The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is truly a groundbreaking game and perfectly demonstrates the appeal of the Nintendo Switch. We can search for a shrine at home on the TV, defeat it on our lunch break at work, then come home and spend our orbs on a heart piece while sitting on the toilet. That’s great and all, but I’m not here to review the contents of this game. There are countless perfect or near-perfect reviews of this game on the internet that will tell you all about it and how it compares to previous entries. What these reviews won’t tell you is how does this game taste?
Breath of the Wild
Cooking is a major component in the new game. Unlike previous entries where hearts could be found in pots, blades of grass, enemies, etc., you now have to cook various combinations of slaughtered animals, plants, mushrooms, and other such ingredients in order to survive. Although I thought this mechanic would be an annoying hinderance, Nintendo has somehow made crafting fun. Kudos! Since cooking is such a big component of the game, it’s only fair that we taste test the game itself.
[Full disclosure: I only own the physical copy of the game. I tried to see if the eShop offered a sample taste, but was left utterly disappointed.]
Looking at these cartridges, one cannot go without noticing how unbelievably tiny they are. Not Micro-SD tiny, but tiny for a video game cartridge. On the backside, their pin arrangement is quite strange. Unlike the DS and 3DS carts, these are super long and appear to have multiple pins stacked vertically. Neat. They also lack the ability to be written to. Will this lack of save RAM affect the flavor? Let’s find out.
Oh wow, this thing is bitter. I am a man who loves bitter foods. I drink my coffee black, I love arugula in my salads, I find the taste of pure cocoa powder to be pleasant. That said, this cart is bitter in a Dave Mustaine sort of way.
You know that smell of a new vinyl shower curtain? It doesn’t quite taste like that, but it offers the same unpleasant sensation. Very plastic-y. The closest flavor I can think of that comes close to it is when you’re spraying hairspray, and you get some in your mouth. It’s that kind of gross. The kind that envelopes your palette.
Greatest Zelda of all time?
Many people are proclaiming that Breath of the Wild is the greatest Zelda game of all time, besting even Ocarina of Time. While that may be true gameplay-wise, how does it compare flavor-wise?
Since the 3DS remake is, in my less-than-humble opinion, the definitive version of the game, I decided to start my tests with it. (Also because I don’t own an actual N64 cart of it. Don’t blame me, I was a kid and didn’t know any better!) Due to it being a handheld remake of a console game, it fits better thematically as well.
Whereas the BOTW cart is a dark black color, the Ocarina of Time 3D cart is a slightly-grey white. The pins are arranged in a standard one pin per vertically column. The weird notch at the top contains no hardware, but does make for a good handle, not unlike the bone in a lamb lollipop.
This remake improves upon the original by creating more detailed graphics, utilizing the touch screen to provide better item management, and using the gyro sensors to make aiming fast and easy. What it doesn’t do, however, is provide much in terms of flavor. It tastes similar to a plastic spoon. Not one of those compostable plastics, either. Just a standard, petroleum-based plastic spoon. It’s a game that has spent a lot of time in my various 3DS systems, so I would have hoped for at least some flavor from environmental crud, but nope. I get three dimensions of bland.
Pie in the Sky
While BOTW takes full advantage of its stamina and crafting systems, these were actually features present in its immediate console predecessor Skyward Sword—the final major release on the Nintendo Wii. It did things a little bit differently, however. It was a linear experience with save points and standard OOT-style mechanics that focussed largely on motion controls. Also, the game was on a game disc and not a cartridge. Let’s give it a taste, shall we?
Immediately, you can see that this disc is actually quite beautiful. Toward the end of the Wii’s life, Nintendo dropped the simple one or two color images of the GameCube and early Wii era and adopted full-colored images. It’s reminiscent of picture disc records. Nice, but how does it affect its flavor?
Unfortunately, like OOT3D, there isn’t much to taste here. Again, it’s very similar to that of a plastic spoon. Unlike the 3DS cart, however, there is a faint chemical under-taste. You know that smell of a new pack of CD-Rs? That sickly sweet smell of anti-freeze that haunted my old Ford Thunderbird when its radiator went out? Yeah. It’s an under-taste of that. It’s hard to say if that flavor is really there, or if my brain has hardwired that flavor profile to disc-based media. Results are also inconclusive as to whether or not licking this disc is going to give me mouth cancer.
Why am I seeing water?
While Breath of the Wild is most definitely a console game, it is also, by virtue of being on the Switch, a handheld title. Although the Switch features a capacitive touch screen, BOTW does not make use of it, as far as I’m aware. The titles for the DS, however, use its resistive touch screen almost exclusively. Will all that touching tenderize some flavor out of the cartridge?
Not really. Phantom Hourglass—the semi-sequel to the nautical Wind Waker—doesn’t have much in terms of flavor. Unlike the game’s insistence upon returning to Temple of the Ocean King over and over, this review will not return to the plastic spoon comparison again. Not due to any creative qualms, but because that comparison doesn’t apply to this game. While most of the cartridge is lacking in flavor, the outer edges have that bitter taste of Breath of the Wild. While this could be from the carrying case I keep the game in, or from years of use and crud, I would like to think it’s yet another example of Nintendo taking something from their past and bringing it into modern times.
Taste-Yay or Taste-Nay?
Out of the Zelda games tasted, it’s undeniable that Breath of the Wild taste is most foul. Yet, I am left pondering ways it could be better. Nintendo clearly added a bittering agent to their plastic to deter children and small beasts from devouring their diminutive cartridges, but why settle on bug spray flavor? Jelly Belly has a line of Harry Potter candy beans that contain flavors such as boogers and vomit. Boogers likely would not work in this application as kids eat those by the handful. Vomit, on the other hand, could be a real winner. Not only would it repulse those who try to eat it, but it might even trigger a gag reflex if they manage to get the whole thing in their mouth.