In-game money has been a mainstay in video games since the beginning. Collecting coins for a high score in the original Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros was added to embellish the game world and create satisfying challenges.
As gaming moved on and game worlds became bigger and more complex, so did the importance of collectible currency. No longer were these items a means to hold bragging rights in the arcade: now they were used for buying, exchanging, and progressing your character’s abilities.
No more so was this the case than in The Legend of Zelda series. Instead of coins or points, we have Rupees, and these little gems are a crucial part of asserting Link’s in-game wealth and furthering his adventure.
Having spent copious amounts of time with each main game in the franchise, I’ve accumulated and spent my weight in Rupees dozens of times. So, in this guide, I’ll go through everything you need to know to get Rupee-rich!
Bottom Line Up Front
Perhaps you want to know some cool facts about Rupees, maybe you need to know the best places to find them, or you might wish to learn about their history. Whatever your reason for visiting this article, I’ve got you covered. If you’re in a rush and only want the basics, though, here they are:
- Rupees are the main form of currency in the Zelda franchise, and their monetary value is distinguished by their color.
- They’re used for many purposes, including purchasing essential items for progression, bartering with NPCs, and even as bargaining chips for playing mini-games.
- They’re usually hidden in corners, pots, grass, or dungeon chests. Sometimes they’re given to you by an NPC for performing a task.
Whatever you’re here for, don’t forget to check out the Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of the article for some extra information.
What are Rupees?
Rupees are the main form of currency used in the franchise and appear in the games as hexagonal jewels of different colors. The different colors represent their value, which I’ll cover in a separate section later in this article.
Rupees don’t give the player any sort of high score or arbitrary bonus. Instead, they’re primarily used for purchasing items. Most Zelda titles have a multitude of shops that the player can use to stock up on items such as healing potions, arrows, and armor, which each cost varying amounts of rupees based on their value and quantity.
Finding Rupees is usually made pretty easy: swiping at long grass with your sword usually reveals Rupees hidden within, and they can also be found by breaking pots and locating dungeon chests. Link can only store a set amount of Rupees, the number of which varies from game to game. He can expand his carrying capacity by acquiring wallets of varying sizes, however.
A more interesting and usually faster method for scoring extra Rupees is to play mini-games: these are fun deviations from the main story that enables the player to hone a specific skill and reap the rewards. You can also sometimes earn Rupees for completing side tasks, opening chests in dungeons, and helping out NPCs with a repeatable task.
While the main reason for hoarding Rupees is to buy usable items, you’ll also often need a certain amount of Rupees to progress the story. Perhaps your path is blocked and requires a fee to move on, or maybe you need a specific high-value item from one of the stores to complete a given task.
Whatever the case, you should always make sure to carry as many Rupees about with you as you can. You never know when you’re going to need them!
History of Rupees
The name Rupee isn’t actually a Nintendo creation. For those that don’t know, Rupees are the standard currency within South Asia (encompassing countries such as India, Pakistan, the Maldives, and more). Of course, they look quite a bit different than they do in The Legend of Zelda, and unless you’re lucky, you won’t find them hidden in the grass.
The ones in The Legend of Zelda were not named after these real-world Rupees. According to the series creator Miyamoto, he simply chose the name because it sounded cute!
Funnily enough, The Legend of Zelda was not the first of Nintendo’s IPs to feature them, either. In 1984, Nintendo developed a top-down puzzle game called Clu Clu Land for the NES. In this game, the player must navigate a maze, and the rewards are shiny hexagonal jewels. These items are not explicitly named Rupees, but the sprites used perfectly match those which would later be included in The Legend of Zelda two years later.
Once the Rupees officially made their debut in the first Zelda game, they were here to stay. The original title only featured two color variations: Blue and Orange. Blue Rupees still had a value of five, but orange Rupees replaced green with a value of one.
Following the release of A Link to the Past, the standard value formula for the main three colors (one for green, five for blue, and twenty for red) was implemented from then on. It wouldn’t be until Ocarina of Time that the more valuable colors were introduced.
While Rupees appear in nearly all the mainline Zelda games and the vast majority of spin-off titles, they were surprisingly absent from Zelda 2: The Adventures of Link. No reference to Rupees is found within the game whatsoever.
Since their widespread inception within the franchise, Rupees have also appeared in many other Nintendo IPs. They can be found as placeable home items in the Animal Crossing games, and they’re even in Mario Kart 8: Deluxe whereby they replace the standard coins for the Hyrule Castle level.
The Different Types of Rupees
You’ll find a multitude of different colored Rupees across your adventure, no matter what entry in the series you’re playing. Here’s a breakdown of each color’s value. Bare in mind that some entries did switch up the values of each Rupee a little bit, but these are outliers. The numerical values below represent the associated value you’ll find most commonly across the series.
- Green Rupee: 1
- Blue Rupee: 5
- Red Rupee: 20
- Purple Rupee: 50
- Orange Rupee: 100
- Silver Rupee: 200
- Gold Rupee: 200/300
There are also larger variants of some colors depending on the game you’re playing. These change the most common Rupee colors (Green, Blue, and Red) to 50 for big green, 100 for big blue, and 200 for big red respectively.
Lastly, there exist Rupee types that drop your Rupee total, and these are comedically named Rupoors. These are only seen in Skyward Sword, The Phantom Hour Glass, and Four Swords Adventure, and incur damage to your wallet of either -10 for a small Rupoor or -50 for a big one. They are distinguished from normal Rupees by their Black color.
Rupee-related Items, Areas, and Characters
Nintendo has done a fair bit to reshape how the player interacts with Rupees over the years, meaning we now have a multitude of different items, characters, and places that serve to increase or decrease your Rupee balance. Here are the ones you should know about.
Rupee Likes are a variation of a Zelda enemy called the Like Like: brown tubular creatures that will suck you up and spit you out without some of your equipment.
Rupee Likes do the same but steal a set amount of Rupees. They are distinguished from normal Likes Likes by an attached and dangling Rupee. The color of the Rupee determines the amount the Rupee Like will steal. Rupee Likes first appear like regular Rupees and are usually present amongst a group of other real ones. Once Link gets close enough, the creature reveals itself and begins bouncing toward the player.
Pikits are creaturs found in the Dark Forest from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. They present as plant-like creatures with a large extendable tongue which is used for stealing a multitude of different items. Similarly to Rupee Likes, they steal Rupees from Link if he isn’t careful, although they’re only able to nab the green ones. Defeating the creature will cause it to drop the last item or Rupee it stole.
The Adult Wallet/Giants Wallet
The Adult Wallet is a special item obtainable in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask after depositing 200 Rupees at the Clock Town Bank. The pouch upgrades Link’s standard capacity of 100 Rupees to 200.
A further upgrade can be made to get the Giants Wallet, which increases the carrying capacity further to 500 Rupees. Other types of wallets offered the same benefit in subsequent games, such as the Big Wallet in Twilight Princess.
Clock Town Bank
The Clock Town Bank presents as one of the only safe places to store a large number of Rupees, and it’s only available in Majora’s Mask.
Located in West Clock Town, Link can speak to the Banker to deposit however many Rupees he chooses, which will then be safe from the effects of playing the Song of Time to turn back time to the previous day. Aside from receiving the Adult Wallet, Link can earn a Blue Rupee for storing 1000 Rupees and a piece of heart if he deposits 5000.
It’ll be clear by now that Rupees are scattered just about everywhere across Hyrule, and in some titles, you’ll find them embedded in special rocks. In the Gameboy Advance version of A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds for the 3DS, Rupee Rocks are a frequent occurrence. They present as sparkling versions or ordinary rocks, and if they’re repeatedly struck with a sword, they will spit out Rupees until they are depleted.
Bear in mind that if you pick up a Rupee rock it loses its magic, and in A Link to the Past, if you strike it after it stops sparkling (and stops dispensing Rupees), it will drop a timed bomb.
A Link to the Past also has a set value sequence compared to A Link Between Worlds: most gained Rupees will be green with the second to last being blue and the last red. In A Link Between Worlds, dispensed Rupees will usually be green but you’ll occasionally get one of higher value, and this occurrence is randomized.
Bags of Rupees
Exclusive to Twilight Princess’s fishing game, the player would occasionally pull out bags of Rupees from the water. These are found at random as alternatives to catching fish and contain between ten, twenty, and fifty Rupees. This Fishing Hole is located in Lanayru Province at Zora’s River.
Standard shops are a staple for any entry in the series. Not only are they required for replenishing your ammunition stocks, supplying yourself with health positions, and sometimes acquiring rare items required to progress, but you can also usually sell your unwanted stuff here. This is particularly useful in a game like Breath of the Wild, where you can hunt and cook food items to sell for a big Rupee return.
Great Fairy Fountains
Breath of the Wild introduced Great Fairy Fountains into the series: they serve as a source of armament upgrades. Players will come across these plant structures organically, and the fairy inside will only present herself if the correct number of Rupees is provided. There are four in total, each requiring a subsequently larger investment of Rupees up to a maximum of 10,000. They don’t have to be paid for in order, however.
The inception of the fairy fountains is also the first inclination that Rupees have some sort of magical power. While enclosed, the fairies state that they need the respective amount of Rupees to regain their power, though how this works is not disclosed.
A common way you’ll find the larger value rupees are in Dungeon chests. They are usually in smaller chests as a reward for accessing an area off the beaten path or for clearing a room challenge, but higher-value Rupees are sometimes found in big chests. In Breath of the Wild, chests that contain Rupees are found as a reward for clearing monster camps or Shrines.
The Most Lucrative Rupee Mini-games
To finish off, I thought it would be helpful to provide a breakdown of the fastest ways to make Rupees across the series, which is invariably through the completion of mini-games.
I touched on mini-games briefly in the above sections: they came into fruition with A Link to the Past and became a series mainstay after that game. While there are several other ways to ‘farm’ Rupees, these tend to be quite tedious.
As well as allowing you to make cash quickly, mini-games also represent the least laborious methods for doing so. Here are the best mini-games for making Rupees quickly in each mainline entry.
A Link to the Past
Despite its limitations as a 2D game, A Link to the Past has a surprising amount of mini-games — but not all offer Rupees.
I found the Shooting Gallery by far the fastest method of the bunch. It costs 20 Rupees to play with and presents you with an array of targets to shoot and a total of five arrows. Your goal is to hit as many consecutive targets as you can: hitting each subsequent target without missing will double your score, and hitting all five targets without a miss will net you 124 rupees.
The game only takes a minute or two to complete, but get good at it, and you have one of the fastest methods of attaining Rupees. The Shooting Gallery can be found in The Village of Outcasts near The Dark Woods.
Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time is one of the most generous in the series when it comes to Rupees, with dozens of opportunities to fill your wallet.
My personal favorite lucrative method is the Diving Game in Zora’s Domain. The game is located on top of the waterfall and costs 20 Rupees to play: it requires Link to dive into the water and search for Rupees under the constraints of a fifty-second time limit.
After completing the initial trial for the Silver Scale required for progressing the story, you can go back and play the game whenever you want. More valuable Rupees such as Red, Purple, and Orange will then be available for the taking, making this one of the most high-value mini-games across Ocarina of Time’s extensive roaster.
Wind Waker doesn’t have as many opportunities for earning Rupees as other entries, but what it does have are fun and unique.
My favorite is the letter-sorting game at Dragon Roost Island. One of the benefits of this mini-game is that it’s accessible very early on in the game, meaning you have access to a great way to gain extra Rupees right the way through.
The game consists of Link speedily sorting letters by matching the seal of an envelope to its appropriate shelf with a corresponding symbol. The game plays over three rounds, each lasting thirty seconds but increasing in the number of letters you need to sort. Each round also offers the opportunity to earn more Rupees per letter, which caps out at three Rupees for each one successfully filed.
While you could keep trying your luck at scoring bags of Rupees while fishing, your best bet is the Fruit Pop Flight Challenge.
The challenge is offered when you summon Plumm. She won’t speak to Link in Hylian form, but summoning the bird in Wolf form prompts her to offer you the game. Essentially, the challenge consists of flying through and popping fruit balloons for points, which translates to value in Rupees on each subsequent try.
This is one of the longer mini-games, but it’s worth it for the ultimate payout of two-hundred Rupees if you score a maximum of 61,454 points. Watermelon shapes are worth one point, oranges are three points, and strawberries are ten. Strawberries won’t appear at first, but once they do, make a B-line for those and ignore the others to get the highest score.
Skyward Sword upped the ante with mini-games significantly, but my favorite way of earning Rupees is most definitely Clean Cut. The preciseness of the Wii Motion Plus attachment made swordplay a joy in this game, and this mini-game is entirely focused on your swinging skills.
Found on Bamboo Island, the game revolves around testing how many times Link can slice a Bamboo stem before it falls. The game only costs ten Rupees to enter, and you only have to slice the Bamboo with fifteen to nineteen cuts to double your entree fee and earn thirty Rupees back.
You can either farm Rupees directly by sticking to this number of cuts or go for a higher score which gives you valuable items you can sell. If you are going to go for that higher number of cuts, the consensus is that you should be using the Goddess Sword found in the Ancient Cistern. This weapon allows for a faster slicing speed.
Breath of the Wild
The latest iteration in the Zelda franchise switched up the formula significantly, and it’s jam-packed with methods for gaining Rupees.
There’s a ton to choose from here, but my favorite is the Snow Bowling mini-game. The game is activated by traveling to Pondo’s Lodge in the Tabantha Frontier region and speaking to Pondo. The objective is simple: use a huge snowball to knock over an arrangement of ten pins. Knocking down all ten will net Link a massive 300 Rupees for an entry fee of only twenty Rupees.
Getting the maximum score is surprisingly easy, as there’s an exploit that almost guarantees your success every time. If you pick up the snowball, position yourself a few steps behind Pondo, and throw it so that it skims the top of his head and bounces off; the ball will precisely roll around him and score a strike.
Question: I don’t really like hunting for stuff in a game. Can I ignore the Rupees?
Answer: While it’s possible to completely ignore Rupees in some Zelda entries, this will make the game exponentially more difficult. It means you’d have to entirely rely on finding items out in the wild or acquiring them through NPCs. Besides, Rupees are often needed to progress the story in one way or another. You don’t have to make searching for them a big deal, but I’d recommend not ignoring them completely.
Question: Which Zelda game has the most abundant Rupees?
Answer: All Zelda games that use Rupees give the player ample opportunity to find and collect them, but the game with the most dotted about the world is Breath of the Wild. This is due to the world’s immense scale compared to other entries, with the game also having the highest Rupee carrying capacity of 999,999!
Question: I’m worried about spending Rupees in shops in case I need them later. Should I be careful?
Answer: In reality, Rupees are readily available for virtually every game. There’s not a finite amount and they’ll respawn in grass and pots, and in many games, you can simply keep playing the mini-games until they’re replenished. If you need items to help you on your journey and have the cash, buy them! You can easily find more Rupees, and there’s no point in making the game a slog by being frugal.
Zelda Rupees: Conclusion
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and now have a better insight into the usage, history, and mechanisms of the Rupee currency within the Zelda franchise. If you want to learn more about items and commodities within the series, check out our other articles like The Legend of Zelda: Universe Guide and History and our recent Robbie BOTW Guide. Have fun!