The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a beautiful, occasionally breathtaking, and often reaffirming adventure through a fantasy world filled with whimsy and wonder. But it has a deep, dark underbelly. No, I’m not talking about Ganandorf and the gloom flowing out of the pit beneath Hyrule castle. I’m talking about Korok torture.
Tears of the Kingdom’s world is full of the little masked woodland creatures and many of them have been cut off or stranded from their friends. One of Link’s main duties throughout the game is to reunite Koroks in exchange for Korok seeds, one of the Breath of the Wild sequel’s most important upgrade currencies. But there are no strict rules for how to do that. The game lets Link use his Ultrahand ability to pick Koroks up by their overstuffed knapsacks and manipulate them at will as part of the game’s puzzle solving mechanics. And the results have been downright brutal.
Since its May 12 release, Tears of the Kingdom players have been crafting all manner of Korok torture devices. By accident? To experiment for the sake of science? Who can say. “The cruelty is the point,” The Atlantic’s Adam Sewer once wrote. That certainly seems to be the case here, with Tears of the Kingdom’s expressive rule set occasionally enabling a Rust-like hellscape of destructive open world hijinks.
I take no pleasure in being mean to NPCs, but even I accidentally launched a poor little Korok over the horizon when my plan to carry it up a mountain by using Recall on a recently descended Zonai glider went horribly wrong. Other players have come up with more intentional torture scenarios. Here are seven of them.
Naturally, one of the first things players did after obtaining one of the game’s Zonai rockets was strap a Korok to it. Some launched the lone creatures into orbit, while others tried to fire off entire platforms that eventually came crashing back down to earth faster than one of Elon Musk’s space shuttles.
Working late and need a whole-ass meal to feed that family that’s warm, delicious, and ready to eat with no extra work for just $5? Can I interest you in a rotisserie Korok? No? Are you sure? Hey wait, where are you going?
Apparently if you’re really diligent you can meticulously gather together a bunch of Koroks and glue them all together. One player then dragged them across Hyrule on their horse. This one’s just fucking sick, man.
Who said Korok torture devices can’t also be fun and charming? Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto has recently been busy designing Nintendo theme parks. How fitting that Tears of the Kingdom players are using Koroks to test out potential new designs. Is repeatedly making someone want to vomit a violation of the Geneva Conventions?
The Ultrahand ability lets Link place Koroks anywhere, including on the bumper of a makeshift Zonai vehicle. Say no to cringe bumper stickers and cheesy vanity plates. Say yes to this little guy screaming as you blow through everyone of Hyrle’s nonexistet red lights.
Last week I made a joke that the giant Tears of the Kingdom tractor trailer outside the Nintendo Store in New York City at the midnight launch was where the company put every one of the game’s leakers. One player has been rounding up Koroks in a prison transport in a similar fashion. Probably best not to give Nintendo any more ideas.
Passion of the Korok
The only more popular Korok torture device than the rocket launcher appears to be the crucifix. Maybe that’s because it’s so easy to put together. I don’t know why Tears of the Kingdom players think this is funny. It isn’t. Not even a little bit. Shame on all of you. Koroks can’t die, but if they could it still wouldn’t wipe away all your Tears of the Kingdom sins.