Hundreds of Koroks, the child-sized forest spirits that can increase your storage capacity, are hidden throughout Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. Everyone knows that the map is full Koroks, but you don’t really get a sense of how flush the map is with these critters until you watch an expert Zelda player collect as many Koroks possible, as quickly as possible.
Known as speedrunners, these savant players compete in a variety of different formats that stipulate the rules for their play through. Some runners, for example, try to blaze through the game as fast as possible, completion rates be damned, while others try to finish every single part of the game. The latter is referred to as 100% speedrun, and one Zelda player in particular, Swiffy, has been optimizing routes for this kind of play through since February 2017. There are many components to a 100% run, such as defeating every boss, but one of the more time-consuming tasks involves collecting all 900 available Koroks in the game.
Swiffy has been documenting their progress through a Twitter account, @BotW100percent, all in an effort to create an eventual exhibition where they shows off their progress. Through that process, Swiffy has developed a fun mini-game where they try to collect Koroks in tight clusters, with the goal of accruing one every 28 seconds or less. Watching them nail this goal feels like wizardry:
The clips may feel particularly wondrous if you don’t follow the world of Zelda speed running, where players have redefined what it means to be good at Breath of the Wild.
Here, fans exploit all sorts of mechanics to make Link move faster — one common method involves whistling while mashing the sprint button to run infinitely. Korok-hunting in particular makes use of Amiibo drops, which can spawn metal boxes that can then be used to vault across the map by using Stasis.
“Shield surfing is another technique that can give some interesting options,” Swiffy told The Verge. “Link is usually forced into his idle animation upon collecting a Korok, but if you shield flip during the jingle, he’ll continue surfing. This can be used to give yourself a headstart on dropping down from high areas, or just to let you continue sliding down slopes as you’re clicking through the text boxes.”
Breath of the Wild may be nearly two years old, but for speerdunners, the possibilities still feel endless.
“I’m still blown away by just how quickly this ridiculously vast game can be completed,” Swiffy says. “I’ve said for a while that my ‘optimistic’ goal is for the completed exhibition to be under 16 hours. Last I counted, there are over 1500 objectives to be completed for a 100% run. As long as something is getting done every 38 seconds, then sub 16 [hours] is absolutely doable.”