Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide – 8 Important Tips for Starting Out

The joy of Zelda is in the discovery, of course. But you can save yourself some time and headaches with these good tips and habits.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Nintendo Direct February 2023

We all know that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a game where most of the joy comes from making discoveries on your own – the same was true for Breath of the Wild. But when you first start off on your journey through Hyrule, you will likely make a bunch of mistakes, and perhaps set yourself back in time or resources, wishing you had known this or that. This guide is filled with tips that will try to save you some real-life tears.

Having played through the entirety of Tears of the Kingdom, there were some habits we were really glad to have adopted early on – and we wanted to share some of them with you. Like Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom is a game where you feel like you’re constantly making new discoveries, even after the game ends, so we’ll continue to update this article when we discover something new.

Read: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Review

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1. Have your Breath of the Wild save handy for free horses

Did you play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Of course you did. About 30 million people played that game! Chances are that you got far enough in to capture and stable a horse or two (or three, of four).

If so, make sure your Breath of the Wild save is on the Nintendo Switch you’re using to play Tears of the Kingdom. It’s possible you may have upgraded your Switch console in the years since that game released, so it’s good to check beforehand.

If Tears of the Kingdom detects a Breath of the Wild save, it’ll pull the horses you had stabled in that game, and bring them over to Tears intact – after all, this is the same Hyrule.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide - Useful Tips and Habits
Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

Not only is it a nice little touch, it also saves you the immense hassle of having to capture a fresh horse in the field, break it in, and build up your relationship with it. If you had a horse with great stats in Breath of the Wild, you’re going to want to bring it over.

Note: If you obtained Link’s legendary horse Epona, you can import them too. However, Epona won’t be able to perform one key feature that regular horses can do in the new game: tow materials and wagons. They’re just too special.

2. Go out of your way to collect arrows

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide - Useful Tips and Habits
Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

Bows and arrows are more important than ever in Tears of the Kingdom, especially because of the game’s new Fuse system.

Gone are the days where there are seperate arrows like fire, ice, and so on. Now, you can attach virtually any material to an arrow to produce useful (and useless) effects – to freeze enemies from afar, detonate exploding barrels, or set up a well-positioned light source in a dark area. Experiment with everything. It’s fun!

BUT this means that you will be using a lot of arrows, for various functions. So make sure you get in the habit of diligently collecting arrows from battlefields and boxes early on, to make sure you never run out. At one point in the late game, we had over 100 arrows, which quickly diminished to zero at a time when they were badly needed. Avoid this at all costs!

And while we’re here, consider the same habits for Brightbloom Seeds. You’ll thank me when you’re in the later stages of the primary quest.

3. Remember you can throw your materials

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide - Useful Tips and Habits
Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

This tip is related to the last one. You’re going to use a lot of different materials for different purposes in Tears of the Kingdom. You’ll need to burn away spiky foliage, light up paths, and blow up rocky passages. The easiest way to do this is to attach materials to an arrow and let it loose. But as mentioned in the previous tips, arrows are very important!

So, if you need to unleash an effect in a location that isn’t very far away, try to remember you can simply throw the item (Hold R1, then press Up on the D-Pad to replace your weapon with an item). Take a leaf out of the survival horror genre, and save your arrows for when you’re really going to need them!

4. You will be able to trade your hearts for stamina, and vice versa

As you gradually complete more Shrines in Tears of the Kingdom, you’ll earn Light of Blessing orbs, which you can trade for additional hearts of life, or a longer stamina bar, at the Goddess Statues you find around the world.

You should do what you think will be of most benefit to you, of course. But there will come a point in the game where you won’t be able to progress the main story without a certain amount of hearts, and another point where you won’t be able to progress without a certain amount of stamina.

Thankfully, you will eventually discover a statue in Hyrule’s central base of operations, Lookout Landing, that will allow you to trade hearts for stamina, and vice versa – there will be an event when one of the workers is spooked by a voice coming from inside the wall.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide - Useful Tips and Habits
Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

It’ll cost you 100 rupees for each heart/segment you trade, of course. But if you find yourself at one of these roadblocks, it’s a much quicker way to get through than potentially having to seek out 8 more shrines!

(This statue existed in Breath of the Wild too, but many people I’ve talked to never found it!)

5. Keep some Sticky Elixir on you, seriously

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide - Useful Tips and Habits
Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

There are dozens of things I could tell you to keep on you at all times – food, arrows, a weapon for each situation, fairies, the list goes on. But one of the most useful new recipes in Tears of the Kingdom is the Sticky Elixir.

Remember all those times you tried to climb a cliff during Breath of the Wild, but it started to rain, and you kept slipping off the surface, and got super annoyed because you didn’t want to wait around for the rain to stop? The Sticky Elixir fixes that.

It will improve your grip on surfaces in wet conditions. It’s not perfect, and you’ll still slip occasionally, but you can climb much further than you would be able to otherwise.

You can make these Elixirs by cooking a Sticky Lizard or Sticky Frog with a number of Monster Parts.

6. Check your recipes

Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

One of the nice new features in Tears of the Kingdom is that any dish or elixir you cook is logged in a new recipe book, meaning you don’t have to make an external note about how to make what.

There are a few ways you can check this: You can select an ingredient from the ‘Materials’ submenu and see all the known recipes that use it, or you can select a meal from the ‘Food’ submenu to see the full directory.

This function is very useful if a character in the world gifts you a pre-prepared meal, because you can instantly open up the recipe book to see how it’s made! What a great feature. No more plain steaks and fruit stews for you!

7. Use your in-game camera liberally

You’ll eventually gain access to the camera function in Tears of the Kingdom – but know that it’s not just for selfies! It can be a useful way to document information you see in the world, and refer back to when you need it via the album.

Stumble across a new recipe poster in a stable, but don’t have the right ingredients to make it right away? Take a photo. Discover some kind of ancient map or mural? Take a photo.

Come across some ancient slab of text you apparently can’t read, because it’s in Ancient Hyrulean? Take a photo of it now. Trust me on this one.

Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

8. Visit Forge Constructs regularly

In Tears of the Kingdom, you can upgrade your hearts and you can upgrade your stamina, but you’ll also want to upgrade something else: Your Energy Wells.

These are the batteries Link keeps on his person in order to power Zonai Devices like fans, wheels, flamethrowers, and… something a little bigger you get access to later on.

Link starts off with one battery, which lasts long enough for you to solve most puzzles. But if you want to get more, you’ll have to collect Crystallized Charges, which can be found sporadically in the world, or more reliably by trading in mined Zonaite minerals at Forge Constructs.

Image: GamesHub via Nintendo

Forge Constructs are found scattered around the Sky Islands and deep down in the Depths. The only catch is they have a very limited amount of Crystallized Charges at any one time.

It’s good to make a habit of taking semi-regular visits back to Forge Constructs, to trade for as many Crystallized Charges as you can, which will pay off in a big way later on.

You can then trade for more Energy Wells by cashing in Charges at Crystal Refineries. You’ll find one at the North Entrance of Lookout Landing.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Nintendo Switch
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05/15/2024 06:12 pm GMT

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran