It’s no surprise that Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom has gone on to become one of Nintendo’s fastest-selling games. The reveal of Link’s newest ability, which involves fusing items to make new weapons and vehicles, has breathed new life into the creativity of the franchise. This ambitious design decision has had everyone running wild with inventive new creations that showcase a vast variety of ways to tackle this new mechanical approach to problem-solving.

Related: Games To Play If You Like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom

Like a lot of Legend of Zelda titles, many of the game’s ideas have appeared in other titles, but have been brought to a mainstream audience through the mythical world of Hyrule. So for those that are itching for more open-ended puzzles with a wealth of possibilities, here are some titles that follow similar design philosophies.

9 Trailmakers

Trailmakers exploring a rocky dune overworld with player made vehicle and objective markers-1

While vehicle-based puzzle solving has seemingly been brought to the mainstream with the introduction of Tears of the Kingdom, indie projects have been experimenting with mechanical approaches to design for much longer. Trailmakers exemplifies this by placing objectives in hard-to-reach areas across an open world that is designed, from the ground up, to make use of player-created machines.

Each of these objectives has unidentified items waiting at their destinations. Once scavenged at a stationary workbench, these items increase the utility and customization options for vehicles, which allow for greater excursions. Trailmakers ends up playing like a Metroidvania with the freedom to approach goals from any route.

8 Lego Bricktales

Lego Bricktales pirate themed isometric island showing off player made creations such as staircases and a pirate boat

Lego seems like an obvious comparison to Tears of The Kingdom's imaginative player-led structural approach to puzzle design, but very few Lego video games take advantage of the toy’s biggest appeal, building. Bricktales, once again, makes this the focus of a solid little adventure game where experimental designs are used to manipulate environments and help characters solve various problems.

Related: Best Lego Bricktales Building Challenges

Just like with a real Lego set, you are given the pieces to create a simple creation but there is so much flexibility in how these blocks can be used. There’s also a big emphasis on structural integrity when it comes to building. Bricks act as brittle as their real-world counterparts which adds a nice level of challenge to each scenario.

7 TerraTech

Terratech promo image showing two player made vehicles, a jet propelled car and a plane with three propellors, battling over a sandy environment

One of the most underrated aspects of Tears' expansive and creative design is the ability to share any number of unique stories about overcoming challenges, which, instead of providing spoilers, encourages experimental minds. It'd be pretty neat if there was a multilayer vehicle construction game that could further enhance these elements.

TerraTech not only provides this experience, but it expands upon Nintendo's building system with circuits and systems that allow for a greater level of customization over a vehicle's functions and customizability. The utilization of these creations has also been amplified, as challenges range from exploration to full-on combat against other machines.

6 Stormworks

Stormworks gameplay footage showing rescue mission involving player made helicopter and a water splrinkler below stopping a forest fire

If you're looking for a hardcore, in-depth approach to vehicle creation, Stormworks has you covered. This puzzle-simulation hybrid revolves around emergency vehicles that are used to solve complex rescue missions in harsh environmental conditions.

One of the biggest additions Stormworks adds to the building formula is its automation system, as many elements of a vehicle can essentially be programmed to increase their functionality. On top of this, there are a lot of realistic management mechanics to sink your teeth into, like engine construction, which utilizes throttle, temperature, and charge gauges.

5 Fantastic Contraption

Fantastic Contraptions promo image showcasing a bunny character in VR making a strange four legged vehicle in a jelly-like world

This VR vehicle construction game has a simple premise: use the materials provided to get an item to its destination in a safe and secure manner. The immersive perspective and user-friendly approach to construction make gameplay feel like one of those team-building exercises where students create structures out of straws and noodles.

Related: Best Multiplayer VR Games

The medium of games allows this concept to be expanded upon with different materials that can be used to create a wide variety of different machines. With the addition of virtual reality, building, and experimentation can happen within the confines of a real space, which helps measure up the utility of creations in an accessible manner.

4 Scribblenauts

Scribblenauts Unlimited screenshot, showing an out of place polar bear wearing 3d glasses and a wizard hat, roaming around an ancient egyptian pyramid

Hailed as one of the most inventive puzzle games ever created, Scribblenauts provides a sandbox that allows you to conjure up any item that exists in the dictionary. From the second title onwards, descriptors can be used to combine the almost infinitely large item roster with an equal amount of secondary abilities.

Puzzles themselves often have simple solutions, but more rewards are given for thinking outside the box. Sometimes scenarios are as simple as providing a great birthday party and other times it's about stopping dragons from causing death and destruction. But, no matter what, it's always fun to see the effects of imaginative creations in action.

3 Doodle God

Doodle God Worlds screenshot showing a number of mythical and natural elements that can be combined in the game

Tears of The Kingdom’s Fuse ability instantly reminded me of the classic 2010 mobile game Doodle God, a game about combining elements to create the structure of the universe. While the concept is grand, it's an incredibly accessible game that allows you to experiment with hundreds of combinations.

Related: The Best Mobile Games Of All Time

Doodle God is a great accompaniment for players that may feel overwhelmed by Zelda’s fuze ability, as it breaks down this experimental mechanic to its simplest form with the use of casual point-and-click gameplay.

2 Ctrl Alt Ego

Ctrl Alt Ego showing a new perspective for experimnental puzzle games via a robot on the ground force-throwing a variety of objects

When it comes to experimentation within the video game format, Ctrl Alt Ego pushes the boundaries of possibility with a staggering amount of underlying systems that allow for almost every object in the game to be manipulated through a first-person perspective. This creates a variety of reactions and possibilities when it comes to overcoming challenges. Add in a plethora of distinct robots with the ability to change properties, and you get a satisfying logic-based environmental puzzle game.

Mechanically speaking, Ctrl Alt Ego has more in common with games like Deus Ex and Prey than Tears of The Kingdom, but the level of creativity that can be utilized in each of these titles are comparable, and it's what makes Link's latest adventure feel so fresh in a modern gaming landscape.

1 Grow Home

Grow Home promo image on a showing the silhouette of a planet made of twisting vibes and the main character climbing up a cliff face

Instead of focusing on experimental puzzle design, the last game on this list is focused on considering the logistics of climbing and gliding, two of the biggest modern Zelda staples. Lin- I mean Bud the Robot, traverses across multiple sky islands by climbing up a series of interconnected vines that are controlled seamlessly by swinging in any given direction.

Its emphasis on environmental manipulation adds a level of creative forethought to each climbing challenge. The movement and environmental puzzle design feels surprisingly similar to Breath of The Wild, which is pretty impressive considering it was released a year prior.

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