One of the biggest games of 2023 is just weeks away from launch, and previews for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom are in the wild. Like it or lump it, it seems as though Link’s been playing a whole lotta Minecraft and Fortnite since his last Switch outing. Crafting makeshift vehicles and contraptions with the Ultrahand ability will play a huge role in this adventure, allowing you to reach far-flung areas and evade hordes of baddies.
In the days since I managed to get my grubby little mitts on one of the most anticipated games in recent memory, there’s one thing I can’t stop thinking about — the rockets.
Yes, dear reader, Tears of the Kingdom allows you to attach a rocket to pretty much anything you’d like. Gliders, boats, levitating platforms, you name it. You can attach them to other objects vertically or horizontally. They make a satisfying fwoosh sound when you strike them with your sword to activate them, and emit a green flame for a short span of time. They even seem to work through perforated objects, like the stone platform shown in the video below.
I did explore this area in my demo, and mounted two rockets horizontally on the sides instead, because it didn’t seem particularly safe for my Hylian hero to be right next to the flame-belching business end of a rocket. I am now extremely curious if I could stealthily attach one to a snoozing enemy.
I’m guessing this whole “plonk it in the middle” approach would not work on a solid wooden object, but the physics at play here are pretty generous — you don’t have to be too precise in where you’re placing these things. Also, if you have more than one rocket attached to a crafted object, they all fire at the same time — I’m not sure if it’s possible to have an NASA-style multi-stage burn in Tears of the Kingdom.
It also seems as though Link can just kinda grab onto the side of a rocket and hold on for dear life. I did not attempt this, and it seems very unwise. (Translation: I am cursing myself for not doing this while I had the chance.) I cannot confirm if these kinds of reckless rocket shenanigans will require you to replace Link’s trousers once you’ve finished, though it would be a nice touch.
These portable jet engines belong to a new class of items introduced for the BotW sequel called Zonai Items. (Theorycrafters, start your engines!) There are also fans, hot air balloons, flamethrowers, single-use cooking pots, and probably a bunch more that Nintendo hasn’t revealed publicly yet. You can find them scattered around the world, as well as via big goofy gumball machines.
Sadly, there’s no such thing as a free rocket lunch in Hyrule. To get these items from the machine, you’ll need to fork over a few morsels of a new material known as Zonaite. You hold and then drop the Zonaite in the bowl in front of the device, as if you were about to cook an armful of ingredients. Then it barfs out a bunch of weird toys for you to play with. Hooray!
Sure, you could use the gentle current of a fan to propel that mine cart down the rails. You could affix a hot-air balloon to a sturdy wooden platform and amble skyward in a leisurely fashion. But why bother when the alternative is blasting into the blue Dr. Strangelove style and telling gravity to shove it for a brief, beautiful moment?
I can’t say for certain what section of the game the preview demo was pulled from — it was conspicuously devoid of spoilery landmarks and NPCs. It was probably not the first couple hours of the game, or a tutorial area like the Great Plateau in Breath of the Wild. What I’m getting at here is that you may have to wait a little while to get to the rockets. But hopefully not too long. Trust me, they are worth it.
Tears of the Kingdom launches on Nintendo Switch on May 12.