When it comes to cool feats in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you probably think you’ve seen it all. You’ve caught the speedrunners and Korok seed completionists. You’ve seen someone, or perhaps many someones, run essentially naked up to Calamity Ganon’s throne and defeat him effortlessly. But hold on there, this one might be new to you: A “minimalist” run.
This week, Reddit user Distinct_Basket528, whose real name is Joey, posted what by any measure is a minimalist run of BotW. He didn’t buff his health or stamina beyond the base levels. He didn’t talk to Impa, a side character who kinda puts the whole game in motion. He certainly didn’t get the Master Sword. Still, he managed to defeat all four Divine Beasts (regional bosses) and Calamity Ganon, the final boss.
Here’s a map showing his route through Hyrule:
The run is labeled as having been completed with zero shrines (self-contained puzzles that grant you stat bonuses) or towers (platforming challenges that reveal more of the map), but that’s not quite the case.
Speaking to Kotaku, Joey noted that he technically completed four shrines and one tower, because he couldn’t get off the Plateau—Breath of the Wild’s tutorial starting area—without playing through them. “I tried to fall cancel off but it wouldn’t let me,” he said, the term a common BotW speedrun hack that allows you to survive any fall by essentially pretending to throw an equipped weapon. (Here’s a video tutorial of how to do it.)
Joey, who’s cumulatively sunk 450 hours into Breath of the Wild, said the minimalist run took about five hours across two days. First, he made his way to Vah Medoh, not because Medoh is a breeze to complete or anything, but Joey simply needed the Revali’s Gale ability, a cooldown move that allows you to blast into the air, to better get around Hyrule. Otherwise, he’d have a ton of issues on account of that whole Not Having Any Stamina thing, which begets an entirely separate Not Being Able To Climb Stuff thing.
After that, he knocked out Vah Ruda (“one of the easier divine beast missions”). He saved Vah Rudania for last.
“I honestly just wanted to put off Rudania as long as possible,” Joey said, echoing a sentiment plenty of BotW players have about the volcano-dwelling beast. (If you’ll allow me a moment of gratuitous editorialization: [middle finger emoji] Vah Rudania [second middle finger].)
But no moment in the run was more memorable, says Joey, than fighting through the monster-infested steps of Hyrule Castle. In fact, it was the impetus.
“I had never done it with that little equipment so it was harder than it had been in the past,” Joey said. “But I mainly did this because I liked the narrative of Link waking up, blowing through all of the divine beasts, and then going straight to beat Ganon, so it was cool to play that out and give myself a fun challenge.”
That’s the beauty of BotW. Yes, Nintendo’s sprawling open-world game has a plot of its own. But it’s also the type of game that allows players to tell their own stories. It’s the type of game where, roughly four years on and about a year ahead of an anticipated follow-up, players are still discovering new tricks, learning new secrets, and finding new ways to play. Just this year, one player cracked open what many believed to be an “impossible” chest. Another went through the effort of completing a run without stepping in the same spot twice. And that’s to say nothing of a new glitch, BLS Sliding, that’s poised to radically change the game’s robust speed-running scene.
“I just love that the non-linear format of this game makes for such cool ways to play like this,” Joey said.