Video Game Tuesday: Breath of the Wild’s Puzzles Are Refreshing

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.
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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m continuing my little mini-series of my thoughts on the latest Zelda game. It’s how Breath of the Wild’s Puzzles Are Refreshing!

Puzzles?: Yea, as any self respecting gamer will know, Zelda games have some pretty intense puzzles that require you to really think out of the box sometimes. However Breath of the Wild’s physics system really allows the player to truly dismantle puzzles in bizarre ways occasionally in particular. I haven’t had this much fun figuring out how to break puzzles since Portal 2.

How so?: For me certain puzzles are always difficult, especially when you include motion controls. My hands are always shaking almost imperceptibly and this causes me to deal with certain game mechanics with increased difficulty. For instance in Breath of the Wild you are required to tilt your controller in order to move around a ball in a maze. The first time I encountered this mechanic in the game I spent 20 minutes trying to get it to work correctly. This was mostly because the maze’s walls had holes for the ball to drop into an abyss.

I was getting increasingly frustrated until I realized something had been happening, but I hadn’t been paying close enough attention. Exiting the control panel that allowed access to the puzzle kept the puzzle in the position you had it in at the time of exiting, even if the position was titled straight up so the ball would just bounce into the abyss constantly. So I quickly used this to flip the maze over completely and use the bottom of the platform as a simple slope to drop the ball into where I needed it to go. Instead of properly doing the puzzle the game allowed me to completely break it in a way the game makers probably weren’t expecting.

What else?: Well I used the wood you can carry around in the game to solve a puzzle that required torches to be lit up. Instead of moving around a cube to light up certain torches and avoiding both the pool of water it was hanging over and the water spout, I just set a fire to the pile of wood I had dropped and used it to light an arrow on fire to light the torches instead. Another time had me trying to bridge circuits to allow electricity to get to certain switches, and instead of using the intended metallic boxes lying around I just dropped a few of metallic weapons in the correct spots allowing me to completely bypass the entire puzzle with ease.

So what’s special?: Well not many games allow you such freedom in breaking their puzzles or tricky situations. Often times you just have to go in guns blazing instead of using your brain. The best games I found that allow such freedom are those games that have been in development for ages. Metal Gear Solid V is another example.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

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