Playthrough: ‘Mid Summer Skies

Box Art

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.

‘Dungeons’ can take place in both indoor and outdoor environments.

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.

Link and Zelda in this game form a bond that will stretch through the multiverse.

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.

Is it a Moblin? Is it an orc? Are these the fell origins of Ganon’s many monstrous minions?

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!

19 comments

  1. Refreshing the Amazon app every five minutes to check delivery progress . . .

  2. Mine arrived this afternoon, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

    Also, this game reminds me that the Hymn of the Goddess is the best piece of Zelda music since the original overworld theme.

  3. Reached the Forest Temple and had to quit for the night (Zzz)! Great fun, but the graphics are VERY Wii-era. Otherwise lovely!

  4. I have just finished Forest Temple and I’m going to continue play it tomorrow.
    I wish I could use motion controls, since i find button controls little bit annoying but it’s okay, i really enjoy it.
    Since i have always wanted to try Zelda Skyway Sword since i heard about game for Wii.

  5. @Solveig: You can use motion controls as long as you don’t have a Switch Lite: simply remove the joy cons from the Switch and you can set control to ‘motion control’ in the game options.

  6. I also just finished the Forest Temple and then went and collected some bugs and treasure. Off to supper now whilst my Switch charges and then maybe some more tonight after the boys are asleep!

  7. I reached the Earth Temple this evening. This area is only vaguely familiar so I’m not sure if I finished this on the Wii or stopped around this point. Eventually I’ll get to a point that is totally unfamiliar and I’ll know that I’ve passed my previous gameplay!

  8. Finished the Earth Shrine this evening. I didn’t remember the boss, and I don’t remember the Lanayru desert, so I must have quit before this point when it came out on Wii.

    The joystick combat required a bit of acclimation because it is so much faster than the game expects, since it is designed for big arm-sweeping motion controls. The result is a much more precise, but also much much faster, combat. At first I was just swiping five at a time quite inaccurately, but I’ve got it down now and the result is a very easy combat engine because enemies are designed with the assumption that the player will be slower and less accurate than the stick allows.

    I have done my sidequests so far, have my three bottles and various wallet expansions/upgrade, and have upgraded both shields. Onward!

  9. Just got to the Faron Woods. No clue how to progress. I had to put it down, had a headache come on. I ‘ll resume tommorow

  10. Just got through the Lanaryu Mines entrance and am up to Desert Entrance. I love the rude little robot guys!

  11. Made it through the desert and into the Lanayru Mining Facility.

    I think that this game has the best puzzles I’ve seen in any Zelda game other than Breath of the Wild. They are fantastic: entirely logical, very clever, and no guesswork.

  12. Stayed up late to finish the Mining Facility! I love the storyline in this game, and I am trying to keep track of all the uncollectible items so that I can come back when I have the right tools.

  13. Made it to the Ancient Cistern today. Quite the palaver getting there, which is the first part I’ve noticed any ‘dragging’. Hopefully the process to unlock the other three Flame Trials is not as lengthy and convoluted!

  14. Had a little more time this evening, so I finished the Ancient Cistern and got the first flame! My sword is IMPROVED!

  15. I’m going to resume my playthrough tonight. I’m at the first temple. I had to stop since my friend is in the hospital, again.

  16. Finished the Desert Trial and I am on my way to the next area in search of the desert flame. Mostly, this evening, I did a little tidying up.

    I’ve bought all the items in Beedle’s shop, upgraded all of my gear to the max, done all available side quests, and found all of the cubes and treasure chests that I can do up to this point.

    Something I didn’t realise until I eventually gave up and looked it up is that Bird Feathers (normal ones) are not found anywhere or dropped by anything. A few are needed to upgrade the third shield, so I was very confused. To get them, use the bug net and catch birds in it in Faron Woods. You have to be very slow and careful but once you figure out how to do it it is quite easy: and, if the birds fly away, walk away a bit and wait until they return and you can try again. You can do this quite easily and get lots of feathers without any trouble.

    I never found any evil stones either, but those are a prize from bamboo Island if you get between 20-27 hits (quite easy).

    The third shield is very nice because it resists everything and auto repairs over time. It’s the second best shield in the game after the Hylian Shield, which comes from beating eight bosses in the rush mode discovered during the desert flame quest.

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