Challenge Accepted: Three of the Most Challenging In-Game Puzzles in The Legend of Zelda Series

By: Noah Glaser

A key component to the Legend of Zelda video game series is that there are puzzles that must be solved in almost every part of the gameplay.  Some of these puzzles are simple or maybe even mundane (because let’s face it, running back and forth to Lake Hylia to the top of Death Mountain for a big knife to get upgraded was just the most. fun. ever….I digress), but these puzzles often must be solved in order to progress to the next stage of the main quest for that specific game.

To kick it off, I think we can all agree that The Water Temple in Ocarina of Time is annoying and maybe even one of the of the most dreaded dungeons throughout the series, but we wanted to explore other puzzles and dungeons that we find ourselves stumbling through.

To get this list started, we’ll explore the only traumatizing (over-dramatic, perhaps?) dungeon from the most recent entry in the Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Sky Keep.

Sky Keep is the final dungeon from Skyward Sword and boy does this dungeon deliver in regards to being difficult.  The objective: rearrange the rooms to obtain the three pieces of the Triforce.  The problem: constantly needing to move the map around to get to these rooms.

The dungeon follows suit from previous games’ final dungeons in regards to culminating themes and appearances from the dungeons previously in that specific game.  Skyward Sword’s Sky Keep utilizes the music of these other dungeons to remind you of what you previously did in the game, which should trigger an idea of what you need to do to solve each room.  You’ll find yourself using the majority of your dungeon items (i.e. The Beetle, which has become a staple for Skyward Sword for being an awesome tool) to solve this main dungeon.

The next two on the list come from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.  A personal favorite of mine, Twilight Princess brought the 3-D environment of Hyrule into a much larger capacity in this Gamecube (and Wii) title.  The puzzles weren’t anything too drastically new, but that didn’t mean they weren’t difficult.

The first one we’ll go over is the Twilight Princess Sacred Grove Puzzle.  Attempting to get the Master Sword in Twilight Princess isn’t as easy, but if you’re going to prove you’re the real Hero, you should be able to solve this puzzle, right?

What makes this puzzle a little more annoying than most:  if you don’t figure out the pattern immediately, you’ll find yourself playing with your controller like it’s a Rubik’s cube.  Trying to solve this puzzle can get tough if you’re not paying close attention.

After making your way through Twilight Princess’ version of The Lost Woods, Wolf-Link and Midna arrive to a dead end that features a marking of the Triforce.  On your way to this point you would have picked up a new song to howl, Zelda’s Lullaby.  Howl this tune on the Triforce and the two guardians will awaken.

The game then takes on a different camera angle and you are presented with a bunch of squares to leap between.  The guardians tell you to place them where they once stood, so that’s the mission objective.  Here’s the big hint – these guys will perform the same action you do, only they do the opposite of each other (i.e. if Link jumps up 1 square, one of the guards will jump up and the other down (unless they are cornered and can’t make that move)).

This puzzle can be very tricky, but at the same time once you figure out the pattern you need to take, the puzzle becomes a little easier.  The best way to solve this puzzle is to go left, down, right, right, up, left, up, up, left, down, down, right, and up.  The chart below has the 13-dance step completely plotted out.  Of course this is assuming you’re playing on the Wii.  If you’re on the Gamecube, you might want to reverse the left and rights (as for some reason Nintendo decided to make the puzzles on each system differ by left and right direction differences).

Follow these directions and you’ll find yourself free from headache and that much closer to obtaining that legendary blade…The Master Sword!!!

The last puzzle we’ll go over comes from later in Twilight Princess.  In the Snowpeak Ruins dungeon, there is a room that you visit twice, both times needing to solve a block puzzle.

Ocarina of Time introduced new ways to deal with giant block puzzles and this specific puzzle has a similar feel, only more slick than what we’re used to, after all, the dungeon’s name is Snowpeak Ruins, emphasis on the words snow and peak.   Ice is abundant in this dungeon and this dungeon’s item, the ball and chain (convenient item for a dungeon that has a husband/wife duo, don’t you think?), helps you out, which you’ll need for the second part of this puzzle.

Nowhere near as involved or annoying if you make a mistake, this puzzle can be solved in a matter of a few pushes, and even if you make a mistake, it’s easier here than dealing with the statue guards hopping from square to square.

The blocks should be pushed accordingly: The block that is towards the southeast of the room needs to go west.  The other block that’s in the northwest part of the room needs to go south, then east, south, west, and south again.  This should have it so it lands on the switch, allowing you to proceed.  The block frozen in ice?  We’ll be back for it.

After you get so far in the dungeon, you should have fought a mini-boss for the ball and chain, so this tool makes destroying ice a lot easier.  Break free the frozen block and any others that have ice on them, then focus on the block that is sitting towards the south of the room, push it north.  The block that we just released from ice needs to be pushed south, west, and then north.  The block we moved first (the one we sent only north) needs to be sent east, south, west and back north to land on the switch.  Continue on, Hero!

From moving actual dungeons around to pushing blocks on ice, The Legend of Zelda series has many difficult puzzles and trials to make up a style of gameplay that we as fans just love and continue to enjoy!  Did we not cover what you thought was the most difficult?  Join us on Facebook and Twitter and make sure we hear you!


One thought on “Challenge Accepted: Three of the Most Challenging In-Game Puzzles in The Legend of Zelda Series

  1. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was
    super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

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