We’ve discussed a few key pointers to remember when starting up Horizon Zero Dawn, but I thought I’d take a quick look at another big open world you may have visited of late. Here’s a couple quick tips to make your journey into this new Hyrule a little more enjoyable (also, these tips are perfectly suited to either Nintendo Switch or Wii U, depending on the button layout).

1. Interact With Everything! See that hill in the distance? Go climb it, because you’ll be surprised how many times Nintendo have hidden away little trinkets, collectables or items of worth up (or down) there. Pick up that rock, climb that tree, anything that can be interacted with. It might not look like it initially, but everything in this open world serves a purpose.

2. Anything Can be a Weapon! I’ve managed to kill enemies with a soup spoon, a tree branch and just a simple rock off the ground. In the early stages, don’t worry about what it is. You’ll soon enough find a much higher quality weapon or shield that won’t break as quickly, but don’t fret in those early stages. Grab what you can and go for it.

Side Note: If you get to a point where all your weapons either break or are about to, don’t forget your ability to drop bombs. This unique ability becomes available early on, and can get you out of a pinch.

3. Find Those Shrines.  As soon as you’re able to leave the first area, you’d be wise to hunt down a few shrines. Hidden within them are puzzles that can largely be solved using the technology given to you within the opening few hours, and the rewards can be traded to a Goddess Statue (one of which will appear in most major towns you come across) for either a heart container or a boost to your stamina. You’ll need those hearts too, as enemies become harder to kill the further you go out, so it’s best to trade for those at first.

4. Defence is the Key. If you’re finding an enemy too difficult to beat with just brute force, bring out your shield. Each enemy has a particular attack pattern which can be interrupted with a good defence, or countered if you learn how to push back with your shield. Early shrines will fill you in on these more complex moves, but don’t be afraid to take your time and pick your moment, blocking whatever you can in the process.

5. Pause. Hit the plus (or start) button if you’re uncertain as to what to do next. It acts in many ways like a pause menu, but it will also allow you to calmly pick a weapon, change your gear or eat to regain health or stamina. A quick tap could just save your life, or your nerves.

6. Be a Master Chef. As soon as you’re able, cooking brings out far better health saving benefits than simply eating that apple you just found. It doesn’t take long to build up dishes that can also add other benefits depending on the ingredients you use, such as improving stamina for a brief time or heat/cold resistance and so on. Don’t be afraid to experiment if you’re not sure either, since a majority of the things you need can be regularly found by looking around forests or near water ways. Stamina and speed potions are also a great way to aid your climbing or swimming capabilities until you find enough Shrines to upgrade your condition.

7. Use the Environment to Your Advantage. See that enemy camp? Before diving in headlong, check to see if there are any large rocks, exploding barrels or traps nearby that can be used to take most of them out before you even go near it. Not only will it save you time, it will also reduce the usage on your acquired weapons or the need to eat during battle as often … I do have to ask though, why have those exploding barrels just sitting there?

8. Take Your Time. It’s very easy to go headlong into the story, but slow and steady can be the best course of action. Explore, find those Shrines, talk to whoever you come across and gather what you need to either create or sell on for something better. Then take on that big boss or monster when you’re ready. Breath of the Wild is the kind of game, like Skyrim, where there are benefits in waiting it out.

9. The Amiibo’s Are Extremely Handy. We might have made fun of them in the past, or just purchased them because they look cool (they still do), but the Breath of the Wild Amiibos and your existing Smash Bros. and classic Zelda figures do far more here than any existing Nintendo game that supports the collectables. Any one of them can provide much needed food, supplies and a chest containing a rare or special item, all of which are super handy especially if you’re finding the early areas more difficult. Some can go beyond that, say the Smash Bros. Link, for example, as you might come across Epona if you do. She’s one of the best horses in the game stats wise, just be sure to get her to a stable so you don’t lose her.

10. Hey, Listen! No, really. Take the time to listen to the world around you. You’ll hear chirps, chimes, little things that can tip off a hidden area, an enemy camp, things that aren’t as easy to see (especially at night). Turn up the volume or put on a headset to get the most out of the game world … and hey, the music is top notch too, right?

There’s plenty more hints and tips out there to get the most out of your experience (have you bought a house yet?), but here’s the most important tip I can give you: Enjoy it. It’s not often we get a video game this beautiful (let alone two in the space of a week.)

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