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25 essential Breath of the Wild tips to help you conquer Hyrule

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
(Image credit: Nintendo)

These Breath of the Wild tips are still essential, five years on from the game's release. That's because The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is so sprawling that we're still discovering secret hidden away in Hyrule, and new ways to combat the legions of enemies wandering around the open world expanse. Regardless of whether this is your first time playing or you're coming back for a repeat adventure, you'll want to remember as many of the best Breath of the Wild tips as you can.

These Breath of the Wild early game tips will still help you out when you push the 50 hour mark, outlining cool things you can do that are easy to miss and essentials for both combat and exploration. Given the size of the game, we hope that these essential 25 Zelda: Breath of the Wild tips will help you conquer Hyrule. 

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1. Complete shrines to get hearts and stamina 

Given that you only start the game with three hearts and what quickly becomes not enough stamina you need to up those stats and fast. It’s time to hit those shrines ASAP. Each of the 120 shrines scattered across Hyrule offers up a Spirit Orb upon completion. Earn 4 Spirit Orbs and you can exchange them for either another heart container or an addition to your green stamina bar. It’s not instant though - once you’ve got your four orbs, you’ll need to find one of the many statues of Hylia scattered across the world and pray to her. Your first statue is inside the Temple of Time but probably the easiest one to fast travel to is the one above in Kakariko Village. She’s standing peacefully in the middle of the pond surrounded by torches, and you can probably land right in front of her if you paraglide just right from the closest shrine. For more shrine info, check out our Breath of the Wild shrine guide.

2. Cooking is easy 

It might seem like stating the obvious, but cooking pots are exceptionally useful for crafting recipes and you’ll find them scattered across the world. To get your Masterchef on, all you need to do is head into your inventory and ‘hold’ all the items that you’d like to combine. The limit is five items but you can even cook individual apples etc if that’s all you’ve got. Once you’ve decided on your ingredients, press B to return to the game while holding everything, approach a cooking pot and then follow the cook prompt. You’ll then watch everything dance in the pot before finding out exactly what you’ve made, complete with satisfying jingle. For more in-depth culinary tips, head to our BOTW cooking recipes guide.

3. Keep an eye out for Hearty food and useful Shrooms 

There’s food in abundance scattered across the world, as long as you’re willing to go looking for it. Keep an eye out for mushrooms around the bottoms of trees - Stamella Shrooms are exceptionally useful for mixing into recipes to give you a much needed stamina boost, and there are plenty of extra abilities that come with various types of fungi. It’s also useful to keep your eyes peeled for anything with ‘hearty’ in the name. The Hearty Truffle, for instance, will temporarily increase your maximum hearts, making you seriously ready to take on your first dungeon or even a shrine combat trial against a particularly tricky Guardian. 

4. Elixirs come in seriously handy 

It’s fun to cook in Breath of the Wild but don’t ignore another big main source of extra abilities - namely, Elixirs. These don’t need any of those pesky ingredients like other recipes, they just need critters like butterflies, lizards and bits of monster. Combo up a Bokoblin Horn and a Restless Cricket, for instance, and you’ll get an Energizing Elixir that’ll completely restore your stamina. If it looks like it would probably taste vile while cooked together, then you can probably make an Elixir with it. The monster part you use will dictate how long the ability lasts, while the critter represents the ability itself. For more info on Elixirs, their ingredients and where to find them, check out our Breath of the Wild Elixir guide

5. You can change your mind on hearts and stamina

If you feel like you made a bad choice at the last Hylia statue, worry not as you haven't wasted your Spirit Orbs. For a price, you can switch out your stamina and heart containers if you head to a statue in Hateno Village. Hand over 100 rupees and this smart talking statue will steal your heart and give you back some stamina. The first time you meet it, it'll steal your heart but don't worry - just go and ask for it back and it'll hand it over then tell you how to do it in future. It's near the entrance to Hateno Village, down by Firly Pond. Here it is on the map in case you get stuck:

6. You don’t need a pot to cook food 

You can gather up to five ingredients from your inventory and chuck them in any available steel pot to cook them. Everybody who’s anybody in Hyrule knows that. But did you know you don't even need the pot? Head to a hot enough climate - Death Mountain or Gerudo Desert, for instance - and you can literally sear a steak on the ground. The reverse is true for cold environments like the Hebra Mountains, which make your meals icy. You can also start a fire anywhere, be it a bush, tree, or patch of grass, then drop a food item into the flame to roast it. Mmm.

7. You can use arrows to prep meat

Shoot an animal with an ice arrow and you’ll get instant frozen meat. Conversely, you can use a fire arrow to get cooked meat. Why would you want frozen meat? Cold cuts can cool Link’s internal temperature, which is very useful in some of the more sweltering locations. 

8. Rain affects surfaces but you can shield surf faster

There’s more to the rain than meets the eye. When the skies open up it actually makes climbing more difficult, since the cascading water coats surfaces and makes them slippery. Resultantly, every few feet you go up, you fall a foot down. Even the usual method of stamina conversion - climbing hand over hand rather than leaping - doesn't help avoid slippages. There’s nothing to do during showers but wait until it passes. It’s not all bad, though - rain makes the ground slicker, so surf on your shield (you do this by pressing block with ZL, then jumping with X, then hitting A) and you’ll go a lot faster down slopes. Try this on an icy one - Gerudo Highlands has plenty - and you’ll fly down it. 

9. Lightning storms will kill you if you’re holding metallic weaponry

Sometimes you’ll be running along, minding your own business, and you’ll start to notice sparks. A little at first, then loads. A few second later, you explode in a brilliant flash, and it’s game over. What happened? You got caught in a random lightning storm, which can strike at any moment. Don’t worry, it had us puzzled at first too. What you need to do when you first see sparks is immediately unequip all metallic armour and weaponry - your swords, bows, and apparel - and just wait until it’s over. Until then its wooden stuff all the way. Thankfully, Nintendo has put little icons next to any item that’ll get you fried, and there's rubber armour available to keep you nice and grounded against electrical attacks. 

10. Every horse is different 

Know your nags. In Breath Of The Wild, horses have different qualities. Once you've managed to sneak up on one, and calm in down, you can take it to the stable to have it assessed then get a saddle and bridle etc. Horses are rated out of strength, speed, stamina, and temperament, however there’s a way to know what composition to expect before you saddle up. Generally, mottled horses with two colours are slower and easier to climb up on. Solid colour horses, such as all-grey ones, tend to have four or more bursts of stamina, but will put up more of a fight when you first creep up and try to mount them. For these, stock up with a few elixirs or dishes that can refill your stamina when they start bucking. Also, you can use this bucking to your advantage: guide enemies around the backside of your horse and it’ll punt them directly in the face. For more equine advice, visit our Breath of the Wild horses tips.

11. Use your paraglider 

This might sound like an absurd suggestion,  but get using that paraglider. While of course you can clamber everywhere, run, or even ride across the planes, there's nothing like sailing over valleys from the top of the nearest tower. There's even the added bonus of being able to do stealth attacks from above - so sail over your your foes, grab your weapon or your bow and arrow, and do some serious damage before they even know you're there. The bow and arrow is ultra helpful as you go into a bullet style slo-mo sequence to make sure you snare the right shot. 

12. You can use food to bait fish

Food is clearly the quickest route to friendship in Hyrule. In the same way you can leave it for dogs to eat (more on this later), you can also drop food into bodies of water to attract fish. Why? Because a school of salmon gathered together nibbling a single morsel is easier to catch than a bunch of speedy individuals darting off in all directions. Different food pieces work, so experiment with whatever items you have a surplus of. We found most varieties of mushroom give the best results. We used this technique to catch a bunch of Hyrule Bass for the Great Fairy to the south of Tabantha Tower, which resides due west on the map, who uses them to upgrade your armour. Incidentally, you could also try stranding fish on dry land - if you swim up behind them and herd them towards the shore, they’ll actually leap onto the earth in sheer panic.

13. Rewards help you bond with your horse

If you notice your horse isn’t obeying your commands, and keeps veering off course and running into trees and generally giving you cause for concern that your controller is broken, worry not. It just means it doesn’t trust you yet (your horse, that is, and not your controller). For this you must reward your horse. Do it by pressing L while riding and giving it a nice pat when it’s done something you tell it to do. You’ll know it’s worked if you see a pink cloud of love gas. If it turns left when you tell it, for example, pat it. Soon enough the bond rating will rise. If your horse really isn’t paying attention, a quick fix is holding ZL to enter targeting mode. Moving in this mode makes the horse take smaller, more precise steps.

14. Octorok guts can make items fly

In what’s surely Nintendo’s ode to the marvellously strange Metal Gear Solid 5, Breath Of The Wild lets you attach balloons to objects to make them float in the air. To be more specific, the ‘balloon’ is officially called an Octo Balloon, an “inflatable Octorok organ with a lot of lift,” as its description reads. You loot them from the Octoroks - Zelda’s classic, river-based, rock-throwing enemies. You simply hold it in your hand then attach it to objects to see them float. Object too heavy? Attach multiple balloons. The Korok Leaf comes in handy here, too, because you can tie two balloons onto one bomb then waft it into enemy encampments. 

15. You can light grass on fire for updraft

Fire is more than a tool of destruction. When you start a blaze in a patch of grass (or anywhere else dry enough), it actually creates an updraft. Use this rapid air swell to your advantage by whipping out your paraglider, jumping by using X, then pressing X again to glide on it and get boosted way up into the air. This is handy if there’s a sheer rock surface you want to climb that Link’s stamina wheel isn’t big enough for, or if you want to get the drop on an enemy camp by approaching from the sky like a terrible eagle of death. Press Y to slash in the air and Link will do a devastating downward plunging attack. And it’s all thanks to fire. Thanks, fire.

16. Make the most of your Korok seeds

Remember those crafty little Koroks? This bizarre race of leaf-masked tree people first appeared in Wind Waker as pals of the Deku Tree. Hundreds of them are hiding throughout Hyrule - they emerge from the ground if you jump and land within any suspicious circle of rocks you see; they appear if you use your magnet to manoeuvre metal cube arrangements; some hide under lone grey stones; and some if you tread on their pressure-sensitive plates then trigger and complete their target shoot-out. Collect the Korok Seeds they drop as you'll need plenty for the later upgrades they count towards, which we won't spoil here. To track them down, take a look at our Breath of the Wild Korok Seed locations guide.

17. Strike the ghost bunny to get rich quick

One time, after spawning at the Ta’loh Naeg Shrine nearest Kakariko Village, I headed up the grassy hill to its right and found something very strange: a glowing blue bunny-type animal in the distance. It was a skittish little fellow and scrambled off as soon as it caught wind of me. I did, however, score a few meaty hits with my halberd, at which point it dropped pure money, green and blue rupees spraying out of its backside. I’ve seen this fruitful little guy approximately one time, and it won’t seem to spawn again, but I’m remaining vigilant for the ghost bunny.

Update: Commenters are suggesting just to leave the area if you don't manage to catch the bunny and then returning straight away.

18. Capturing fairies will help you cheat death

Do you want to live forever? Head to a Great Fairy Fountain and pick up some of the smaller, apparently less great fairies hovering around the gigantic flower petals. Having one in your possession is extremely useful, because it instantly revives Link when he dies. Even better, you can carry plenty of the blighters at any one time, meaning you can essentially cheat death. The fairies are quick, so you’ll need to sprint, paraglide, or shield surf in before they scatter. Alternatively, you can stealth in to save any chasing. An early Great Fairy Fountain lies just beyond Ta’loh Naeg Shrine nearest Kakariko Village. Fairy underlings - they’re still pretty great to us.

19. Found a rusty weapon? Fix it with an Octorok

Found a rusty weapon stuck in the ground? (Or indeed, stuck anywhere.) Here's some good news - if you throw it at an Octorok while it's inhaling, it'll suck it up and spit it back at you in pristine condition. You can also bounce Octorok projectiles back at them using a shield, in classic Zelda style. Tenta-cool. 

20. You can recruit canine companions

When you see a dog, you’ll immediately want to run up and pet it, because it’s a dog. Sadly, this isn’t Watch Dogs 2, and no such button exists. What you can do, though, is drop a juicy cut of meat for any canine you see and make friends with it. In turn, your new poochy pal will follow you around panting excitedly. It can also potentially lead you to treasure if you keep feeding it so if it just darts off, you'd better follow and see where it's heading. Sadly you can only have one furry friend, putting an outright damper on your dreams of a dog army with which to battle Calamity Gannon. Also, don’t try this bonding exercise with wolves, as they’ll just attack you. But yay! Doggos!

21. Armour is good for your stealth 

As suggested by commenter Red Glasses, investing in the Sheikah Stealth armour set means serious bonuses if you're having problems snaring those critters. When you've got all three bits of armour equipped, you're practically silent and can literally just walk up to collect fairies and critters. Just don't run and you'll probably be absolutely fine. It's also a great bonus if you're sneaking up on enemy camps and want to get nice and close to throw a bomb or use a bomb arrow on those deadly barrels. It's not cheap, but maybe combo this up with the above apple tip and you'll be silent and deadly in no time. 

22. Go fishing. With bombs. 

Helpfully suggested by LinkBomber, you can get serious hauls of fish if you throw and detonate a bomb into pools at just the right time. Who needs a spear or bait when you can just toss in explosives? Combo it up with the luring from one our previous tips and you'll have more fish than you'll know what to do with. When it comes to bombs, it's always easy to forget that they're there. If you don't have any bomb arrows, remember that a well placed throw can always do serious amounts of damage and keep an eye out for rocks that look like they're hiding a secret. 

23. Use elemental weapons to your advantage

So forgive us for getting a bit Destiny for a second but Breath of the Wild's elemental weaponry is useful for more than just high powered attacks. If you've got a torch lit or one of the rarer fire or ice rods, you can use it in cold or warm areas to help deal with extreme temperature. Equip a fire rod in a cold spot and, helpfully, Link won't die of hypothermia. We'd keep a store of relevant shroom recipes for cases like this too. 

24. Hunt down star fragments 

Now this is amazing. If you've been taking in the night sky, perhaps watching the horizon like Link is above, you might have seen an asteroid fall from the sky. And because it's Breath of the Wild, that means you can go and see what's arrived. If you can get there in time, you're going to find a Star Fragment. These are much sought after and useful for ancient armour and for enchanting armour with the Great Fairies. Don't worry, you're not going to have to just stare at the sky. 

Star Fragments only fall between 9:30pm and 2am and only during the full moon. Breath of the Wild runs on an 8 day cycle and, helpfully, Hino at the Duelling Peaks Stable can tell you what kind of moon there's going to be. Mess around at the fire at the Stables until it's noon on a full moon day. Make your way to a high point in Hyrule and keep your eye on the horizon. Eventually you'll see fire across the night sky and observe the fragment land in the distance. Now all you need to do is find it before morning. Grab some swift carrots and you'll be well on the way. 

25. You can ride a bear

Look. A BEAR. It's an actual bear. If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise. And that's the fact that you can ride Baloo. Sneak up on your new bear pal and you can mount him or her just like a normal stallion. It's not good for much except barreling into enemy groups but you're riding a bear into battle. It's important to note, however, that the Stables don't like it terribly much when you try and board one. 


If you're looking for something new to play, why not check out the most exciting upcoming Nintendo Switch games, including Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.

Breath of the Wild horses tips | Breath of the Wild unbreakable sword | Breath of the Wild Captured Memories | Breath of the Wild Shrine guide | Breath of the Wild Korok Seed locations | Breath of the Wild cooking recipes | Breath of the Wild Old Man locations

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode. 

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