There’s a place in The Wind Waker we all must venture to at one point in our journey that I find myself visiting time and time again — once I have all the proper equipment, of course. That place would be the Ice Ring Isle. While it’s only necessary to complete its trial once, I always make it a priority to revisit this little island for one very specific reason.
Tingle’s Maps is a series in which we explore the endless lands of Hyrule in search of our favorite places in The Legend of Zelda. We’ll explore everywhere: the beautiful landscapes that make us put down the controller in awe; the deadly terrain that threatens Link with the harshest of elements; the bustling towns that bring the game to life; and the abandoned grounds that evoke peace and sadness. As well as the grand locales, we’ll also discover all the secret caves and hidden crevices that lie between. Let’s adventure!
It’s not because it has a cool design, though it absolutely does. The island is shrouded in a thick blanket of ice that will melt once you shoot a Fire Arrow into the mouth of a stone dragon’s head. This feature can be seen from a great distance and is what piqued my interest in the mysterious isle in the first place. Of course, I took quite a bit of damage when approaching the island, so I quickly learned that I was not meant to go there at that time.
I’m usually not one for timed challenges, but this one and its sister trial, Fire Mountain, are certainly exceptions. The only part I did not like was jumping across those ice floes leading to the dragon’s mouth. I always fell off due to the slippery surface, causing me to repeatedly lose time. My skills have vastly improved since my first time taking the challenge, which was already enough chaos as it was, so now I can hop across the sliding platforms like a pro. This trial is fun, but it’s not the reason I come back.
Though also not my main objective when revisiting the island, another part I enjoy and do partake in on occasion is going down the slides. It can be a bit tricky to control at times but is certainly fun. There are three found on the island. The first one is a gentle slope on the outside ring of the island, and the other two are inside of the dragon head cavern: the rather narrow slide near the cave’s entrance, and the longer, curved, slim slide that leads you to the treasure found at the end.
The trial concludes when you find the sacred treasure awaiting you at the finish. Inside a fancy, spiked chest lies the Iron Boots; the item you’ll need in order to progress to the Wind Temple. Once you have the treasure it’s yours to keep, so there’s no need to revisit the island again. Additionally, using your new item to pass through the gusty gales that block your way back to the entrance will lead you to a secret chamber.
Going down the secret passage takes you to a foggy cavern with enemies encased in ice. Thaw them out with your Fire Arrows and defeat them all for a reward of an orange rupee. The best part about this challenge is that after obtaining the Iron Boots you are no longer constrained by a time limit, so you can complete it at your leisure. This secret room as a whole is a nice little bonus, but it’s not why I love this place so much, either. Without the time limit, you’re also able to explore the island as much as you’d like, which is how I discovered my favorite thing about this island.
While everything about the Ice Ring Isle is engaging and fun, there is one feature that tops it all: If you run top speed along the icy surface of the island and snap the joystick back in the opposite direction, Link will slip and fall flat on his face. It’s hilarious.