Tears of the Kingdom Tips, Tricks, and Hidden Mechanics The Game Doesn’t Teach You

Tears of the Kingdom lets you do so many things and doesn't even bother to tell you about half of what is possible.

Tears of the kingdom
Photo: Nintendo

Tears of the Kingdom is a massive game in terms of size, scope, and possibilities. Players have spent hours in the game’s tutorial area, and it’s no surprise why. This adventure throws a lot at you, but it also expects you to figure out quite a few things on your own. That’s half of the fun half of the time, but it turns out that there are quite a few hidden mechanics in Tears of the Kingdom that the game just doesn’t really tell you about.

While players will undoubtedly be discovering secrets in Tears of the Kingdom for years to come, here’s a look at a few handy tips and tricks you may otherwise never know about.

You Can Find Shrine Locations From Lightroots In the Depths

If you’re trying to find all of Tears of the Kingdom’s Shrines and you want to avoid using a guide, there is a secondary method that the game doesn’t tell you about. 

You know those Lightroots you find while you’re exploring the Depths? Well, it turns out that Lightroots are Shrines and Shrines are Lightroots. Yes, those Lightroots actually tell you the location of Shrines on the world map (and vice-versa). While this only works for Shrines that are located on the main part of the world map (meaning sky shrines aren’t included), it does seem to apply to every Shrine in that area.

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How to Level (Flatten) Items While Using Ultrahand

For as useful as the Ultrahand ability is, it can be frustrating trying to get some objects in the perfect position. However, there is a hidden command that makes that process a little easier. 

If you press the “ZL” button while you’re holding an object with Ultrahand, you will level it to a flat position. This ability allows you to quickly reset a manipulated object as well as instantly (or very quickly) rotate other kinds of objects. I just have no idea why the game doesn’t really tell you about it. 

How to Throw Items Directly From Your Inventory

You probably already know that you can attach materials to your arrows in order to create special (often explosive) effects. However, did you know that you can actually throw many of those materials directly from your inventory?

Simply hold the R button to enter Link’s throwing stance. From there, hit “Up” on the D-pad. Choose the item you wish to toss, and it will appear in Link’s hand. From there, you can throw it as normal. This is a great way to generate bombs without having to spend an arrow in the process. 

How to Make Your Own Updrafts

There are many times in Tears of the Kingdom when you’d rather be flying. Of course, traditional methods of getting airborne are not always available to you. As it turns out, though, you don’t need a Skyview Tower or a rocket to catch a little air. 

Actually, it’s surprisingly easy to make your own updrafts and launch yourself in the air. One of the most reliable methods involves creating a fire and throwing a Hylian pine cone on the fire. That combination of items creates a gust of wind that you can use to lift yourself in the air. Interestingly, setting tall grass on fire can create a similar effect. 

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You Can Launch Zonai Wings Using Recall

Have you tried to set your Zonai Wing near a cliff, jump onto it as it’s falling, and fail miserably? I know I did. More times than I like to admit, in fact. However, there is a better way to launch your Zonai Wing off of any cliff or tall structure in the game.

First, use your Ultrahand ability to lift the Zonai wing. Next, “drag” the Zonai Wing in a pattern that sends it off the cliff (or whatever you’re standing on). From there, return it to land and equip the Recall ability. Stand on the Zonai Wing, trigger the Recall ability, and the Wing will “rewind’ through the pattern you just created. Once you and the wing are safely over the cliff, cancel the Rewind ability and enjoy the flight. 

You Can Use Your Scope While In the Air

You’ll spend a lot of time in the air in Tears of the Kingdom. While much of that time will be spent discovering Sky Islands and making your way to other objectives, there is another valuable thing you can do while flying. 

It turns out that you can equip your Scope in real time whenever you’re flying above Hyrule. Doing so makes it much easier to mark points of interest from far across the map. It’s not a replacement for the information you get from Skyview Towers, but it’s one of the best ways to discover new areas in your current zone.

Flocks of Birds Often Mark Points of Interest

Speaking of points of interest, you may recall that Breath of the Wild’s birds used to tell you where some Shrines were located. Well, it seems they no longer do that in Tears of the Kingdom (though the aforementioned Lightroot method is a fine substitute). However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore those flocks when you see them. 

Actually, there is almost always a point of interest under any flocks of birds you find hovering in the sky. What, exactly, you’ll find tends to vary. Sometimes, it will be a chasm entrance. Other times, you’ll locate a cave or enemy camp. And yes, sometimes you’ll still find a Shrine. The point is that you should always explore whatever those birds find so interesting. 

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Your Shield Is the Best Weapon You’re Not Using

To be fair, the game does tell you that you can Fuse items to a shield. In fact, it tells you that every time you bring up the Fuse command. However, you probably don’t know just how valuable that feature is. 

By attaching a basic sword to your shield, you’ll turn it into a weapon that damages any enemy while allowing you to hold a block. That’s good, but it gets even better. If you apply an elemental item to your shield, you can freeze enemies or set them ablaze while parrying. Of course, my personal favorite method is to attach a rocket to a shield and create my own escape vehicle. However you do it, be sure that you’re making the most out of your shield. 

How to Use Pro HUD Mode To Remove the UI

Your camera is a pretty big deal in Tears of the Kingdom. It even takes up a primary ability slot. However, there’s a good chance you’ve been using that camera without realizing that it’s possible to remove the HUD elements that clutter your best shots. 

To do so, you’ll need to enable Pro HUD mode. Simply open the options menu, scroll down to “HUD,” and Select “Pro” instead of “Normal.” This will remove all static UI elements from the in-game screen. That makes it great for taking photos, but it also offers a uniquely challenging way to play the game.

You Can Slow Down Time By Aiming in Mid-Air

Again, flying is a pretty big deal in Tears of the Kingdom. Whether you’re sailing across the world or just jumping really high, you’re going to spend a lot of time in the air. While you’re there, be sure to pull out your bow from time to time. 

Doing so will actually slow down time as long as you’re aiming. What makes this ability so valuable is the fact that you can trigger it no matter how high you are or how long you’re in the air. That means that it’s the perfect way to pull off headshots or even just trigger that trap you just created. 

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You Can Farm Dragons For Valuable Materials

Dragon parts are some of the most valuable resources in Tears of the Kingdom. Then again, they should be considering how difficult it is to acquire them. While it’s challenging to actually mount a dragon, it’s surprisingly easy to farm resources once you’re there. 

Once you’ve found and landed on a dragon, look for the resources along their bodies. You’ll be able to mine them as you would mine any other formation resources in the game. You may discover this on your own, but did you know those resources actually reset? Give it some time, and they’ll start glowing again, which means that they’re ready to be harvested. If you don’t mind riding a dragon for a while, you can really earn a lot of valuable materials this way. 

You Can Remove Your Fused Materials From Weapons

If you accidentally glue two items together using Ultrahand, the game makes it very easy to undo the damage by shaking the right stick. If, however, you accidentally Fuse two things together, you’re seemingly out of luck. Thankfully, that’s not actually the case. 

There are two ways to remove fused materials from items in Tears of the Kingdom. The first involves opening your menu, selecting the fused item, and choosing the “Destroy Fused Material” option. While that will destroy the fused item, it will leave the base item intact. So if you attached a spear to a sword, the spear is destroyed and the sword is as fine as it was beforehand. It’s not your best option, but it can be useful in a pinch. 

The much better option is in Tarrey Town. There, you will find a Goron named Pelison who will separate fused items and return them to their pre-Fused states. The service costs 20 Ruppees, but it has a stealth benefit. Because the items return to their original state, that means you can actually “rescue” valuable materials like Lynel Horns. Simply wait until the fused item is about to break, take it to the vendor, separate the materials, and you can fuse the rescued material to a new weapon

While this process won’t’ restore the durability of the base weapon, it is a fantastic way to get the most mileage out of the rarest resources

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Ascend Is the Best Ability You’re Probably Not Using

I have to admit that I didn’t think much of Ascend when I first started playing Tears of the Kingdom. It seemed like a simple necessity that didn’t offer anything close to the creative potential of the other abilities. However, I was wrong. Ascend is one of the most useful liabilities in the game. 

Simply put, you should always be looking for chances to use Ascend. See some floating debris? Try Ascending through it. Did you try to build a bridge but couldn’t get it to quite cover the correct distance? You may be able to Ascend through the structure and walk the rest of the way. 

However, Ascends most useful function comes whenever you’re in caves. Most of the time, you’ll be able to quickly escape a cave by ascending through the ceiling whenever you’re finished. Now, you may accidentally end up somewhere you’d rather not be (such as an enemy hideout), but this method will save you a lot of walking time.