Jigsaw Review: The Legend of Zelda “Legend of the Hero” Puzzle

Based on the intro sequence to The Wind Waker, the “Legend of The Hero” jigsaw puzzle, from USAopoly’s Legend of Zelda premium collector’s series, depicts Link’s legend as the Hero of Time using the imagery from the prologue story pages, paneled together to look like an ancient Hylian scroll or tablet drawn in charcoal. Once completed it’s one of the most finely detailed jigsaw pictures USAopoly has printed yet.

I’m going to cut right to the chase here: This puzzle is brutal. Seriously, this is like the Water Temple of Zelda jigsaw puzzles, it’s that intricate and demanding, brilliantly designed as much as it is frustrating.

Size plays some part in that, the puzzle measuring 19″ x 27″ and consisting of 1,000 pieces, many irregularly cut compared to conventional jigsaw cut shapes. However, the real challenge stems from the limited color palette and difficult to discern lines and patterns. The entire image is drawn in black on a lightly textured tannish-brown or dirty parchment background, with small splashes of gold and green, used recurringly for the Triforce and Link’s tunic and hat, providing the only immediately distinguishable focal points of color.

Diligent sorting is an absolute must. In fact, only after I got a new set of sorting trays over the holidays did I really begin to make headway. Prior to that, I managed to get the outer edge pieces set and put together the easily identifiable areas of color, only to hit a roadblock and let the puzzle sit on the dining room table in various stages of construction for, oh I don’t know, a good four months or so.

Of course I didn’t work continuously on the puzzle over all that time. I worked on it a day here, a day there for about a month prior to the holidays, took a break for a couple months where I didn’t touch it once, and then picked it back up a few weeks ago when I made a concerted effort to get it finished, pouring over it for at least a couple hours daily over that stretch. It took a long time, especially considering the fact that I can usually bang out a 550 piece puzzle in 3-5 days, and ones in the 750 to 1,000 piece range within a week or two.

Once I got proper sorting trays, I was able to categorize small batches of similar-looking lines or shapes. The next logical step for me was to concentrate on the straight line pieces in an effort to set the border trim for each of the individual story panels, and then fill in the smaller elements from there. Then it boiled down to pinpointing the minutest of patterns, like the pieces with clouds, the small triangles radiating from the Triforces, the curly dividing lines, the horses, the castle turrets, and so on, placing them in their approximate locations within the border, slowly building up the image in small chunks, and filling in the gaps of empty space so everything connected together.

The quality of the puzzle is immaculate. At least in my box, the pieces were all clean and sharply cut, not even a single bent or peeled edge. The crisp image clarity and piece cuts definitely prevented further issues with the already difficult matching. If really intricate puzzles are poorly cut important details can wrap around a corner or get clipped out, removing a crucial mark or line continuation from visibility. Thankfully that’s not the case here. I guess my only small complaint is that the pieces don’t lock together as tightly as I would like. Larger puzzles with tinier pieces do tend to have a looser fit, but this one feels just a little bit looser than the norm.

Putting this puzzle together is a painstaking process of constant sorting and eye-straining pattern recognition. The arduous task is not for the impatient or easily discouraged, as you must be prepared to endure long periods of what essentially amounts to repeatedly playing find the needle in a haystack, all while staring at like-colored and like-patterned pieces and sometimes going hours at a time only finding a handful of successful connections. It’s easy to burn out on when days pass of very little progress being made. Hence the reason I took a break from it for a while to sort of recharge my interest.

However, the sense of reward and self-gratification achieved upon assembling the puzzle makes the process totally worth it. Once I slotted the final piece in, I totally imagined myself hoisting the completed puzzle over my head like a Triforce to the triumphant sound of the iconic Zelda treasure chest fanfare jingle. Snapped back to reality, I fully plan to frame and hang the puzzle as a permanent tribute to the accomplishment. It took so much time and effort, I can’t imagine ever wanting to take it apart.

Buy From: Amazon or Entertainment Earth for $19.99.

Disclosure: The Legend of Zelda “Legend of The Hero” puzzle was provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration by USAopoly.

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!