Top 10 Hardest Pieces of Heart and Heart Containers in The Legend of Zelda Series

Pieces of Heart and Heart Containers are among the most sought after items in any Legend of Zelda game. They increase your life bar by one heart if you get 4 pieces of heart (or 5 in Twilight Princess) and a heart container will do so instantly. Naturally, a bigger life bar means that Link can take more damage before you stare at a Game Over screen. Pieces of Heart were actually introduced in Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and was the game to establish the 20 heart life bar used in many games. Anyway, Pieces of Heart and Heart Containers can be found in a wide variety of ways; some are just out in the open for easy pickings while some require special items to grab, others are given as favors in side-quests and quite a few are rewards for winning mini-games. While some are easy, others are so infuriatingly difficult some people think it would be easier to try and beat the final boss with less than 20 hearts than get every last one. So here's a list to start of 10 of the hardest Pieces of Heart and Heart Containers in the Legend of Zelda series. And please don't include any bosses as those deserve their own list.
The Top Ten
1 Bombchu Bowling - Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

When you arrive at Hyrule Castle Town, you can enter the building for Bombchu Bowling, but you can't play it yet. You need to clear Dodongo's Cavern first. After that, get ready for one of the most infuriating Pieces of Heart in the game.

In order to win the prize, you need to let loose a bombchu and make it hit the black hole. The first round is easy as it's dead center with only a spike trap getting in your way. But the second round is the hardest, as the hole is either right next to one of the walls or next to the ceiling, and you have to watch out for a cucco that wanders around randomly.

The third round isn't as bad but still frustrating. You now have a pit where a huge cucco wanders, and you have to get the bombchu to hit the target at the very end while avoiding all aforementioned obstacles. You have only ten tries to do so. The most frustrating part is that the woman running the game rotates the prizes, so if you fail to win the Piece of Heart, you have to keep playing until she offers it again.

2 Octoball Derby - Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Southeast of Thieves' Town in Lorule is the Octoball Derby. Here, Link can get a Piece of Heart if he's able to score at least 100 rupees with 30 balls. However, each pot is worth only 1 rupee, and gold pots are only worth 5. Hitting the crabs resets the pot, but even that won't be enough.

The trick is to hit 3 pots in a row to make a crow appear, which is worth 20 rupees. What makes this mini-game difficult is getting the ball to go left, right, or straight. The only thing you can directly control is how high the ball goes. It took me many tries, and I wouldn't be surprised if anyone replied to this entry on how they got 99 rupees when they ran out of balls.

3 Snowboard Race - Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Once you clear Snowpeak Ruins, you'll get to see Yeto and Yeta engage in their favorite pastime of snowboarding. Return to the mountain where you met Yeto, and he'll challenge you to a race. He's pretty easy as he moves slowly and doesn't turn well.

But after you beat him, Yeta will challenge you. Her body lets her glide down the slopes like greased lightning and negotiate some really tight corners. There's a tricky shortcut that you'll need to take in order to have a chance at beating her. Even though you can hit Yeta with your sword to slow her down, she won't stay far behind for long.

4 Savage Labyrinth - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Located behind Link's house on Outset Island, the Savage Labyrinth is basically an endurance test against 50 floors of enemies. While the earlier floors are pretty easy, things start getting nasty around the 30th floor. You'll need the Mirror Shield from the Earth Temple to advance this far. Also, the enemies don't drop any items, so you'll need your Grappling Hook if you're low on health or magic.

You do get to replenish your health every 10th floor, and you get a few rupees, but that's about the only mercy this place gives you. Floor 49 is where things get nasty. You have to defeat four Mighty Darknuts at once, and there are also six Moblin busts that will spring to life and breathe fire at you if you get too close.

You know, the Japanese consider the numbers 4 and 9 bad luck because 4 and death share the same pronunciation, as well as 9 and agony. So the numbers sum up the whole experience nicely. It's no wonder that the HD remake moved this Piece of Heart to Two-Eyed Reef.

5 Anju's Cucco Rangling - Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap

This Piece of Heart almost made me throw my Gameboy Advance in the dumpster. This one requires you to find Anju's escaped Cuccos scattered all over town and return them to the pen within the time limit. You need to complete a few rounds, and they get harder each time.

The later ones will introduce yellow Cuccos that can escape Link's hold if he holds onto them for too long. Also, you'll need the flippers for the final round, and I strongly recommend the Pegasus Boots. Have fun.

6 Beaver Brothers Race - Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

For many fans, Zelda games and swimming sections are a bad mix, and this area is proof of that. Located in Great Bay, you need to Hookshot your way to a cave at the top of the waterfall and don your Zora Mask so you can speak to them.

You must then race through a bunch of rings (Superman 64 vibes anyone?) placed by the beavers. The younger brother will give you 20 rings to swim through, while the older one will give you 25 rings, and both must be completed in 2 minutes. But the thing is, they give you an empty bottle on your first victory. That means you have to beat their silly game twice, and on the second round, they shave 10 seconds off your time limit.

It's even harder in the 3DS remake because Link can only swim fast if he has his electric barrier activated, and that consumes magic. There might be magic jars that allow him to continue at top speed, but it's still unpleasant.

7 Romantic Fishing - Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

If you thought fishing in Ocarina of Time was nasty, Phantom Hourglass cranks it up. You first need to acquire the Fishing Rod from the Old Wayfarer on Banaan Island by reuniting him with Joanne, the pretend mermaid. You then need to catch a Skippyjack, Toona, and Loovar and show them to the Old Wayfarer.

Now comes the hard part. You need to catch a Rusty Swordfish and show it to him, and these huge fish are very difficult to land. Finally, you need to catch a special Rusty Swordfish called Neptoona, and there's no margin for error in catching this leviathan. One screw-up is all it takes for him to wrestle free of your line.

8 Pumpkin Pull - Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Shooting galleries in the Zelda series can be hit or miss. Some require pure skill, and some require some luck. The Pumpkin Pull in Skyward Sword takes both of those and adds in the frustration of motion controls.

To obtain the Piece of Heart from Fledge, you have to score 600 points within 90 seconds. The key to getting a high enough score is to keep shooting the pumpkins without missing, as consecutive shots will increase how many points each pumpkin is worth, up to 50 points per pumpkin.

One factor that makes this difficult is that the arc in which Fledge throws them is very inconsistent. The pumpkin could land close to him or on the other side of the Training Hall building. The biggest issue, however, is how the sensor calibration continues to go on the fritz, thus forcing you to aim the Wii Remote at the center of the screen and push down on the D-Pad. Even the best sharpshooters will have trouble with this one due to technical problems.

This made me thankful for how the HD remake on the Switch made motion controls optional.

9 Stranded on Eventide - Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

While Breath of the Wild doesn't have Pieces of Heart like past Zelda games, the system still works in the same fashion. You need four Spirit Orbs found in Shrines to exchange for either a Heart Container or a Stamina Vessel.

One of the hardest Shrine Quests in the game has to be "Stranded on Eventide." Located at the very southeast corner of the map is Eventide Island. Once you walk onto the beach, Korgu Chideh talks to you and tells you about the trial. You need to find three orbs and place them in the recesses of three pedestals.

It sounds simple, but here's the major caveat: almost all your items are taken away. All your weapons, shields, armor, items, and food. The only things you're left with are your Sheikah Slate, Paraglider, and any Champion's abilities you've acquired. Another issue is that you can't save your game while doing this quest. If you die (and you probably will), you have to start from the beginning.

This makes the list because of how it comes completely out of nowhere, and those who play the game for the first time are bound to be blindsided by this. I know I was. That's why I've always saved this shrine as one of my last on every playthrough since.

10 Maple's Piece of Heart - Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages / Oracle of Seasons

I don't know how Maple travels between the lands of Lanayru and Holodrum, but she seems to be carrying all sorts of goodies with her whenever she does. The most valuable is, of course, the Piece of Heart.

In order for her to even appear, you must kill 30 enemies and go to a spot where she appears. If she appears, the music will change and you'll see her shadow. Now here's how to tell if she might have a Piece of Heart. If her shadow does a U-turn in the middle of the screen, there's no chance. If she does an S maneuver in the middle, there's a chance she's carrying one.

Four factors make this difficult: it doesn't land far from Maple if you bump into her, if she does have it, that's the first item she'll always go for, there's a chance it could land in an area Link can't get to but Maple can, and repeated thefts will result in Maple getting a vacuum cleaner and even a UFO in a linked playthrough, each one faster than the last.

Even though you can technically get this at the beginning of the game, I recommend waiting until you have the Pegasus seeds, which will allow you to run. You can also quit without saving if things go pear-shaped.

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