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Recall is easily Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s most galaxy brain — and helpful — ability

I’m convinced there’s nothing I can’t do with the help of Recall

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s Recall ability is, on paper, simple: You can target an object and rewind the path of that object. To put it another way, if you throw a rock and hit Recall on it at the spot where it lands, it’ll return to the spot it was thrown from. It’s an especially helpful tool in solving Tears of the Kingdom’s shrines and temples, both to fix mistakes and solve complex, moving puzzles.

But it’s also so much more than that — especially when combined with Tears of the Kingdom’s other incredible abilities, like Ultrahand.

When I first started playing Tears of the Kingdom, the flashiest and most appealing new abilities were Ultrahand and Fuse, for obvious reasons. Ultrahand, for one, is the tool used for combining items found throughout Hyrule into literally anything you can think of: Korok torture devices, devastating war machines, and even pickup trucks. Fuse is the weaponry equivalent, allowing you to combine materials and weapons into Keese eye honing arrows or flame-emitting shields. That’s the part of Tears of the Kingdom that’s designed to get a fuck yeah! out of you. Meanwhile, its quieter counterpart in Recall is actually stealing the show.

My first introduction into Recall was using it to solve puzzles in shrines, and, moreover, to fix mistakes I’ve made in there. It’s a simple but helpful tool for puzzles, but it’s when you start to understand the complexities of the ability that it truly begins to shine. In shrines, it can become something of a cheat code — like the Ascend abilityto skip out on puzzles entirely. I use it when I’m feeling stumped or a little lazy, and yet, it does still take brainpower to figure out how to use it best. The ability is the actual definition of the phrase work smarter, not harder.

Nintendo’s also taken care to make Recall feel weighty in its own right; it doesn’t have the tension of swimming through ceilings like with Ascend, but its slow-motion reversal paired with its ticking timer adds a restriction to an ability that would otherwise break the whole game.

Outside of shrines, I’ve been using Recall as a locomotive tool — basically anything can become an elevator. You can use Ultrahand to move a platform like an elevator and then choose Recall to retrace that path, but the real galaxy brain move is that you can get much higher by throwing something small in the air, like a bundle of sticks. Once the wood falls back to the ground, you can attach a platform to it — so you can stand on it — then use Recall to trace its path up to whenever you were going.

I found large gliders to be tricky initially, too, but the Recall and Ultrahand solution has fixed that, too. I can launch my Zonai glider from anywhere by using Ultrahand to trace the path I’d like it to go, then pulling it back — landing the plane in reverse. Then I use Recall to set it back in motion once I’ve been able to climb on board.

Scouring through Twitter, I’ve found even more uses for Recall that I hadn’t considered, like its place in combat. It’s actually brilliant: When you’re being chased by an enemy, toss your weapon forward — away from the enemy and straight in front of you. Quickly select Recall to send that weapon back toward you to hit the enemy behind you.

An enemy throwing a boulder at you? Instead of dodging it, use Recall to send it flinging right back at them.

It’s amazing that I continue to see Recall used in ways that surprise me. Tears of the the Kingdom is a major feat in that way; there surely are limits to what you’re able to do with the game and its abilities, but Nintendo’s made those limits blurry in a way that lots of developers have tried to do before, but haven’t always succeeded.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Tears of the Kingdom is the ultimate “play-it-however-you’d-like-game,” the gold standard of the immersive sim. Link’s new abilities underline that ethos to make the game feel even more free.

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