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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Nintendo Switch Game Review

A New Look at an Older Nintendo.

Reviewed by on Aug 03, 2021
Rating: 3 Star Rating

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD brings one of the Wii’s last smash hits to the Switch, in full HD glory. With new controls and a bunch of small improvements to make the experience better in 2021, is it worth picking up? heck out Kidzworld to find ou



In 2011, Nintendo came out with their swan song for the Wii. A game that would finally take full advantage of the console’s signature motion controls, in a brand new Zelda adventure that was only possible on that system. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was a celebrated game when it came out, scoring high ratings across the board. In the years since though, fans have become a bit less keen on the game’s motion controls and linear nature. With Skyward Sword HD, Nintendo tries to bring the game into the modern era, but do they succeed?

Link and his Loftwing.Link and his Loftwing.

The Story that Started it All

Skyward Sword takes place before all the other games in the series and tells the story of the cycle of heroes and evil that ravages the kingdom of Hyrule. The three Goddesses responsible for creating the series’ iconic Triforce engage in a monumental battle with the evil entity known as Demise. In the mayhem, the world was torn to pieces from the massive battle. A small piece of land was lifted into the sky by the Goddesses for the remaining people to live on, and the rest fell into legend. Years later, you emerge as Link. The first Link, the first in the long line of heroes. Skyward Sword is a much more cinematic and grand story than most Zelda games. The characters feel more alive, and it feels like the storytelling was more important than ever from the start. Villains like the dastardly Ghirahim constantly show up throughout the game, and the looming dread of Demise keeps Link engaging with his foes in a more direct way than imagining Ganon waiting for him like usual. Even if these encounters get a bit repetitive.

The Story of Hyrule.The Story of Hyrule.

Ghirahim is a constant thorn in Link's side.Ghirahim is a constant thorn in Link's side.

The First Link

This version of Link is a member of Skyloft’s Knight Academy. Knights in Skyloft are not just trained in the art of swordplay, but also as riders of Skyward Sword’s biggest feature, the Loftwings. Loftwings are not just pets, but true companions for their riders. The other Knights that Link interacts with are wacky and cartoonish, but always entertaining to watch throughout the story. But Skyward Sword would not be a Zelda game, without Zelda. And in this game, she is great. Moreso than most Zelda games, she feels like a character with depth and charm. She is a key part of Link’s journey and is a heartwarming companion this time around.

The First Link and Zelda.The First Link and Zelda.

The Master Sword

Skyward Sword is the beginning of the series’ story and is also the beginning of many of Zelda’s famous items. The story of the Master Sword is a huge part of Skyward Sword and is even Link’s companion. Fi is this game’s Navi and is with Link the entire time. She is the spirit that rests inside of the sword. In the original version of the game, she talked to you a bit too much. But one of HD’s best changes is making Fi give the player input less. It is fun to try and figure things out yourself, that is what Zelda is all about!

The Master Sword, resting.The Master Sword, resting.

A Change of Pace

Skyward Sword came out at the tail end of the Wii. Nintendo had been making 3D Zelda games since Ocarina of Time on the N64 and wanted to change things up. What if Zelda had tighter, more focused levels like Mario? Instead of a large open kingdom for Link to explore and puzzle dungeons to delve into, each of Skyward Sword’s outdoor areas play out like mini-dungeons themselves. When the game first came out, fans were unsure how they felt even then. But it is even more interesting to come back to Skyward Sword after Nintendo released their most wide-open Zelda game in Breath of the Wild. Many of Breath of the Wild’s ideas were first brought into the series with this game. Stamina, climbing, item degradation, sailing down from high places with the sailcloth all came from Skyward Sword. If your shield breaks, you can just come back to the Bazaar and buy another one. If you get far enough into the game, you can even find one that never breaks that longtime fans will recognize.

Areas in the game play out more like linear levels than open-world hubs.Areas in the game play out more like linear levels than open-world hubs.

Exploring the Sky

Since the surface world of Hyrule is hostile to Link, you spend a lot of time soaring in the skies. Skyloft is a series of floating islands, and you spend a lot of time up there. The main island has the Skyloft Bazaar where you can buy anything you need, and Pumpkin Landing is home to the Lumpy Pumpkin, one of the coziest locations in any Zelda game. While you do miss having a wide-open Hyrule field to explore, Nintendo did their best to make the heaven-like Skyloft feel wonderous. The sense of scale and joy of flying is lessened a bit by the flight controls, which can sometimes get in the way. The music goes a long way toward making the adventure feel grand, though. Skyward Sword has one of the best soundtracks in the whole series and is a treat to listen to.

Skyloft acts as the game's hub area with NPCs and shops to interact with, and side quests to discover.Skyloft acts as the game's hub area with NPCs and shops to interact with, and side quests to discover.

Dungeons and Deku Trees

Once you complete the puzzle areas outside of the dungeons, the real fun begins. Skyward Sword’s dungeons are some of the best in the whole series. Even though they are designed well, Skyward Sword’s dedication to making the dungeons feel mysterious and dangerous is what sets them apart. When Link descends into the dungeon for the first time, creeping down the dark entrance into the unknown makes the adventure feel that much more exciting. Like the best Zelda dungeons, Link is tasked with finding a key item in the dungeon that helps him solve puzzles and fight enemies, but also is key to beating the boss. The items in Skyward Sword feel unique thanks to the motion controls, and some items are not in any other game in the series.

The Zelda tradition of large, red weak points return but feel more at home with motion control gameplay.The Zelda tradition of large, red weak points return but feel more at home with motion control gameplay.

Adventuring in Motion

Skyward Sword was one of the only games to take full advantage of the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls. Swinging the sword accurately at enemies that can only be defeated with specific moves is a great idea, but unfortunately, it did not always work perfectly. In Skyward Sword HD, you can stick with the original motion controls, or play with the controller. The idea of playing the game without the original controls, since the whole game was designed around it, was interesting. Unfortunately, the new controller option does not work that great either. Instead of swinging the Joy-Con where you want to swipe, you fight with the right stick. You can get used to it for sure, but it never really feels right. And since the right stick is used for the sword, you cannot use it to move the camera around which feels odd. If you want to move around and look with the camera, you have to hold down the L1 button. Overall, it is better to use the original motion control setup, but neither option feels great. Having to play this way makes it much harder to enjoy what the game does well.

Link strikes a Lizalfos with the Goddess Sword.Link strikes a Lizalfos with the Goddess Sword.

Final Thoughts

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a game packed with breathtaking sights, dangerous dungeons, and wacky characters. The tale of the beginning of Zelda’s universe is interesting, and the story takes center stage much more than most Zelda games. The game has some of the best dungeons and gameplay twists in the whole series, but both the motion controls and new regular controls make it a pain to play. If you can get used to it though, there is a Zelda adventure worth embarking on at least once.

There are twelve different types of bugs to catch with Link's net that can be turned into useful potions.There are twelve different types of bugs to catch with Link's net that can be turned into useful potions.


  • Expands the Zelda Story
  • Inventive Dungeons
  • Amazing Music
  • Quality of Live Improvements from the Original Version


  • Controls are Frustrating
  • Repetitive Boss Encounters
  • Limited Exploration
  • Certain Features are Locked Behind an Amiibo

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Game Rating: 3

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Nintendo Switch Box ArtThe Game's Box Art.

Available Now on Nintendo Switch!

*Game code provided by Nintendo for review.