It’s honestly amazing how dumb The Legend of Zelda games make me feel. So many puzzles with so many variables; sometimes it’s a speed thing, sometimes you need a certain item, sometimes you have to do a certain dance, and sometimes you have to do all three. Sad as it may sound, strategy guides are my personal security blankets for The Legend of Zelda games. I will never have the patience to sort all of the shenanigans out in these games, and I’m always impressed with those who do. Since A Link Between Worlds introduces a completely new game mechanic, the ability to merge into walls, I knew I’d need the A Link Between Worlds strategy guide to hold my hand through a whole new world of puzzle solving. Thanks to the strategy guide, I saved Hyrule, defeated Ganon, and collected everything save for a few pieces of the heart that I could only earn performing annoying mini-games. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the A Link Between Worlds strategy guide is the best The Legend of Zelda strategy guide out there.
Most Zelda games are fairly linear, yet they have massive amounts of exploration. It stays linear because players can’t explore Hyrule without obtaining certain items from the dungeons. A Link Between Worlds differs from the get-go here, as players can rent almost every item at the beginning. Collecting tons of rupees is also amazingly easy, so after running around smashing pots and trimming hedges for 30 minutes, you will have more than enough to rent everything.
The strategy guide is laid out with exploration in mind first, dungeon-tackling later. After Link is able to merge with walls, the strategy guide puts off all dungeon plundering for a few hours in favor of getting everything Link can. This includes getting all the bottles possible, finding all possible pieces of the heart, exploring treasure caves, and finding all of the lost maiamais (that are possible) so Link can upgrade weapons. If you follow the strategy guide to the letter, Link will have 7 heart containers, 3 bottles, and 41 maiamais before he ventures to either the House of Gales or Tower of Hera.
In other words, by following the guide, dungeon bosses will never, NEVER be a problem. I have never cut through bosses with ease like I have with this game, and I know it’s not because the game is easier; it’s because I was so friggin’ prepared.
When Link travels to Lorule for the first time, the exploration first, dungeons later emphasis kicks in again. The strategy guide takes places all over Lorule to find every single dungeon and weather vane first. When you’re done exploring, most of the hard work is already done! When you’re ready to go to a certain dungeon, you just summon the witch’s broom to take you to that weather vane.
The A Link Between Worlds strategy guide also provides the most efficient order for completing the Lorule dungeons. The first dungeon on the agenda is the Thieves’ Hideout so that Link can get the Sand Rod, the one item he wasn’t able to rent. The next dungeon is the Desert Palace so Link can get the Titan’s Mitt and find the last baby maiamais. At that point, the only thing Link is missing is the rest of his heart containers; the strategy guide has Link well stocked and prepared for the last six dungeons.
As perfect as the strategy guide was as a whole, there were a few mistakes. A couple of the strategies they gave were actually impossible to complete. For example, when paving the way toward the weather vane in the Dark Palace, on page 171, the strategy guide tells players to avoid a soldier by taking the lower route and jumping down to a staircase. That lower route is blocked by a wall, so players have to face the soldier head on and perform a few stealth maneuvers to get down to that staircase. In the walkthrough for the Dark Palace, the room numbers are a little mixed up on page 231, which caused a bit of initial confusion. Thankfully the descriptions of what I needed to do were detailed enough I was able to figure out which room I really needed to be in.
I marked a total of 4 typos and misinformation, and none of them caused serious frustration. Considering how much goes into a Zelda game, I’m impressed there were only 4 mistakes.
I cannot recommend the A Link Between Worlds strategy guide enough. Stephen Stratton has written numerous The Legend of Zelda strategy guides, and he and Cory Van Grier should be immensely proud of this book. This strategy guide is the new bar for all The Legend of Zelda strategy guides.