I started The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on Switch last month since Tears of the Kingdom is around the corner. I haven’t played Skyward Sword since the original Wii version, but I recall finishing it twice back in the day at 100% (once on the default difficulty and another playthrough on Hero mode). I guess you could say I liked the game despite its meticulously slow pacing, mid-game “padding”, incessant dialogue reminders and janky motion controls. I’ve actually enjoyed utilizing the motion controls again on Switch, despite there now being traditional controller support for the HD version.

In slightly unrelated news, this week marks a month since having left elbow surgery for a pinched nerve I’ve been dealing with for almost a year. Keeping my left arm elevated post-surgery holding the left Joy-Con to move while doing the not-always-responsive swings with the right Joy-Con has surprisingly been therapeutic (to a degree). One aspect of Skyward Sword I’ve always appreciated (along with Twilight Princess) are its dungeons. I believe they are some of the best in the series and their puzzles and environmental gimmicks will likely never be emulated ever again, considering Nintendo has sort of moved on from their “gimmicky” hardware era of sorts (outside of the occasional Labo or Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit).

I love twisting and turning the boss keys, slicing spider webs and watching their patterns reform, rolling bombs like they’re bowling balls from Wii Sports and sending my Hook Beetle tool to drop bombs on switches, for example; it’s just cool and it all feels very “Nintendo-like”, in a traditional sense. Perhaps my favorite thing about the dungeons in Skyward Sword, however, is a less-talked about moment prior to even entering the dungeons. When Link approaches the entrance to a new dungeon for the first time, you’re greeted to atmospheric cutscenes where he pauses and hesitates as the camera cuts to shots of the staircases leading downward. Before heading down into the Ancient Cistern, you can hear drops of water falling from the ceiling and at the Earth Temple, Link braces himself from the heat as the doors open. If we were still in Nintendo’s weird peripheral era, I’d honestly want a Nintendo Whiff® (or Nintendo Sniff®?) accessory that puffs musky, stale dungeon air into the player’s face just before you walk down, similar to the 4D arcades you can still find at elusive beachfront arcades.

At the time of writing this, I’m in the second half of Skyward Sword HD and while I do understand why it’s one of the more divisive entries, I still think the game was novel for its time and a solid Zelda entry despite its issues. Dungeons are the talk-of-the-town when it comes to Tears of the Kingdom, and their scope (or presence even) has yet to be seen or discussed by Nintendo proper (and they’re still playing coy even after the recent gameplay demonstration!). Dungeons have been a staple in the Zelda franchise for decades. Excluding the Divine Beasts, one could argue that the open world in Breath of the Wild was sort of a “dungeon” in and of itself, but it’s not exactly what fans, including myself, were looking for. Here’s hoping we’ll be fusing pieces of a boss gate key in a cool dungeon from Tears of the Kingdom soon.

Until next time…


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