Making a home away from home in Tears of the Kingdom
A quick heads up - this post does contain some spoilers for Tears of the Kingdom. Notably, aspects of the Tarrey Town quests and the location of the Master Sword. You've been warned!
One of the most loved aspects of Breath of the Wild was Tarrey Town; a modest settlement that you help build from the ground up by gathering supplies and scouting out people looking for a fresh start in a new town. Many people were disappointed that you couldn't end up establishing a home for yourself here after all the quests spent building it up, and so Nintendo corrected that in the sequel. Kind of. Just outside of Tarrey Town there's a plot of land you can purchase, and after doing so you can use Link's Ultrahand abilities to lump together different house parts to create for yourself a peaceful abode or a mangled monstrosity.
If a game gives me home building mechanics I'm gonna get lost in there for a while, and so I did in Tears of the Kingdom. It's nothing too fancy, but the level designer in me was proud of some of the neat features I packed into my house within the restrictions of the system.
It looks like an absolute mess, yes, but there's only so much prettifying you can do when you've got to assemble a house out of shipping containers! It consists of three (or is it four? 👀) floors, and has stairs inside that let you traverse each floor. There's also a staircase on the side that you can't see in that picture which lets you access the second storey garden. I liked the idea of having an open-air staircase that let you skip straight to one of the scenic spots.
One of the key features of this house is the way I positioned it and utilised some of the pieces in unconvential ways to provide some beautiful vistas. One of the weird limitations to the home construction system is that the windows on the rooms are tiny and don't let you appreciate the views in the area. I wasn't having that - I paid for a view and I'm gonna get one, dammit! To get around this limitation I made use of the Stable and Garden pieces. The stable is designed to be placed off of your main building as a place to keep your horses, and the Garden is also designed as a piece of scenery for the ground floor. But they can connect to any other room piece and have open space that provides a better view! So I placed a stable on the ground floor, opening up a view of the mountain ranges in the area.
Then, on the second floor I placed two Gardens that act as scenic lookouts to Tarrey Town in the West and the coast to the East. You've gotta have a nice coastal view to relax after a long day of adventuring! And being able to see Tarrey Town makes it feel like you're still part of the community, even if they do keep you at arm's length. Probably because you keep smashing their rail car and stealing all the Hudson cut-outs!
If you climb up on top of the house, then you get some even better views of the surroundings!
But hang on a minute, there's clearly four floors but no staircase connecting from the third floor up to the top!
Very astute! This is my favourite part of the house design because of the way it interacts with the game's mechanics. Now, you may be familiar with the ability Link gains in Tears of the Kingdom called 'Ascend' It lets you pop up through a celining into the space above it. I assume you see where I'm going with this.
If you head up the stairs to the third floor, you'll be greeted with some weapon and shield racks, which are handy for keeping copies of all the rare items you acquire in Link's quest. But if you stand in the triangle in the middle you can unlock a neat secret. Kinda like the iconic triangle shape in Zelda lore, eh?
Ascend from this position, and you'll pop up in...
...a secret attic! And you'll be greeted by this great picture I managed to snap of the Master Sword being held on the head of the Light Dragon. Those who have progressed enough in the story know why this shot might be meaningful to Link, and why he might want to keep it hidden away.
Looking behind you, this secret room also contain a Goddess Statue. So it's a nice, sacred space for Link to retreat into when things are getting tough.
Lemme tell ya, it wasn't easy getting all these pieces assembled the way I wanted to! Building the house this high and with such small foundations for the upper floors was a doozy with the Ultrahand abilities. I had to use unassembled rooms as staircases and shelves, gradually moving pieces higher and higher until I got them where I wanted. But it was worth it! I built Link a really unique house that also acts as a nice spot to vibe in after an action-packed session of Tears of the Kingdom.