Shirtless Link hears out a backpack Korok in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

An Ode to Tears of the Kingdom’s Backpack Koroks

As a general pop culture rule, I love cute, weird little guys. Tony Tony Chopper? Immaculate. Babu Frik? Very good. Pochita? Essentially the apotheosis of my entire aesthetic.

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So it will not surprise you to learn that, when it comes to The Legend of Zelda, I deeply love Koroks. I loved them when they debuted in Wind Waker. I was elated when they returned in Breath of the Wild. They are perfect. They are joy. Every time I found one and was greeted with, “YA HA HA!,” I was goddamn delighted.

The triumphant return of Koroks to Tears of the Kingdom is a cause of deep celebration for me. And imagine my excitement when the first Korok I ever came across in TotK was lying helplessly on its side, sweating buckets as he attempts to roll over, encumbered by a backpack three times his size. “I need to reach my friend!” the Korok informed me. “I’m so tired though. I can’t move …” I can relate. Deeply.

What followed was the first of many optional “escort missions” in Tears of the Kingdom, wherein you use Link’s Ultrahand ability and various nearby gadgets and tools to shepherd the Korok from one location to another. When you succeed, you get two Korok seeds—one from each of the BFFs. The special “na-hi!”s and “a-ha!“s that you get when the two are reunited warm my heart. They feel tender. These Koroks are so happy to see each other. I simply love it.

Beyond the satisfaction of a good deed well done and the reward of extreme cuteness, these puzzles have been one of my favorite aspects of Tears of the Kingdom. Because even though I try very, very hard to treat each Korok like it’s goddamn royalty, things tend to go awry incredibly fast. Hilarity almost always ensues. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve laughed so hard that I started crying while playing a video game. The backpack Korok missions are now one of those times.

In my most ridiculous adventure yet, I attached a rocket to a glider to get the Korok over to its friend, when I … uh … fell off. I looked up to see the glider and its Korok rider sailing away, high overhead. I tried to correct my mistake, which resulted in the Korok’s glider crashing into a cliff and landing top-down. It felt like choreographed comedy. I did feel very bad for the Korok, though. Don’t worry—he did eventually make it to his friend.

Now, I am aware that some people out there are not being nice to the Koroks. But this is a Korok appreciation space. In this article, we love and respect Koroks. Even when you accidentally crash a glider on top of them.

(Featured image: Nintendo)

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.