The Bestiary is a new series in which I brew up fresh new monster concepts for familiar titles and settings.
I haven't bought a console in years. They just seem like crappy PCs to me. But about 4 days after the Nintendo Switch's release, I was scoping out Craigslist and found one listing with the console, some basic peripherals, and Breath of the Wild for store-receipt value -- a significant markdown compared to the scalper rates filling out the rest of the offers. Apparently, this kid had cleared the ending in four days and didn't have high hopes for the console's future prospects. We reset the user data and the Switch switched hands. Minutes later, I was playing Zelda on the bus ride home without a drop of regret.
Breath of the Wild is an unambiguously terrific game. Hyrule is sprawling, gorgeous, and fully accessible. You can tell it's taken its cues from the frustrated faces of every gamer who's ever answered the call of wanderlust, only to grind up against an invisible wall. Between climbing and your paraglider, you can reach literally any point on the map. The game's combat systems present an equally vast range of possibilities; ragdoll physics and plausible AI allow for a ton of personal flair during battle.
Many players agree, however, that Breath of the Wild's low point is its lack of content variety. After just a few days of play, I realized I had pretty much seen everything I was gonna see. Just more towers, Shrines, Korok seeds, and most disappointingly, the same 6 or 7 enemy types. Bokoblins, Moblins, and Lizals are all more or less the same kind of enemy. Wizzrobes die in one hit, while Keese, Chus, and Oktoroks are negligible annoyances.
As a creative challenge to myself, I decided to draft up some new enemy types that would enrich the possibilities for dynamic combat in Breath of the Wild's captivating take on the Kingdom of Hyrule.
It appears that some Keese have evolved into larger, long-tailed versions of the cyclopean bats. Longkeese tails are only weakly prehensile, just strong enough to wrap around a weapon handle. They are low-flying, solitary creatures, and tend to drop more Eyeballs than their smaller cousins. Longkeese engage by charging up a big horizontal gust of wind, then sailing forward at high speed, dragging their weapon along behind them at ground-level. After they've engaged, they attack by aerially bouncing up and down, flailing their tail-held weapons around unpredictably. They are able to pick up other objects if they are disarmed, and their tails can by climbed for a free ride or a crit attack!
While some Bokoblins grow harder and stronger as they ascend through the colours from red, to blue, to black, to white, others, especially in cold climates, simply grow bigger and fatter. Bloblins are Bokoblins that have grown so heavy that they can hardly even move. Their thick layer of blubber makes them immune to damage from bombs, arrows, clubs, and elemental damage; they have to be engaged close-up with slashing and piercing weapons. Bokos take advantage of Bloblins' size by rolling the guys down hills like boulders, or planting them directly on top of their camp's treasure chest. Bloblins are usually encountered mid-meal, so their standard issue weapon is a combination of hamhocks and other foods -- although they've been known to hurl barrels and crates, including explosive ones.
BOKOROBE / WIZBLIN
(I couldn't decide which name was cuter). The swiftest and cleverest Bokoblins are sometimes able to defeat a solitary Wizrobe in combat. They've learned that, by donning their titular robes, they can gain a fraction of their elemental powers. Bokorobes wear ill-fitting Wizrobe robes draped over their head and shoulders, like a kid in a bedsheet cape. They don't have the Wizrobe's magic wands, but instead wield typical Boko weapons imbued with elemental energy: Shock Clubs and Frost Spears! They also share Wizrobes' drip-drip teleport ability, though they're not quite as fluent with it. When they come out the other side of the teleport, they're dizzy and temporarily staggered.