The original Skyward Sword was released on the Nintendo Wii way back in 2011; a full decade later, it was remastered for the Nintendo Switch in 2021.
Naturally, the HD remaster boasts improved resolution and textures, while also offering smooth 60 FPS gameplay. There are other changes besides these too.
Optional Motion Controls¶
Previously, Skyward Sword could only be played using motion controls–swinging the Wii remote to direct Link’s sword, waving it to fly the Loftwing or pointing it to aim projectiles etc.
However, Skyward Sword HD adds an optional button-only control scheme, where all the motion-controlled aspects can be replicated with buttons. For instance, you can use the right control stick to swing Link’s sword or push in the left control stick to use a shield.
The button-only controls are always enabled when playing in handheld mode or if playing on a Nintendo Switch Lite.
This is something you might take for granted, but the original Skyward Sword lacked the ability to freely control the camera. Instead, the camera would cleverly (as possible) follow Link and you could Z-target to re-focus the camera.
In Skyward Sword HD, you can swivel the camera around to your heart’s content by moving the right control stick (when motion controls are enabled) or by holding the L button and moving the right control stick (when button controls are turned on).
A big complaint about the Wii version of Skyward Sword was the frequent interruptions from Fi, Link’s travel companion. Nintendo have acknowledged this issue by making many of Fi’s previously mandatory advice optional.
Similarly, portions of the early-game dialogue have been streamlined, so you’re not force fed basic information like a baby. You can also fast-forward dialogue and skip cutscenes (although we’d only encourage this during a second playthrough)!
Additionally, when you obtain a collectible, a message box will only appear during the very first instance and never again. Originally, each time you loaded a save file, another message would appear when you picked up the same collectible for the first time during that play session.
Fast Travel (with amiibo)¶
This feature has caused some controversy among fans, but gameplay-wise it’s not a big deal.
If you own the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo, you can scan it in-game (via Fi’s menu) to instantly travel from the ground to the skies (and back again). When you use the amiibo to return to the ground, you’ll be placed exactly where you last left off.
Although this sounds extremely useful, it doesn’t really save that much time because the game is full of bird statues, which take you back to the sky and act as beacons to return to. That said, it could be useful if you have an emergency in a dungeon.