Posted on October 27 2015 by Josh Tasaico
Hey guys and welcome to the latest edition of Zelda Dungeon Talks! This time around we are talking about block and torch puzzles. We have had experiences with block puzzles from day one when The Legend Of Zelda was first released. Whether you are moving a block to make something happen or you are moving it to reach a higher place, all of us have come across a block puzzle in our time playing Zelda. Same thing goes with torches. Ever since we have been able to light torches they have been a way to make chests appear, open doors and burn things. While they haven’t been around since the original game, they are still considered to be quite a classic Zelda puzzle. So what do you guys think? Should the tradition continue or is it time for the era of block/torch puzzles to come to an end?
In this week’s edition of Zelda Dungeon Talks various staff members will share with us their opinion on whether or not torch/block puzzles should stick around.
Jon Lett – View Profile
It is likely that Nintendo will always try and cater to the casual players of their series’. Whether they decide to focus more on hardcores for once doesn’t seem to matter. They act as though each new game will be the first in the series a large group of people will play, and therefore make things extremely easy. This practice is not ALWAYS what happens, but Zelda seems to have fallen victim to it several times. Traditional Zelda puzzles, such as the torch-lighting and block-pushing puzzles in question, are what we have seen since the first game, and there is not necessarily anything wrong with them, if they have a new spin on them with each new iteration, but there are many cases where the developers say, “people need a simple, easy transition into the game”, as if none of us have played a Zelda game before. Again, put a spin on them. Make them a mere part to a larger puzzle, but don’t keep rehashing the same puzzles, treating us all like noobs. Yes, give some easier options for newer players, but don’t keep forcing those things upon the fans that already know what they are playing.
Thomas Jacobs – View Profile
When people hear block puzzles and torch puzzles they tend to think simple puzzles that can be solved in a matter of seconds or are just a matter of moving to the right spot. Block puzzles can be so much more than that: just ask any older gamer about Sokoban. Even in The Legend of Zelda there have been a number of variations of the ol’ block puzzle. From the pushing of the triangles to get to the Master Sword in Wind Waker, the blocks on ice in Twilight Princess’ Snowpeak Ruins or even that one massively annoying statue you had to push in the Ice Palace in A Link to the Past that drove many a player to frenzied bouts of autocannibalistic frustration. Unless you went to Misery Mire first and got the Cane of Somaria so you could just skip that puzzle, of course. As for torch puzzles, they come in many flavors: Link lighting a stick on fire and getting from one fire to the next (with or without a time limit), lining up fire scones and lighting them on fire in a single shot from a fire arrow, being able to get to a place to light your fire without getting your fire source put out: there are a plethora of ways to do this. So they could remain in the series as the most basic of puzzles, but the series has shown that by using them in fresh and interesting ways they can remain fun to play.
Alexis Anderson – View Profile
Absolutely! Torch and block puzzles are the foundation of this great establishment and it would not be the same without. I jest, but in all honestly I would be greatly disappointed to play a Zelda game and not come across a torch or block puzzle. They’re so simple that they can be incorporated as filler puzzles when developers are under crunch time, the majority can occupy early temples to ease players into Zelda puzzle styles, or they can simply lead to hidden caves and be parts of side-quests that doesn’t need to be complex. I feel smaller puzzles like these are really important in Zelda games for the player to feel as though he or she is progressing at a faster rate; interspersed with more complex puzzles they give the game a much more enjoyable pace. And in all honesty, the amount of secrets I uncover because I’m suspicious of every torch I see makes me incredibly happy– they’re like treats for devoting so much memory storage to rather insignificant video game element.
Josh Tasaico – View Profile
I believe that they should keep torch and block puzzles mainly because they aren’t too difficult and are good for throwing in the first dungeon or two just to ease new players into the game. We’ve had block puzzles since the beginning and I don’t think that there is a Zelda game to date that doesn’t feature these types of puzzles, so why change that now? Simple puzzles are a nice change of pace in comparison to the much more complex puzzles that you find in later dungeons.