly does have no limits. 

A rocket plane ready for liftoff with Link in front of it in Tears of the Kingdom

As more and more exploits and creative solutions come to light, I find I'm asking myself: Could Nintendo possibly predict all the ways their systems would be used? I can only imagine the amount of testing and trial and error that went into development, but at the end of the day, even a company as big as Nintendo doesn't have the resources to test what more than 10 million people would be doing simultaneously when they get their hands on the game. 

Features like combining a minecart with your shield to make a skateboard seem obvious and intentionally included. But could they have predicted the Rube Goldberg machines that would be created to take down Bokoblins and other creatures?

Link on a homemade ferry boat crossing a river in Tears of the Kingdom

There is plenty to do in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and what were once glitches, like launching yourself into the sky with a well-timed bomb, are now fully realized parts of the game. The Fuse and Ultrahand mechanics have completely shifted the way people approach Zelda games, and it already has me wondering what will be possible when Nintendo announces that "the sequel to the sequel to Breath of the Wild is in development."

Whether you choose to fly, float, ascend, or run, the only question you really need to answer is: Which part of Hyrule do you want to explore first? Grab some fans, spare wood, maybe a rocket or two, and see where your next adventure will take you.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net


Me holding a Nintendo Switch next to a Reggie Fils-Aime poster
| Staff Writer

Dan is a Boston-based writer who has been with TechRaptor since the end of 2020. He has been working in the online writing, editing and SEO space for nearly… More about Dan

More Info About This Game
Learn more about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Developer
Nintendo
Publisher
Nintendo
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Release Date
May 12, 2023 (Calendar)
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