The New Zelda Game Makes Me Feel Like A Child Prodigy

It's like being a kid again, but smarter (hopefully).

Zelda TOTK Tears of the Kingdom Genius

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Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is full of childlike wonder with a dash of NASA-level engineering.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild taught me everything I know about open-world role-playing games – the ones where you freely explore a rich and varied land. So when its highly anticipated sequel Tears of the Kingdom came out last week, like a lot of other people, I was extremely excited. Reviews are glowing across the board, and it’s pretty much agreed that this game does everything the first one did, but better. (Aside from a few sorely missed mechanics of Breath of the Wild: RIP to Revali’s gale.)

After spending as much of the week as I possibly could exploring the game, while still having to work because everyone here at Junkee knows what I’d be up to if I chucked a sickie, I think I’ve discovered why this game is resonating with a broader audience and outdoing its acclaimed predecessor by a mile.

Gameplay Over Graphics

I’m by no means an expert on gameplay and graphics. I exist very much toward the cosy side of the gaming spectrum, as opposed to competitive first-person shooters or MOBAs. 

But there’s certainly a common thread across game reviews on how Tears of the Kingdom prioritises polished game physics over really high-performing graphics. In other words, it feels good to play, but doesn’t necessarily look as detailed or impressive as other games.

Nintendo has always been a little infamous for being the least powerful gaming console — it struggles to handle beefier games that run better on PlayStations or PCs. But the undeniable popularity of The Legend of Zelda is proving that Nintendo knows its audience and understands its strengths and limitations. And the greatest strength of Tears of the Kingdom is how it approaches the classic puzzle-solving aspect of the Zelda franchise.

It Feels Like Being A Kid Again, But Smarter (Hopefully)

The Washington Post first pointed out that the game makes you feel like a creative genius. This is 100 percent true, whether you’re creating a giant working robot, complex siege weapons, or just a really long bridge.

For me, these activities epitomise the way young children “work” with building blocks or those puzzles where you fit shapes into holes. Now, you (hopefully) have a bit more knowledge than when you were a toddler. Using Ultrahand to stick things together, creating platforms to use Ascend, or playing around with Recall — the game evokes the wonder of early childhood development, mixed with a bit of NASA engineering. I’m simultaneously the smartest person in the entire world, and back in kindy playing in the sandpit. 

I truly haven’t seen this level of excitement of a game in years, especially not enough to spawn this many memes hitting my timeline across different platforms. So spare some sympathy for anyone you know who might be playing the game, because it’s taking all of our willpower to not drop everything, run away from our problems, and feel like the smartest kid in the world.