Hello and welcome to The Starlight Megaphone’s playthrough of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (and its HD re-release), an adventure game released worldwide and exclusively for the Nintendo Wii in November of 2011, and then rereleased worldwide in a HD version exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on 16 July 2021.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the first part of the Legend of Zelda-universe timeline, and the sixteenth game released in the Legend of Zelda series, one of the most famous game franchises in the world. The games typically centre on the role of Link, a near-silent protagonist, who is usually tasked with both the rescue of Princess Zelda and the saving of the Kingdom of Hyrule. His fate is intertwined with a legendary artefact known as the Triforce, which governs the order of the Hylian universe. Along the way, Link acquires various items which grant him access to new areas of the world, allowing him to progress in his quest until, fully strengthened by his adventure, he is able to confront the final enemy (usually Ganon) and save his world.
Skyward Sword saw some of the most significant changes to the “3D Zelda” formula since the release of Ocarina of Time in 1998. Amongst the gameplay innovations which were later refined in Breath of the Wild are breakable equipment which can be upgraded to improve durability and the addition of a stamina gauge which allows for short-distance sprinting.
Not all of the changes were enthusiastically received: the game has a linear design which disappointed some fans (and feedback about this aspect of the game led to Breath of the Wild‘s open-world design ethos). Moreover, the original release did away with button-based combat entirely, replacing it with motion controls that telegraphed user movement to in-game sword thrusts and swipes. Even at its best, it was a fiddly and often frustrating design choice that rendered the game thoroughly unpleasant to play for a large number of gamers, and consequently there has been for many years considerable demand for a rerelease that would update the controls with a more classical ‘button-based’ system–a request finally granted with the release of the HD version for the Nintendo Switch. The one or two irredeemably perverse fans of the motion controls will not be disappointed either, as the Switch Joy-Cons can still be used for that purpose.
Fans of earlier 3D Zelda games (Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess) will find much to remind them of those earlier entries in the series: collectible items, extensive areas to explore, dungeons filled with puzzles, and amusing NPCs all abound in satisfyingly large quantities, whilst those who are keen to press on will be pleased that much of the more trifling collect-a-thon content (like Twilight Princess‘s bug collecting) is optional.
The game is divided into exploration of the town of Skyloft and the world below, with its various dungeons and areas, each of which contain items that will help advance Link in his quest. The story in this title is the first in the Zelda universe so far, and chronicles the origin of the Triforce, the creation of the Master Sword that plays such a significant role in later games of the series, and the foundation of the very Kingdom of Hyrule itself.
Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, strategies and content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you feel that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has aged well or poorly after the release of Breath of the Wild? Do you prefer its more lienar construction? Would you rather see Nintendo return to the diagatilt 2D Zelda design? What sorts of changes would you make to the game? What features would you add or remove? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game by the end of September. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion and encourage other players to complete the game. Please also make use of our official Discord channel, where we have an #events channel dedicated to playthrough chat.
Please join in with us and comment about your experience! The playthrough time frame is intended to allow anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone’s staff members and readers in ‘Mid Summer Skies: a The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword playthrough!