This isn’t the right way for Nintendo to celebrate The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary.
Nintendo has unveiled the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD. It’s a beautiful addition to Nintendo’s figurine lineup, showcasing Skyward Sword’s rendition of the princess and her trusty Loftwing. Unfortunately, there’s a catch.
This figure locks an extremely helpful quality of life feature for an already paltry remaster behind a $25 paywall. While this figure should be a cool bonus for hardcore Zelda fans, it’s now a reminder of how The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is a lacking remaster that’s more expensive than it should be.
Currently, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is Nintendo’s big game for the series’ 35th anniversary. It doesn’t do that much to improve upon the original outside of increasing the resolution adding the ability to play without motion controls. That’s why it’s so disappointing that this amiibo locks out a major feature.
When the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo was unveiled on May 19, Nintendo revealed that this figure lets players move between the surface world and skies at any time. Normally, this is an action that can only be done at certain save points. The feature is detailed in the trailer below:
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD won’t support any other kind of amiibo. That said, it’s clear that the one amiibo that is compatible is locking away something that should be available to all players.
As you can travel to the skies even from within dungeons, this will make for a smoother experience if you decide that you want to return to Skyloft and restock or complete side quest in the middle of a dungeon.
If players don’t pay extra for the amiibo, they’ll have to backtrack or fight to find a save point that will bring them back to the skies or a portal that will send them back to the surface world. When you’re already charging $60 for a remaster that doesn't add do much to the game, it’s extremely frustrating to have to spend another $25 just to get one worthwhile quality of life update.
It’s a shame too, as this wasn’t as much of an issue with Nintendo's last Zelda remaster. In 2016, Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U. Physical versions of that game also cost $60, but they came with the Wolf Link amiibo figure. This figure would then let players access the special Cave of Shadows dungeon.
Yes, the Cave of Shadows is something players without the amiibo can’t access, but it’s a new addition for hardcore players, not a helpful quality of life additional, and it was packaged with the physical edition of the game.
The best amiibo integration provides helpful boosts to those who spent the money on it. The worst kind of amiibo integration is when it locks out positive game-changing features.
Sadly, the beautiful Zelda & Loftwing figure falls into the other category. This would sting a little less if The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD cost less or the amiibo was packaged with the game, but neither of those is the case. If you simply want the ability to take to the skies whenever you wish, you’ll have to spend around $85 this July.
For a simple remaster that’s fairly light on new features, that’s a hard sell for anyone but the most hardcore Skyward Sword fans. Hopefully, Nintendo will update the game in the future so anyone can take advantage of this helpful new feature. But for now, this quality of life update is reserved for those who don’t mind dropping some extra cash on yet another amiibo figure.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD will be released on July 16, 2021.