Jigsaw Review: The Legend of Zelda Classic Puzzle

Like a wistful tune of nostalgia played on an ocarina, USAopoly’s The Legend of Zelda Classic jigsaw puzzle pulls inspiration from Link’s original NES adventure with an image of the iconic title screen logo bordered on top and bottom by pixel art avatars of various characters and enemies from the game.

Per usual, the puzzle is 550 pieces with a finished size of 18″ x 24″. The difficulty isn’t as maddening as the similarly retro Super Mario Bros. puzzles I reviewed previously, but completing this jigsaw certainly is no carefree walk through Hyrule either. There are some tricky solid color pieces to contend with, and spots where a few of the solid pieces are so similarly cut that you may get stumped having to go back over seemingly finished areas to pop out a piece that appears to fit but is almost imperceptibly off by the slightest degree in favor of the actual correct piece that you’ve had in your hand trying to understand why it won’t fit any where else.

Fortunately the image is busy enough that you only have to worry about filling in small pockets of the plain charcoal background. Of course, except for a few pieces, the border consists of all the same static color, so the initial process of setting the edge pieces starts things off with a test of your ability to recognize their correct orientation purely based on the cuts.

The trickiest part is the border around the central logo due to the repeating pattern of the leaves and vine. After getting the edge pieces set, I first started by completing all of the characters, since those pieces were easiest to identify and sort out right off the bat. I then moved on to the sword, because again, those pieces proved easy to pick out of the pile and quickly assemble due to the built in guideline provided by the straight line of the blade. From there I built out from the sword into the gold of the Triforce and the logo lettering, of which the red ‘Zelda’ text put forth a fair challenge due to the similar angles of the individual bold letters.

After that I was left with a moat of empty space and a pile of nearly identical-looking green, brown, and black pieces to slowly fill in the gaps and connect the completed logo to the surrounding edges. That was by far the most time consuming part, though it helped to first sort the pieces into piles by the number of tabs to narrow down the possibilities as I systematically progressed through the remainder of the puzzle.

Every other USAopoly jigsaw I’ve done–my collection’s up close to 20 puzzles now–has been immaculate, but for whatever reason the cut quality on this puzzle isn’t quite as clean as I’ve come to expect from the company. It seems like there are always at least a couple blemished pieces in every puzzle, regardless of brand, but here I counted probably a dozen pieces with a slightly bent corner or scuffed edge. Snooping about the user reviews on Amazon where I bought the puzzle, other customers have reported similar findings, so perhaps there was just something a little out of whack with the jigsaw cutting machine on this printing. This didn’t impact my overall satisfaction with building the puzzle or make me regret the purchase in any way. However, the dings do detract from the visual quality of the finished product.

Even with more rough edges than usual, older Zelda fans are sure to fall nostalgically in love with the puzzle’s retro pixel art stylings. I really appreciate that USAopoly didn’t do any major editing to sharpen the pixelation and make the image look HD. The colors and print clarity really pop without sacrificing that 8-bit flair. In particular, the aliasing around the logo elements lends the image character and authenticity. In terms of difficulty, I’d probably slot the puzzle somewhere between medium and high–it’s not super difficult but definitely has areas that may lop off a few hearts from your personal life bar before the final piece is set and you’re able to triumphantly show off the puzzle like a fully assembled Triforce.

Buy From: Amazon or GameStop.

Disclosure: Puzzle purchased by VGBlogger.com for review purposes.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!