Legend of Zelda has brought many a fond memories to gamers across the world and with the release of Breath of the Wild, that all-too-familiar nostalgia has come rushing back. From plunging through the depths of the water temples to discovering all of the little Easter eggs and defeating every and all iterations of Ganon, Legend of Zelda definitely holds up as one of the greatest game series of all time. Nintendo loves having their gamers save princesses from the clutches of evil monsters, but for some reason that resonates so well.
Zelda definitely has a lot of entertaining elements that continuously make the games better and better; one of those elements being their famous puzzles. From the simplicity of shoving ice blocks across a slippery floor to reflecting light off of a shield and burning the face off of a statue, the puzzles have tested gamers for decades upon decades. Testing not only their critical thinking ability but also the ability to analyze and utilize their surroundings, Zelda has had some incredibly challenging puzzles. So with that being said here are the 15 Hardest Legend of Zelda Puzzles!
15. Gold Skulltulas (Ocarina of Time)
Ocarina of Time is held rather dear in many people’s hearts. Not only because it was the first 3D Zelda, but also due to it being the first solidified storyline in the Zelda timeline. Throwing us in a numerous number of dungeons and encounters, Ocarina of Time seemed to have mastered both ends of the spectrum.
Throughout your Ocarina of Time experience, you might hear some annoying shuffling in certain rooms in dungeons. If you happen to find the source of the noise you’ll discover a golden spider, these are the gold skulltulas. You can collect these throughout the game in various rooms and dungeons. There are 100 skulltulas total, opting for a game-wide experience of searching. You’ll have to hit them with a slingshot or your hookshot to acquire them, then you can give them to the accursed family in the seemingly abandoned house in Kakariko Village for rewards!
Be sure to be patient and take your time, because this puzzle has no immediate reaction and requires complete exploration of Hyrule’s dungeons. Rewards range from pieces of hearts to the big wallet and bombchus.
14. Lorule Ice Ruins (Link Between Worlds)
Link Between Worlds was one of the more exciting Zelda releases within the past few years. Taking place in the same universe as the fan favorite A Link to the Past, Link Between Worlds is all about how Link can turn into a drawing. This allows Link to paste himself onto walls so that he can navigate those tough to reach nooks and crannies. As if Zelda didn’t have enough nostalgia power it takes place in the same world as Link to the Past?! Nintendo really has a powerful grasp on their business model.
Link Between Worlds has several intriguing puzzles but the one that seems to cause the most unrest is the Lorule Ice Ruins. This dungeon is the final dungeon before you face the incarnation of hate and malice, Ganon. Ice seems to be one of Link’s biggest downfalls and the Lorule ruins are no different. With the entirety of the floors being slippery, to frozen obstacles and even frozen enemies, the Lorule ruins prove quite tough and also quite chilling. The Fire Rod item and Hookshot are required heavily throughout the dungeon in order to defeat the enemies and solve the puzzles, but this dungeon proves to be one large puzzle, landing it on the list.
13. Operating the Canon (Twilight Princess, Snowpeak Ruins)
Twilight Princess is one of the more exciting and story-heavy Zelda games in the franchise. With a rather dark storyline revolving around the Twilight Realm and some pretty evil and terrifying demons rolling around Hyrule, Twilight Princess has some pretty difficult dungeons, one of which is called The Snowpeak Ruins.
The Snowpeak Ruins consist of a confused, sick Yeti woman leading you around a Labyrinth where she is supposedly guiding you to the “Big Key.” In several areas of Snowpeak Ruins, you’ll need to operate strangely placed cannons. These are operated by finding the cannonballs, which are depicted as red dots on the mini map, and placing them in the cannon along with a bomb. Then you’ll need to aim the canon at your desired target. You’ll need to navigate the ruins in strange ways to reach the balls, and bring them to the correct cannon. You’ll need to take out certain ice obstacles blocking your way, making this puzzles tedious and challenging, to say the least.
12. Finding Princess Ruto (Ocarina of Time, Lord Jabu Jabu’s Belly)
Ocarina of Time had so many different versions of its own world. From child Link and the light world to being adult Link and the dark world; Hyrule goes from joyous and lively to deserted and desolate. Before needing to free the six sages as adult Link, you must acquire all three spiritual stones as child Link to ultimately open up the door to The Temple of Time.
The third spiritual stone is found in Lord Jabu Jabu’s Belly, where Princess Ruto claims she has been entering since she was a small child. Princess Ruto holds onto the stone, which she claims is a substitute for an engagement ring, eventually giving it to Link. However, leading up to these events you need to navigate Lord Jabu Jabu’s insides to find her and carry her around on your head.
After you defeat the boss inside Lord Jabu Jabu and return Princess Ruto to safety, she gives you the spiritual stone. She is quite the needy companion, to put it lightly, and must be carried everywhere. And if you drop or lose her, she returns back to the beginning of the dungeon and you must retrieve her and return to where you were previously. Making for one of the most annoying companions in video games, this easily lands Princess Ruto’s puzzle on the list.
11. Poe Puzzle (Ocarina of Time, Forest Temple)
After being allowed entrance into The Temple of Time as a child, Link gains access to the master sword. This allows him to travel forward in time and become adult Link, which will lead to him either defeating Ganon or being killed by Ganon. As his adult self, Link must complete a series of temples in order to free the six sages, which will ultimately help him defeat Ganon. The temples usually revolve around an element of the world (fire, water, earth, etc.)
The first temple you must complete is the Forest Temple. In the main room of the temple, there are four torches. The four “Poe Sisters” steal the flames, which happen to power the elevator in the center. They disperse themselves throughout the temple and you must find them and return them to the main room, returning power to the elevator. This elevator leads you to encounter the first boss in Ocarina.
The Poe Sisters hide within several different puzzles inside of the dungeon and you must defeat them in a fight before retrieving the flames. Link literally scrawls across the entirety of the dungeon in order to find these Poe Sisters, making it a drudging puzzle that takes quite a bit of searching, and maybe even a few rage quit episodes.
10. Pressing the Sacred Crest Against the Sea (Phantom Hourglass)
One thing that Nintendo has always strived to do is be unique. With every Zelda installment, Nintendo tries something brand new. This includes being rather “meta” in terms of the way that they will execute their puzzles. One example of this is in the DS game The Phantom Hourglass.
Phantom Hourglass is a sequel to the widely popular Wind Waker installment. Phantom Hourglass utilized the dual screen of the Nintendo DS in a lot of different ways. Allowing the player to see a map on the top and the actual game on the bottom, Nintend created another unique aspect to their games.
They even went to the effort of crafting a puzzle where the played must press the Sacred Crest against the sea. This puzzled gamers for hours upon hours, possibly even days. The way to solve the puzzle is to physically close the Nintendo DS so that the top screen physically touches the bottom screen. If you managed to solve this puzzle before snapping the DS in half, you deserve to be rewarded for your genius and masterful Zelda playing.
9. Retrieving the Sols (Twilight Princess, The Twilight Realm)
Twilight Princess is known for its unique involvement with the “Twilight Realm”. The Mirror of Twilight was used to execute criminals by sending them to the “underworld”, which just so happens to be the Twilight Realm. Throughout the game you will have collected pieces of the mirror Zant has broken so you can enter the Twilight Realm and defeat him.
Upon entry there is one place to go; a foreboding dark series of rooms. At the end of this series. you see a hand holding a bright white sphere. Midna says it is like the sun to them. Once you take it, the hand comes alive, following you through the puzzling series of rooms, trying to get it back from you. This is Twilight Princess’ version of the “Wall Master”.
8. The Ghost Ship (Wind Waker, The Ghost Ship)
Wind Waker was the culmination of 3D Zelda. It had been quite sometime since a Zelda game had been released, so Nintendo deemed Wind Waker the perfect game to release with their brand new Gamecube system. Wind Waker is an incredible installment in the Zelda franchise, and is revered as some gamers’ favorite Zelda game. Obviously Ocarina of Time remains a fan favorite, but Wind Waker comes in close second.
Wind Waker falls into the child timeline of the Zelda series and also takes place largely out on the seas versus on land. In Wind Waker, Link is tasked with finding the pieces to the Triforce so he can defeat Ganondorf. After heroically sailing across the seas, you discover one of the pieces lies on a ghost ship.
Now, the ship itself is not necessarily difficult. Once you make it onto the ship, all you have to do is fight some enemies and retrieve the Triforce piece. What’s difficult is actually getting onto the ghostly pirate ship. Before you get on the ship you need to find the ghost ship map which will allow you access to the ship itself. Scouring the seas to find the ship map is incredibly tedious and difficult, and earns this puzzle’s ranking.
7. Sneaking Around the Fortress (Wind Waker, Forskane Fortress)
The main plot to the Wind Waker game is you are trying to rescue Link’s sister, who has been kidnapped by Ganondorf. Link then leaves his home of Outset Island with a group of pirates led by Tetra, and they agree to help Link find his sister. This leads to the famous searching across the high seas that everyone has grown to know and love in Wind Waker.
One of the first places that Link searches for his sister is the Forbidden Fortress, a terrifying place filled with enemies and ever-seeking search lights. Link enters the fortress by being launched from a canon on Tetra’s ship, which lands him on the fortress but causes him to lose his sword. Link must then sneak around the fortress Solid Snake-style in order to find his sword so he can defeat the terrifying enemies. Link must hide under barrels, sneak past the pigs, sidle across walls, etc. Wind Waker manages to successfully mix Metal Gear Solid and Legend of Zelda, a terrifically challenging combination.
6. Three Day Limit (Majora’s Mask)
Majora’s Mask is one of the darker Zelda games. Joining the ranks of Twilight Princess, Majora’s Mask creates a world that is rather dark and mysterious. With a giant, terrifying moon looming over Termina, Link is tasked with ensuring that it does not fall. However, he only has 72 hours to do so. Utilizing Ocarina of Time’s “Song of Time”, Link goes back 72 hours so that the moon will not fall and kill everyone. He is faced with skull kid, who has taken control of Majora’s mask.
Thus ensues Link’s quest to save the world, in three days. He can use the ocarina to go back in time, to restart the three days. There are ten main dungeons to within in the three-day time frame, in order to prevent the falling of the moon, and the ultimate demise of Termina. Majora’s Mask is quite spooky, especially if you played the game as a child. That moon is absolutely haunting.
5. Oasis Puzzle (Wind Waker, The Oasis)
As in most Zelda games, Wind Waker forces you to interact with characters all across the world. When you come into contact with the school teacher on Windfall Island, she tells you that she desperately wants 20 Joy Pendants. These pendants are acquired simply enough; in grass, defeated enemies, etc. When you give them all to her, she gives you the deed to the “Private Oasis”. You are now the owner of a seemingly high end oasis, armed with your very own butler.
Then you can attempt slide puzzles, each having 4×4 tiles. Link can try up to 16 of these, each with a 50 rupee reward at their end. Completing all 16 gives him a 200 rupee reward. These puzzles give Link a grand total of 950 rupees. Though acquiring the pendants are simple enough, it still takes some tedious care and attention in order to get 20 of them. But if you take your time and have patience, Link becomes a rich little hero.
4. Returning the Guardian Statues (Twilight Princess, Sacred Grove)
This puzzle is absolutely notorious throughout the Zelda fan community. Many have been unable to complete the game without searching online for a walkthrough. After the famous “Midna’s Desperate Hour” events, it has become known that Link has been cursed with Zant’s magic and is stuck in wolf form. The only way to get him back to normal is to touch the “Blade of Evil’s Bane”, or the Master Sword.
As you go through the sacred grove to get to the Master Sword, you are met with the guardian statues. They order you to put them where they once stood and jump vertically opposite each other. Wherever you choose to move, one will move the same direction, and one will move oppositely. This puzzle makes fans feel almost as if the statues are purposefully messing with you. Unlike most Zelda games, where it is rather simple to acquire the Master Sword, Twilight Princess prefers to torture its players.
3. Stair Rotation (Twilight Princess, Lakebed Temple)
The Legend of Zelda’s water temples are notorious for their difficulty, and Twilight Princess’ variation is absolutely no exception. The main room has a large staircase in the center. Upon progression, you discover that it can be rotated, and that it’s necessary to do so to advance further. Discovering where it needs to point, which way to go, and truly, what to do, is made extremely difficult by this staircase. It’s used to fill the temple with water so you can reach the boss, but doing so is no easy task, with this staircase proving to be the largest obstacle inside of this temple. One wrong move can jeopardize your entire dungeon experience and orientation.
If there is one thing that Zelda and Nintendo have done to people throughout the years, it’s making them despise water. Water gave many a child PTSD during Ocarina, and a new wave of Zelda fans experience a similar form with Twilight Princess.
2. Mirror Room (Majora’s Mask, Stone Tower Temple)
Majora’s Mask has some of the most difficult puzzles in Zelda history. As if the three day time limit isn’t stressful enough, the temples that Link must endure are nerve-wracking on their ownwho . The Stone Tower is the ultimate test of a Zelda player, forcing the gamer to utilize every single thing that Link has acquired up until this point, from masks or items that you’ve picked up throughout the game to new abilities he’s learned.
The section of the Stone Tower that proves to be one of the most difficult is the mirror room, which forces you to reflect sunlight off of your shield from object to object, then basically rinse and repeating this process. This leads to one of the final rooms before Link faces the mini-boss. Stone Tower is one of the longest and most difficult temples in a Zelda game, and this annoying mirror room just adds to the player’s suffering.
1. Fierce Deity Tasks (Majora’s Mask, Inside the Moon)
At the end of Majora’s Mask, Link enters the moon that is looming over Termina. Inside Termina, Link prepares to fight with the Skull Kid and the actual entity of Majora’s Mask. One way that this fight can be completed is without talking to a few kids sitting underneath a tree once you are inside of the moon. Or you can talk to the kids and complete the tasks that each of them have for you. You can choose to give all the different kids all of your masks, in order to acquire the overpowered “Fierce Deity Mask.” These tasks are all unique; one is done as a human, one is done with the zora mask, one is done with the goron mask, and one is done with the deku scrub mask. Each of these tasks is extremely difficult and take trial and error for the average player, proving again that Majora’s Mask will push its players to the limits right before the final boss of the game.
What are some of your favorite Legend of Zelda puzzles? Did we miss any on this list? Leave a comment below and let us know!