The Legend of Zelda series has always been about adventure. With a vast open world to explore and tons of tiny little secrets, it can get taxing for one boy in green tights to handle. On top of the usual Hyrulian spelunking, A Link Between Worlds adds another kingdom to the mix – "Lorule" (get it?).
Here's a bit of help to prevent you from searching high and low for some of the answers hidden within the darkest depths of the game.
After booting up the game and finishing your first (easy) dungeon, it's time to run some errands! Immediately head to Kakariko Village to the west, and familiarize yourself with the layout. You'll want to visit the old man standing out in the open on the far left of the town to enable StreetPass functionality (more on that later). The first item on your shopping list is a shield, which you can prop up by pressing the right trigger. It's 50 Rupees – an amount you may not have already. Before you buy it, go to bee house (it literally has a giant bee icon on it) and get the net item.
Farm the grass, bushes and pots around Kakariko for Rupees (the south western corner is perfect) until a bee flies out – have your net ready, catch it, and turn it in to the bee keeper for 50 Rupees – that's your shield money. Next you're going to want to farm for some more cash in the same manner (grass and pots), then buy the bottle for 100 bucks from the merchant in the middle of town. With all of this in hand, you're pretty much set for the first third of the game.
Your next stop is the fortune teller directly north of town, who will provide you with the hint glasses. These will allow you to pay ghosts with Play Coins for hints in certain areas. Ghosts don't appear everywhere, so make sure you search in key locations, like directly in front of a dungeon. You can also revisit the fortune teller if you need to know exactly how to enter each dungeon in the game.
Confused on where to go next? Head home to be introduced to one of the biggest components of A Link Between Worlds – item renting. You can actually "rent" almost every item in the entire game – like bombs, the fire rod or boomerang – right at the start, provided that you have the scratch to pay for it. If the shop keep is having a "sale," that generally denotes which item you need to use next – so keep that in mind if you're strapped for cash. Also note that if you die, all of your rented items will return to the shop, so be mindful of your hearts, and farm grass and pots more often to prevent having to go back to the shop all over again. As a side note, as soon as you get to Lorule (you'll know it when you get there), bomb the back of your house for another easy bottle. You can store hearts, fairies, milk, potions and apples in bottles to give yourself a health boost when you need one.
Before long, you'll obtain one of the most essential skills in the entire game – the ability to meld into a surface as a 2D painting, and traverse levels by way of the walls (I call it the "shadow shimmy"). You're going to have to get used to looking for grates, cracks in the walls, and other unusual ways to get around if you want to defeat most of the game's dungeons.
Try to find rubble on the walls (denoting where the shadow shimmy has to stop), and devise where potential wall-runs could take place. Also don't forget, the shadow shimmy can even be used as an attack if you "pop out" onto a foe. That leads me to my number one rule in A Link Between Worlds: "when in doubt, shadow shimmy, break every pot, or kill every enemy in the room." This will solve many dungeon puzzles, as the solution to a locked door often lies under a pot in the form of a switch, or a simple trigger that requires every enemy in the room to perish.
A Link Between Worlds doesn't tell you this for a while, but you can hold B to use the iconic charge attack once you get your sword. You see that area of effect (AOE) circle that lights up for a second when you hold the button down? That's actually the range of the attack – very useful for group situations to help gauge how many enemies you're actually going to hit. You can also "prime" the circle swing ability without actually using it, which queues up a special stabbing stance. This stance will not break until you hit an enemy, so it's especially useful for "dueling" soldiers with shields or other tricky weak spots.
As for other enemy encounters, here are some quick tips to help best some of the more annoying creatures in the game. For the leaping Stalfos (skeletons), keep swinging at them to back them into a wall or corner, then whale away at them without hesitation to keep them there. For the blue and red bumper squids (Hardhat Beetles) use your shield to "bounce" them back off of a ledge – resist the urge to use your sword, as it may bounce you off instead. The same thing goes for the rooms that fling floor tiles at you (Flying Tiles) – just back yourself into a wall and hold up your shield.
To avoid those statues that shoot beams out of their eyes (Beamos), use your shadow shimmy to stick to wall and mitigate damage entirely. When those giant hands come into play (Wallmasters), use the ice rod to drop an aerial beam onto them before they can even strike. Finally, the mouse mask enemies (Red and Green Goriya) can be a pain, but they actually mirror your movements – set up a bomb, and slowly walk them into it to make short work of them.
On the overworld, don't forget about the tack system, which allows you to mark certain key points on the map with a pin. It's handy for marking important locations that don't otherwise show up on the map, like fairy caves or treasure dungeons. You can even color code the pin heads to help organize your markers. Marking save points (which are now bird themed weather-vanes) is ideal until you unlock the fast travel system that uses said weather-vanes. If you see a sleeping bird, wake it up immediately – it means you don't have that save spot unlocked yet. Weather vanes tend to go crazy if you haven't saved in a while, so make sure you heed their warning. A Link Between Worlds has no auto-save system – so if you forget to save after five hours, whatever you last manually saved is all you have.
As I mentioned before, A Link Between Worlds has StreetPass functionality, but the NPC that unlocks it may tell you that your "StreetPass list is full." By now, you've probably acquired a number of games on your 3DS and didn't realize that there actually was a limit, but it is a thing that exists. To free up space, go to your 3DS' main menu, select "System Settings" then tap "Data Management," and finally "StreetPass Management." Now you can enable StreetPassing!
Once you beat A Link Between Worlds, you'll unlock the traditional "Hero Mode," which increases the game's difficulty, so make sure and follow these tips if you want to save "Hy and Lo" Rule once and for all!
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