A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Themes of friendship, duty, and love run through a simple fantasy story about heroes taking on an ancient evil. Play encourages creativity, imagination, and trusting intuition and using critical thinking to persevere.
Positive Role Models
Link is a classic fantasy hero, compassionate, loyally helping friends, and coming to the aid of strangers as he works to protect the land from monstrous villains. He's a formidable fighter but often chooses other methods of getting around obstacles, showing self-control by using his wits to come up with novel solutions to puzzles and challenges. He embodies perseverance and courage.
None of the characters are human, but humanoids are presented with skin tones ranging from light to dark, and female characters are depicted in a variety of roles, from fighters and leaders to engineers and scientists.
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Ease of Play
There's a lot to learn, but the game is mostly intuitive. In-game tutorials walk players through each new mechanic as it's introduced. Puzzles and combat can be challenging, but there's rarely one "right" way to do anything, so players can find success in unexpected ways. Optional motion controls for aiming may assist players with disabilities.
Violence & Scariness
Combat is presented from a third-person perspective and involves standard fantasy elements such as swords, shields, axes, bows and arrows, explosives, and elemental magic. Link fights monsters similar to goblins, ogres, and fairies. They flash with energy when struck and disappear when dispatched. No blood or gore, though the animals Link hunts for food turn into raw, red steaks.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an action adventure game for Switch. A direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this game has content that's very similar. Players control the noble hero Link, a duty-bound and compassionate adventurer always willing to help those in need while working to rid the world of an ancient evil. He fights using swords, bows and arrows, and elemental magic to eliminate traditional fantasy monsters and demons, though without any blood or gore (enemies flash with light when struck and disappear once defeated). The bulk of players' time is spent exploring, solving puzzles, and intuitively building things -- such as bridges, boats, winged ships, and carts -- using a special telekinetic ability. This kind of play encourages kids to think outside the box, using their imaginations to create novel solutions. There's rarely a "right" way to accomplish a goal, but rather countless methods of varying complexity and creativity. While there are no humans in the game, humanoid characters are presented with a variety of skin tones, from light to dark, and female characters fill nonstereotypical roles ranging from leaders to scientists. Link presents a strong positive role model of courage, perseverance, and self-control, as he is proven to be a strong fighter but often chooses to resolve challenges in more creative ways.
Is It Any Good?
Nintendo doesn't often give players direct sequels to Zelda games, but when it does, you can expect something special. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom builds on everything players loved about Breath of the Wild by tweaking and augmenting play mechanics in meaningful ways. For example, the physics in the original game were brilliant, allowing players to use their intuition to do things like roll rocks down hills, use the buoyancy of water to make less dense objects spring up from the surface, and cause fire to spread through grassy fields and forests. All of that still applies, but with the new building and fuse systems, players can now apply these same concepts to the weapons, vehicles, and objects they create. What happens if you add wheels to a plank? A fan to the back of a raft? A rocket to a set of wings? A sword to a shield? The possibilities are almost endless, and a huge part of the fun is experimenting to see how you can use this freedom to overcome obstacles. There's rarely a single right solution to any problem.
The world of Hyrule, meanwhile, is now somehow even bigger and more fascinating to explore. The addition of floating islands and subterranean caves creates a three-tiered map with an astounding amount of verticality, challenging players to think about how best to navigate this capacious landscape. It's a land teeming with secrets, from strange rock formations and geoglyphs (enormous drawings carved into the earth) to cave systems players can explore Minecraft-style by hammering through walls of rock to find precious ores. It feels like nearly every inch of this beautiful, fantastical land has something waiting for curious players to discover. The compelling characters and memorable stories scattered throughout this picturesque kingdom are just the sugar on top. Such a thoughtfully designed world and the boundless creativity it offers players make The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom a worthy successor to one of the best games ever made.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.