Tears of the Kingdom: How to Unlock Every Main Ability

While The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom offers a completely different repertoire of abilities than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, they are mostly unlocked the same ways.

Tears of the Kingdom abilities
Photo: Nintendo

In the old days of Zelda, “abilities” were tied to items players usually found in dungeons throughout the game. The Hookshot let Link grapple far-off targets, the Roc’s Cape let Link jump, and so on. Not only did these items let players solve puzzles in their respective dungeons but they opened up new avenues in old locations. Now, abilities are divided into several categories, and when players get to use them depends on their category.

In The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild, abilities either came from the Sheikah Slate or the spirits of the Four Champions. The former were handed out at the beginning of the game, while the latter were rewards for completing the game’s main four dungeons. In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, abilities come from either the hand of Rauru (more on that in a bit), Purah’s Pad (which replaces the Sheikah Slate), and the Five Sages. We’ll save those Sage abilities for another time since they’re kind of their own thing, but here is how you unlock all of the game’s main abilities.

Tears of the Kingdom: How to Unlock Every Main Ability

Early in Tears of the Kingdom, Link loses his right arm and the Master Sword to the Gloom, which is a malevolent force that corrodes everything around it (and actually explains why weapons are so fragile in the game). To save Link’s life, the Zonai Rauru grafts his arm onto Link, which also gives Link new abilities. These powers essentially play the same role as the Sheikah Slate abilities in Breath of the Wild, but with some key differences.

How to Unlock Ultrahand

Yes, the Ultrahand ability is named after the Ultra Hand, a toy Nintendo produced before it moved into video games. With that out of the way, Ultrahand acts like Magnesis in Breath of the Wild. Unlike that ability, though, Ultrahand isn’t limited to just metal objects. Ultrahand lets players manipulate and rotate virtually any object in the world. More importantly, Ultrahand lets players attach items to one another to create contraptions, vehicles, and whatever else they want.

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Ultrahand is the first ability players acquire in Tears of the Kingdom. You literally can’t miss it as it is in the first Shrine players find in the Great Sky Island, Uhouh Shrine.

How to Unlock Fuse

Ultrahand is to everyday objects as Fuse is to weapons and shields. Since every sword, club, and spear in Hyrule is now more fragile than glass, Fuse not only reinforces crucial equipment but also lets players create some wacky combinations. You can fuse horns to existing swords to create more powerful, if mundane, weapons, fuse spears to other spears to craft weapons with extra reach, or fuse a minecart onto a shield to make Hyrule’s first skateboard.

Fuse is another ability players learn in the Great Sky Island. This particular ability is in In-Isa Shrine, which is the westmost shrine in the starting area.

How to Unlock Ascend

Ascend is the first of two utility abilities in Tears of the Kingdom. As its name suggests, this power lets Link swim through roofs and pop up above where he started. Ascend lets Link essentially bypass certain climbing challenges (unless players want to test their luck), and since caves and caverns play a big role in this game, using this ability will become second nature.

Ascend is the third and final ability players acquire in a Great Sky Island Shrine, specifically Gutanbac Shrine. This mini-dungeon is arguably the most aggravating to reach since it is tucked away in the eastern portion of the starting area, which is covered in freezing snow. If you want to reach this Shrine, and the Ascend ability, you’re going to need to pack a ton of spicy meals that increase Link’s cold tolerance.

How to Unlock Recall

In Breath of the Wild, Link can temporarily stop time for objects and enemies, then hit them to store up kinetic energy. Tears of the Kingdom does one better with Recall, which lets Link rewind time for an object (but not enemies). The uses for this utility power are staggering. Did an enemy toss a boulder at you? Launch it back with Recall. Find a piece of rock that fell from the sky? Ride it up to the heavens with Recall. With this ability, time now bends to your whim, but only for a few seconds, so use it wisely.

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Once you acquire Ascend, Fuse, and Ultrahand, Rauru will direct players toward the Temple of Time. Inside, players will find a giant version of the strange object Zelda found in the caves under Hyrule Castle (yes, it is probably inspired by Magatama beads). When players interact with it, a cutscene plays out, and players finally obtain Recall.

How to Unlock Amiibo

In Breath of the Wild, players can use amiibo to make special rewards such as materials, weapons, and armors rain down from above. Tears of the Kingdom gives Link the same power, which makes the amiibo “ability” the only returning power. This time players have access to a wider roster of amiibo and rewards. And while gamers can use amiibo to customize Link’s glider, they can’t summon Wolf Link anymore. That friendship was fun while it lasted.

Technically speaking, you don’t unlock the amiibo ability. Tears of the Kingdom just enables amiibo functionality after Link acquires the Ultrahand power.

How to Unlock Autobuild

For all intents and purposes, Autobuild is just a more powerful version of Ultrahand. What makes it so powerful? Instead of attaching items one piece at a time with Ultrahand, Autobuild attaches items en-masse to recreate inventions you previously made, as well as items you own Schema Stones (aka. blueprints) for. If Ultrahand is akin to building Lego sets in real life, then Autobuild is like creating Lego objects in a Lego video game.

Unlike other Rauru Hand abilities, Autobuild is the reward for a quest chain involving the Depths: a network of dangerous, monster-infested caves underneath Hyrule. Start with the quest “Camera Work in the Depths” in Lookout Landing since that unlocks another ability, and continue until you reach the mission “A Mystery in the Depths.” You might have to progress through the main story to unlock certain chains in this series of quests. “A Mystery of the Depths” tasks you with following some statues underground, and that’s exactly what you have to do. To be more specific, follow where they are pointing. Eventually, you will find Autobuild. If you’re feeling brave, you can always follow the statues without progressing to this quest, and you will find Autobuild early.

How to Unlock Camera

Much like the Map, the Camera isn’t an ability so much as it is just the Purah Pad snapping pictures. This “power” functions identical to the Sheikah Slate’s camera. Just point the pad at whatever you want to capture and start shooting. Not only is this ability crucial to shutterbugs, but some quests involve the Purah Pad’s Camera. Plus, if you want to complete the enemy compendium in Tears of the Kingdom, you will have to start photographing every enemy you come across.

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When talking about Autobuild, I mentioned that you should ideally start with the quest “Camera Work in the Depths” since it unlocks another ability. Well, now you know what reward that mission provides. Just follow the mission objectives, and the game will unlock the Camera once you reach the proper checkpoint.