Wolf Link’s Tears of the Kingdom Minimalist Playthrough

I’ve been waiting a while to post this one. Right now SGDQ 2024 is acclimating everyone to games being played very quickly, but this post is about a game being played over a long, long period, so by comparison, it should feel even looooonger. Longer than you’d expect maybe from the run being called minimalist.

Wolf Link has, for ten months, been trying to play The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in a minimalist fashion. By their definition, minimalist means getting a 100% map completion. That doesn’t seem too obvious, does it? But 100% map, which is the closest the game has to declaring you’ve finished 100% of the game. There is no 100% game completion counter. Filling out all of the map is as close as it gets.

That’s still a whole lot of things. It means unlocking all the towers, getting all the Korok seeds, and doing absolute everything need to get everything to appear on the map. What Wolf Link means by minimalist is going as little as possible beyond that, regarding to changes in world and game state.

For example. There’s a sword on the ground. You pick up the sword, and it makes the little item-discovered jingle for finding a type of item the first time, and putting its name up in a little description box. That’s not okay, because now Link knows about that kind of item, so go back to your last save.

Discovering a few types of items like this is unavoidable. Anything that has to be discovered in order to fill out all of the map, well, that can’t be helped, right? But what actually has to be done to get to that point? Are there sneaky ways around collecting essential items? And there are a lot of items that, the first time they’re collected, mark themselves on the run in an indelible way. Most items, in fact. Getting items out of chests that don’t respawn is also outlawed if there’s any way to get to 100% without it. Completing shines is also forbidden after the first four, so the whole game is played with four hearts and one stamina wheel, or later, possibly, three hearts and a little over one stamina wheel.

In Tears of the Kingdom, however, there’s still lots of things you can do. All of the powers you pick up in the first shrines, as it turns out, are essential to getting 100%, so all of those abilities are open. Meaning, especially, you get Ultrahand and the ability to glue things together. Getting Zonai items in capsules isn’t allowed, but using those that are found around Hyrule in the field is. The precise rules are laid out on the Rules tab of the document here.

Another interesting thing, it turns out, that you can do, that turns out to be essential in this challenge, is [spoilers]: unlocking Mineru, the Sage of the Spirit Temple that players aren’t even told about until finishing the other four temples, can be done first. She can be the first sage you get! And the useful thing about that is that Zonai devices can be attached to her, then she can be ridden to use those devices at will. Unlocking her early though by the rules of the Minimalist Run requires doing the Thunderhead Isles in the Sky without clearing the thunderstorm, which is no mean trick.

Over ten months the series has gotten up to 34 videos, and there’s quite a ways to go. The journey already is a long one, but here it is as it stands: