Hands On: Skyward Sword, Beetles, Clovers, Whips… Oh My.


Skyward Sword is the fifth Zelda game since the series jump into the world of Polygonal 3D. While the game is very stylized; it seems to be taking cues from the previous four games. The game play of Ocarina of Time, the fanciful mysterious world of Majora’s Mask, the art shading of Wind Waker, and the unique items of Twilight Princess.

When I first started the demo, I have to say I had some doubts about it since Miyamoto’s attempt to play failed so horribly on stage. However, when I got the controller in my hands I have to say that the games MotionPlus control of the sword worked fantastically.

As we all know, Nintendo has been planning to use more of their MotionPlus accessory. The fact that the device is used in conjunction with Links sword, the Skyward Sword, it allows for very precise movements.

This allows you to move Link’s sword freely in any direction. As many people have seen in various videos of gameplay, you can use that to get past an eye puzzle door seen in the trailer above. Motion plus allows the user to all sorts of possibilities, from holding a sword in a specific direction, thrusting or pointing at different things, and even being able to block some attacks. However, some of the most interesting things you can do with the sword are impaling squash and other movable items. Allowing you to carry them on your blade.

Yet, the more interesting ability is the skyward charge, which allows you to create a power beam to be shot out in any direction you slash or thrust. Giving you even more opportunities to plan how you want to attack characters.

However, besides the 1:1 swordplay, there are a few more features that are unique to skyward sword that aren’t in any other Zelda game. Link now has a stamina meter which is represented by a four leaf clover. All we know at this point is that the meter allows him to run, and climb walls. If the meter depletes he gets tired.

This meter allows for some very unique game play, think about trying to sneak, swim, or do any other action that requires stamina. It opens up a lot of elements.

The menu system has also been completely revamped. The reason I say revamped is that in the old games when you brought the menu up, the action stopped. However, now everything is always in active time. So when you press B to bring up the item screen you can quickly select an item while fighting a boss.

This brings in some tactical elements, about planning where you need to be to switch items and also opens up the ability to create well made puzzles.

As we all know, Link has a many different items to use at his disposal, but the way he uses them has also changed thanks to Motion Plus. Think Wii Sports bowling when rolling a bomb at an enemy. Or Wii Sports Resort airplane game for the flying Beetle.

Yet the most unique item that link has at his disposal is the Whip. Which can be used to stun enemies, whip objects away, grab onto things you want, and so forth. It makes me feel giddy that the game play for the whip works so well. Wishing that Igarashi would release a Castlevania game featuring the mechanic.

As always, the game features various attack moves and special sword strikes that can be performed in conjunction with how you swing the WiiRemote and Nunchuck. Those attacks being shield bash, a front flip slash, a jump slash, and even a rolling side slash. So there is a lot the demo had to offer, it makes me anxious knowing we all have to wait until 2011 to actually play this game.

As I’m sure a lot of people are feeling distanced by the art style, rest assured that when you play the game you see how naturally it fits. The surreal surroundings and deformed enemy proportions help with distinguishing how to attack them. Some people hated Wind Waker, because of the style. I hope people actually open up to this game since it is fantastic.

What are your thoughts on Skyward Sword?

An artist from New York. Will has been writing, designing, and loving video games since he was young. He has traveled across the United States, and parts of Canada in order to learn more about the world of gaming. After visiting E3 for the first time in 2009, he has vowed to return there and show off a game of his own. In his spare time he tinkers with electronics, programming, and of course collecting video games.


  1. I meant to ask about the size of the world. The E3 demo :”Zone” was quite large, and I wondered how wide it spanned. Was it mostly sectioned off, but open areas like previous Zelda games, or a larger wide, less sectioned off world, like say, Fallout 3? Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

  2. I asked one of the localization team guys about the demo world. It was a boxed level, created to give you a taste of all the games elements, from swinging on the vines, to climbing, boss fighting, etc. Also, If you remember from what was said at the Miyamoto round table, the game takes place on a floating island, there is still a large amount of overworld under that island which we haven’t even seen.

  3. This is my most anticipated game. I don’t really understand peoples complaints with Nintendo’s graphics on this game or Wind Waker or New Super Mario Bros Wii or any Nintendo game for that matter. I look at it like this: it’s a Nintendo game, it WILL rule and look great regardless of the graphics style they decide to use ;o).

  4. I think the HUD is HUGE.

    That Wiimote is going to get in the way of a lot of things. Especially because my television is not widescreen, and I can’t just plug in my Wii to my PC monitor for the lack of HDMI output.

  5. The WiiMote is not going to be in the final product, it was only there to help show people how to get use to the controls on the show floor. You have to remember, non gamers go to E3 as well, and Nintendo was making sure they know how to play the game.

    Also, in a Q&A with Miyamoto and Aonuma, they said that it won’t be in the final game, and if it is there will be a way to switch it off.

  6. That demo that mr miyamoto showed us really worried me. It is relieving to hear that the controls not only work, but are also fun and add depth to the gameplay.
    The visual style dissapointed me at first but i really like it now. I think it is the best they can do with the restrictions of wii, and if they just copy-pasted twilight princess graphics (which i enjoyed) it would be plain boring. It is a different game after all.

  7. about the graphics style… many people that complained about wind waker graphics will bit their tongues, again, as it happened when WW was released.

  8. Yeah, Wind Waker graphics were only hated on when it released. Now, you go to NeoGAF and read about how everyone LOVES the WW graphic style. Also, I would expect Skywatrd Sword (SS?) graphics to only improve in the nearly 2 years between now and when it is released. I personally think WW still looks great today, so I applaud the SS visuals.

  9. I don’t like the WW style of graphics, because it seems too cartoony for a zelda, however I do like how the WW graphics brighten up the game, it seems the better graphics get the darker the game becomes
    (I mean that literally, not metaphorically)

    Also did you say the item Beetle, is controlled just like the airplane in Wii Sports Resort
    (Loving that)

    The rolling of bombs is jsut like I thought (bowling), however I hope you can throw them still
    (I don’t know a buddy of mine brought that up, and it consernes me if I can’t throw my bomb in the air)

    However overall I cannot wait to play Skyward Sword

    One last point: The Windwaker graphics style in my opinion should only be used on the DS titles, and Wii-Ware titles.

  10. but thats the thing, we had seperate links…. toon link and real link. now this is both and its so disapointing, dont you understand anyone? everyone would still love it if it had tp graphics done better.
    youre just a devoted nintendo fan eating their propaganda that its gameplay over visuals blah blah blah. even though thats somewhat true, nothing could make a really fun awesome game with shitty graphics better other than a really fun awesome game with fabulous graphics.
    i jsut cant stress it enough.

  11. “omg link is all grown up now that he has baggy pants but looks the same teehee!”

  12. My oh my! I am glad to hear they are taking cues from Wind Waker. That was my favorite Zelda game ever…I think the graphics of Wind Waker where the best actually a bit better than Twilight and now they have fused. Nice work Nintendo nice work!

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