Skyward Sword’s Controls: Setting Things in Motion

ThareousDecember 21st, 2012 by Thareous

Over a year ago, the latest Zelda title, Skyward Sword, was finally released after a development period of three or four years. It’s the first Zelda game to utilize the player’s movement as a means of controlling Link. Before the introduction of this novel gameplay feature, the fans would simply press buttons to get a desired result, but now they are in direct command of Link’s actions. This article focuses on the many new aspects that the motion controls presented — along with the game’s other control innovations — and their upsides and downsides.

I love that Nintendo decided to go with the Wii MotionPlus attachment as the main focus of Skyward Sword’s controls. It stimulates an invigorating and immersive experience for the player, pulling them deeper into the action and the adventure that constitutes the Zelda series. As I mentioned above, we’re no longer pressing buttons to perform a programmed move — we cause Link’s actions with our own movement. Whenever I swing my Wiimote, Link follows suit with his sword, and it feels as if I really am the one controlling his actions. This connection between the game and the player is naturally limited to the upper-torso the majority of the time; when Link runs, we’re not jogging in place or dashing toward the screen (which would have been aggravating). We only have to press a button for that, and that’s for the better.

Since not all of Skyward Sword’s controls are based on the player’s movements, it introduced a few new features to the more traditional controls as well. These added touches push the player to take a little more time and care during combat and other gameplay sections. We have the Skyward Strike, which after charging, sends a revolving beam into an enemy or switch. The Stamina Meter (or Air Gauge if underwater) is another one, which affects movement because it causes Link to go kaput if he overexerts himself. Running, rolling, or using too many Spin Attacks all at once will make the gauge drop exponentially, possibly putting him in jeopardy. So in this particular game, danger can manifest through the player’s actions.

Link preparing to bowl a bomb into an enemy.On top of the basic control scheme and set of abilities, Skyward Sword of course has a varied arsenal of distinct items, and with wide use of them throughout the game. Unlike items from previous games, which you used with the buttons and control stick, the weapons of Skyward Sword are controlled by the movement of the Wiimote. The movement might be a simple swipe, such as those of the Bug Net or Whip, aiming at the screen, with items like the Bow or Clawshots, or more specific motions; flinging bombs requires overhand swings to throw and underhand swings to roll.

For me, pointing to aim is often quicker and way more fluid than tilting the analog stick, and like I have said, it helps bring the game to life. Aside from holding a button down to activate the ranged items, the aiming is completely based on the player’s movement. It makes the items very intuitive, making it feel like you’re really aiming them, while building challenge in puzzles and combat. Some of these were as simple as using the Gust Bellow to uncover a switch buried beneath the sand, but in a more engaging example, the player is found sniping enemies from afar before they can be detected. My only gripe with the aiming controls is that it consistently took the aiming reticule a second or two to catch up with my movement. In a fast-paced battle using the Bow, such as with Tentalus, I need to act quickly, and a delay like this can thwart my progress quite a bit.

There are a few moments where MotionPlus also controls the direction Link moves, departing from the traditional control-stick navigation the game uses most of the time. During these moments, tilting the Wiimote replaces the control stick and steers Link around in the water (which hearkens back to the swimming abilities of Zora Link from Majora’s Mask or the Zora Armor from Twilight Princess), and doing the same during other moments will steer your Loftwing in the Sky, aim your descent as you freefall, and help you navigate with your flying Beetle contraption. Shaking the Nunchuk will cause Link to blast forward, doing a spin attack underwater or in the Sky, and shaking the Wiimote makes the Loftwing flap to gain altitude. So long as there isn’t interference outside the game, such as the Wiimote pointing slightly the wrong way, a dysfunctional MotionPlus attachment, or wireless interference, all of these maneuvers control seamlessly. There are a few times when a button has to be pressed — to have the Loftwing perform a speed boost, for example — but there’s no way every action could have been mapped to the motion controls, and the mixture of input types doesn’t make these controls bad.

Finally, swordplay is the most-emphasized aspect of combat in Skyward Sword, and as a result is the biggest focus of Skyward Sword’s control innovation. Due to the intelligent nature of the game’s adversaries, the player ought to find it much harder to land a blow on an enemy than in previous games because they’re constantly parrying and moving around, while looking for an opening in Link’s defense.

The opponents of previous games would almost always leave themselves open without even attempting to ward Link’s blade away. But the MotionPlus makes it possible for them to block attacks from nearly all sides while the player has to target their weaknesses. Needless to say, this made clashes with the game’s foes very engaging, and oftentimes difficult to overcome very quickly. Flailing the sword around wildly seldom gets you anywhere in Skyward Sword, as most of the enemies have some sort of shield or other protection. The player needs to watch and react quickly enough if they want to strike during an opening. For foes such as Stalfos or Bokoblins, though they change their blocking stance quite frequently, the player simply has to be aware of the undefended side. Harder foes — Lizalfos and Moblins come to mind — carry huge shields that cover the majority of their bodies, so Link has to wait for them to drop their defenses or get around them and attack from behind. Some enemies don’t wear protection but rather have specific weak points that must be slashed (Beamos and Sentrobes), while others are easily slain by simple sword strokes (Chuchus and Keese). Most of the time, though, an adversary will be carrying a sword, and Link must mind how they block.

Outside of combat, the sword becomes part of a number of other useful features. The aforementioned Skyward Strike is one of them, as it activates Goddess Cubes and Goddess Crests. In my opinion, the Strike is underused in terms of puzzle-solving, but the sword itself still has multiple uses. There are doors locked by eyeballs, that can only be opened by “befuddling” the eye with the sword (similar to “Mr. I” from Super Mario 64). Additionally, combination locks can be found on doors in some dungeons, and may only be opened if the sword knocks the “dials” in the right pattern. However, I believe that the most crucial element of the sword is the brand-new feature appropriately labeled Dowsing. In the game, the player points the sword, using it as a homing device to detect your Dowsing target, beeping to tell the player if they’re on the right path. Dowsing itself is almost like a puzzle, and encourages exploration by allowing the player to select from a wheel of different options (hearts, Goddess Cubes, upgrading materials, etc.) as the game progresses and go in search of them.

Now we delve into some of the rougher aspects of Wii MotionPlus. For a great deal of the time, the motion controls work great and are extremely responsive. But in my experience, too much movement all at once could produce a “confusion” in the calibration. This would cause the game to pause itself in order to recalibrate and then continue where it left off. Personally, I encountered this more than I would like, but looking back I can understand why. It’s because of the immense level of gameplay and interaction in Skyward Sword; during some really intense moments, it is easy to get carried away and start whipping the Wiimote around like a madman (something Mr. McShea would relate to) until the game can’t properly pick up the signal. Compared to, say, Wii Sports, Skyward Sword is not some casual title that people could sit back and play nonchalantly the entire time. Literally the only time I could truly relax while on the move was flying the Loftwing. The rest of the time I was continuously active, fighting foes, dodging rolling boulders, running from one point to another, etc. Skyward Sword, in this sense, lends me the feeling that I am a part of the adventure and have to be lively every minute of it, another thing that the motion controls contribute drastically to.

Ghirahim caught my sword! These controls stink!In addition to all that, because the Wii MotionPlus is so immersive, it’s also prone to placing the player under mental duress, which could affect the hand that operates the Wiimote. Take all of The Imprisoned’s battles, for example. After breaking free from his seal, this enormous menace makes his way toward the Sealed Temple. Link is charged with stopping him before he reaches the Temple, and does so by slashing off all his toes to make him fall backwards or by leaping on his head to attack him from there. The player thinks and acts more quickly during these parts in light of a pressure that Zelda fans typically don’t experience. During these hectic moments it is possible to swing the Wiimote with so much force that it throws off the calibration. Perhaps this even causes the player’s swings to outpace the responsiveness of the motion sensor, like I brought up in relation to aiming ranged weapons (though thankfully, that issue can be resolved with the push of a button to center the pointer once again). At any rate, whenever the controls go haywire, it may very well be the player’s movement that causes the need to recalibrate. But the game contains moments of complete urgency, and they are partially to blame for the fact that the player feels rushed at times.

So no, Wii MotionPlus is not perfect at this time; it has its flaws. But motion controls can be expanded on and improved in the future. They weren’t especially “bad” in any manner, except when the game abruptly stopped to recalibrate. The swordplay and item-wielding flow smoothly with the player’s movements, however. Motion controls in Zelda have already been developed to a nearly perfected degree in terms of prompt responsiveness, and while there are issues, which I’ve highlighted, they are minimal when compared to the extensive playtime of Skyward Sword. I just look forward to what Nintendo can do with them in the future, if they choose to use them again, and hope that a new method is made to further ensure that no problems occur.

With all that said, I now leave the spotlight to you, faithful reader. Tell me your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!

Author: Thareous

Thareous is a frequent member of the Zelda Dungeon forums and occasional editor of featured articles. He’s also the author of The Dark Legion, first installment in the Keiratha Trilogy. It’s his aspiration to make a career out of writing.

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  • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

    Great article Thar. I agree with the majority of it. I really hope we see a refinement in the next game; the motion controls were so much fun.

    “Skyward Sword, in this sense, lends me the feeling that I am a part of the adventure and have to be lively every minute of it, another thing that the motion controls contribute drastically to.”

    Wanted to say I REALLY agree with this line. I guess for some people this was an issue — especially for casual gamers, I imagine — but I loved this about the game. I never died or had all that much trouble throughout the game, but it was the kind of experience where I HAD to be on the top of my game or else I would have died; every time I relaxed I got in trouble. I think the game should have had more relaxing moments — the Sky should have been more expansive and functioned as a reprieve from the harshness of the surface that had a lot of things to do in it whenever the player wanted a break — but I love the action parts just the same.

    • Darkgreyfire

      It definitely made Link feel more like a “link” between you and the game, since it was actually you fighting the enemies. I 100% agree with the sky though. They wasted so much possibility to have it a functioning world above the land. As much as they wanted to clean up the open empty fields from Twilight Princess, they made it even worse with the empty sky. I love the central hub idea, it worked perfectly in Majora, but it just felt like they were creating space with a bunch of empty rocks in Skyward. The land was great, but I would have loved to see a sky full of mini-games and floating islands for each character on Skyloft, instead of just Beedle and the Lumpy Pumpkin bar out there.

      • Midnafan

        I definitely agree on the sky deal. But I do have something to say about TP. As large and practically empty as the fields were, after watching come let’s plays of Shadow of the Colossus, i realize TP and that game have something in common: A more realistic, fantastical landscape. Sure, it’s fairly annoying the have to ride for 10 minutes to get anywhere. but you could see how the landscape of Hyrule meshed together, instead of being random areas right next to each other. perfect example: Zora river. you could literally follow every branch of the river throughout half of Hyrule, and its connections made sense. The idea of the a realistic landscape, though not practical, is definitely a beautiful thing when put into perspective. also, it’s not like there was NOTHING there. once you had all the items, there were actually quite a few goodies throughout. small, but numerous. The sky, on the other hand, was almost completely empty.

        • TwilightSword

          I didn’t mind riding or running several minutes to get anywhere. I would often do that instead of warping. I love the Hyrule Field music from TP (my favorite music from the entire series) as well as the look of it, so it was enjoyable to run around there.

        • PRDX4

          Yeah. Plus, those items also provided short cuts. And there was warping. So anyone who complains about TP fields is stupid.

      • Mr. Deborah

        I feel the sky is criticized too harshly. It definitely could have been more alive, but I wouldn’t declare the game forever limited because of it. No other game has something to equate to the sky. Its not meant to be another world with a whole world whole of things. The surface was tightly intricate and as well all know, more intense than virtually any non-dungeon area from any game before. So the sky was little more than Hyrule Field. And no Hyrule Field has ever been all that exciting, really. Yeah, there might have been stuff to explore, but those games didn’t have as much exploring packed into their non-Hyrule Field, non-Dungeon areas. So really, the game of Skyward Sword is on the surface. Not in the sky. So I feel that’s where it should be judged. No one judged Ocarina or Majora intensely on how exciting their fields were. It was the dungeons and other aspects.

        Granted, the Sky is more disconnected than a field, so it does feel natural that it should have some stuff to do. Especially since that’s where Hylian civilization has flourished with no real threat against them. I admit, I am a little miffed that Skyloft was really the only town in the game of any race. Obviously, it would have been amazing for the sky to have more settlements and mini-games. Having it would have made the game alive, breathing, and even more engaging. But people dont–or at least, I don’t–play Zelda for the Market (except in the case of Majora, but that game was made short just so that it could have all that extra stuff in it) They play it for the dungeons. And IMO, Skyward Sword excelled there. That’s what Nintendo was focused on, as they likely should be for the integrity of the game. Skyward Sword could have undeniably the best, but I don’t think that makes it undeniably not the best either.

        I know you all disagree, so fire away. I just had to get my bottled-up perspective out there.

        • Katalyst

          One word: Windwaker. The great sea was a much better iteration of this than the sky.

          • Mr. Deborah

            I wanted to talk about that… but I didn’t want to tack on another sentence.. The Great Sea was the whole world in that game, so the content was spread across it. The Surface was the world in SS. The Sky was the bridge between those parts. The content filled the world of the game, the transit system. Asking for both a Great Sea and a Surface would be two games worth of content. (And as much I loved WW, I do remember getting really bored with a lot of sailing in WW. Not so much with flying.)

          • Guest

            I agree with what you’re basically saying… However, even the surface being the world was a problem for me in SS because it didn’t FEEL like a world, it just felt like disconnected, dungeon-like areas designed to add some padding between dungeons. At least in the fields, you felt like you were exploring an expansive world… I know they tried to remedy that with the sky, but … that was disappointing as well, as others have thoroughly discussed. So I agree that SS had plenty of content in its overworld – just not in the sky – but that content was arranged in such a disconnected manner that I didn’t get the same feeling of exploration, and so that was a problem for me. If the sky had been more fleshed out, this may have been less annoying.

          • JuicieJ

            The Great Sea is a shining example of how NOT to do an overworld. The Sky isn’t anything special, either, but the Great Sea is just god-awful. It’s relatively barren just like the Sky and literally has no stimulating gameplay. You just sit there and watch the boat going from island to island. It’s the equivalent of a long loading screen. At least we actually had to constantly take part in the Loftwing’s actions to get from place to place — much more quickly than the King of Red Lions could do, might I add.

            The Wind Waker has its islands to trump Skyward Sword’s, but the thing is, SS has the large surface portions to go to. TWW never has any large areas to roam on foot.

        • hcpaki95

          I agree with what you’re basically saying… However, even the surface
          being the world was a problem for me in SS because it didn’t FEEL like a
          world, it just felt like disconnected, dungeon-like areas designed to
          add some padding between dungeons. At least in the fields, you felt like
          you were exploring an expansive world… I know they tried to remedy
          that with the sky, but … that was disappointing as well, as others
          have thoroughly discussed. So I agree that SS had plenty of content in
          its overworld – just not in the sky – but that content was arranged in
          such a disconnected manner that I didn’t get the same feeling of
          exploration, and so that was a problem for me. If the sky had been more
          fleshed out, this may have been less annoying…

    • Midnafan

      I really liked that too. Not only am I completely into the whole immersing into the game thing (hence why I love 3D so much), but I could play the game, and, to my parents, NOT look like I was doing absolutely nothing. :)

    • Katalyst

      ./labels nearly everyone who took issue with the controls a nooby casual. The only real issues I had were: a not-so-great space, and an old wii (1st gen, launch day purchased). They just didn’t work well. I would swing one way and the bar reacts with an opposite strike. And stabs were nigh impossible. I ended up defeating every enemy with skyward strikes, because they worked alright. And the puzzles with the locks on doors/etc? A waste of time because I knew the combo but the remote wouldn’t allow me to hit them without it screwing up. I felt overall, the motion controls in SS were worse than TP. ./endrant.

  • JuicieJ

    It’s definitely possible to get carried away and flail wildly, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can swing moderately at all times and get out alive every time. So the game is definitely not designed in a way that forces you to overindulge and get the controls off calibration. I do agree that it could have done a bit better of a job with it, though. There’s a LOT of fast-paced and intense action in this game, easily the most since Zelda II.

    Great article, by the way, Thar. Welcome to the Article Writer’s club! :3

    • Midnafan

      I’ve gotten the hang of almost everything but the bug net. I’m hilarious with that one. You can turn your hand so you can precisely swipe, but I spend 5 minutes carefully and slowly aiming… then I flail wildly and hope I catch something. Surprisingly, it works quite well. :P

      • JuicieJ

        lol I do the same thing. It’s fun.

        • Midnafan

          I do it just because I think I’m funny and everybody watching me thinks I’m weird. XP

  • link4533

    when are we gonna get an article about if the decemeber 21st announcement of majora’s mask is a hoax or not

    • http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S0W0MS/?tag=signalpublis-20 Thareous

      Hopefully soon. Majora’s Mask is a tremendous game, but I believe the atmosphere is better in its original form over the other version. Looked like a Tim Burton development, to be honest.

      • Midnafan

        I should tell my friend that. She’d be all over MM in a second if she thought it was a combo of Tim Burton and Zelda. Add Johnny Depp somewhere in there and she’d have a heart attack. :P

        • hunterP

          now i want a MM movie

          • Midnafan

            that would actually probably be the worst game to make a Zelda movie out of. :/

    • Midnafan

      If we don’t 12/21/12 will go down in history as the day full of the most crap. -_-

  • Darkgreyfire

    Although I feel Skyward wasn’t close to the greatest Zelda game ever, as everyone was hyping it to be before it’s release, I really enjoyed it. They left a lot to be perfected, yes, but it was the best showing of motion controls anyone has put out before. I also think having a Zelda with motion controls was a plus, but I wouldn’t opt for it again, and hope nintendo let’s Skyward stand on it’s own in that aspect and not a start for a trend. One thing I think nintendo made the mistake with was putting it out at the end of the wii’s life. I know it took a large amount of time to make, and wasn’t ready at the release of the wii. But if they would have brought out Skyward with the wii’s release. The controls would have been more of a novelty. I feel they lost the luster, being released after people played motion controlled games for so many years.

    • Midnafan

      I definitely agree on its timing. What SS is is what Nintendo should have been doing with the Wii all along. The Wii became such a disappointing system because it didn’t take full advantage of its capabilities until the last 1-2 years of its life. I really hope they do better with the Wii U.

    • bluchu

      I always felt they should have left TP on the gamecube. But then they would have had to have two Zeldas come out at once with TP on the cube, and SS on the wii. Oh, who cares, I just want a new Zelda now. Going to buy myself a 3ds for Christmas, so I’ll be ready for it handheld, or console wise.

    • qaz123

      Skyward Sword is not my favorite Zelda game. Its my Favorite game of all time!

    • JuicieJ

      It’s not Skyward Sword’s fault that the Wii MotionPlus wasn’t around at the beginning of the system’s lifetime.

      • Mr. Deborah

        I think the ONLY way Skyward Sword could have had the precision it had is if it came out when it did. Which it kinda did do that. Come out. When it did. I mean.

      • mother groose

        I think maybe he was commenting on Nintendo’s overall planning in general. Why wouldn’t you have a wii only game ready for the release. TP was a gamecube push over. Honestly, it always bothered me that the wii wasn’t released with the wii motion plus. That was a big mistake they made, and had to admit it and fix the problem with the wii motion plus. But, the gamers were the ones who had to literally “pay” for the mistake.

    • A_LINK_IN_TIME

      Very insightful reply.

      I’ve seen you make a ton of great comments here. You should think about joining the forums someday for more spirited debate. If you ever sign up, feel free to message me there at “A Link In Time”.

      • Darkgreyfire

        I would love to be on the forums, and will most likely make it over there eventually. But it’s hard for me to get time to myself to poke around on the internet. I travel a lot with my job and have to focus on it. When I am home, I work sixty to seventy hours a week. Most open hours I have, I try to spend with my family. I jump over here once in a while to get a break from life, and drop my two cents on an article.

    • Linkfan99

      *its, *Nintendo, *lets, *Nintendo, *Wii’s, *Wii, *Wii’s, *players’

      • bluchu

        Really? This is a good way to get people to hate you. We’re commenting on a gaming site. Is your life that pathetic you correct people’s gramar on a video game site? Who care’s grammar natzi. You should be happy he even used periods

        • Linkfan99

          *grammar *cares *nazi *periods.

          TROLOLOLO

          • errror

            i think he trollded you buy speling things wrong umpurpose

          • Linkfan99

            OK, what you just did was obvious. And nope, I was the one trolling. I doubt he meant to misspell those.

          • hcpaki95

            You missed some, anyway:
            “life so* pathetic that*” and a question mark at the end of “Who cares, grammar nazi”. Haha so um, if you’re going to be a grammar nazi, at least do it right. :P

  • ……..

    Anyone dead yet?

    • Midnafan

      Nope. :P

    • hunterP

      maybe, i’m not sure…..

    • http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S0W0MS/?tag=signalpublis-20 Thareous

      Let’s hope not! :O

  • Mr. Deborah

    …I never once had to recalibrate the Wii MotionPlus. Recenter it? all the time. But recalibrate it mid-game? No… But I very much with what the article was saying.

    • Midnafan

      I’m like you. I only had to recalibrate after my brother dropped it on the ground and the dog started chewing on it. otherwise it was never a problem for me.

    • Blackbaldrik

      Same. Never once did it have to pause for calibration.
      Every so often the sword would be a bit off, but nothing a few overhead swings couldn’t fix.

      • MaoShan

        I have noticed with my controllers that low batteries are often to blame for the MotionPlus de-centering. Regarding the calibration pause, I originally used the standard (with “dongle”) controllers, and found that it eventually had to keep recalibrating because the connector between the add-on MotionPlus was getting looser over time (due to overzealous Rhythm Boxing on Wii Sports Resort). When I gave up and started using the newer, one-piece controllers, I never had that recalibrating issue again. One thing you didn’t mention directly that can affect your controls is being so freaking nervous that you can’t hold the controller steady!

  • Gaseous Snake

    I agree with everything you said. I must have been lucky or not ADHD because I rarely had to go through recalibration process (I centered the pointer thousands of times).

    SPOILER)I especially agreed with how the motion controls made the game more immersive. After fighting Demise I my arms were sore, I truly felt like I had fought an epic battle(SPOILER

    • Midnafan

      I was sore after battling Koloktos. I had a lot of fun fighting him with the whip (I’d unhook all his arms in a few flicks and felt so badass :P) but my problem came with keeping my distance from him. I was literally moving backwards around the room the entire time. My hand was killing me after that. :'(

  • Midnafan

    I loved the motion controls, they worked really well for me. I found diving and flying to be a pain at first, but now I’ve completely mastered them (especially considering I had to learn I couldn’t really relax in these sections). When it comes to being lively, I was really only sitting down if I was just walking around or in cut-scene. The motion controls never really failed me, although for some reason, the Skyward Strike NEVER works right in the fight with Demise. :'( I did find some aspects difficult, like in the first fights with Ghirahim, confusing him was nearly impossible, since the plus was tracking my movements well enough that I couldn’t switch sides without him knowing. I really enjoyed the motion controls, and hope to see more innovative stuff like them.
    PS: I would’ve have been lost without Dowsing. The over-world, especially Faron Woods, was so confusing and I’d get so turned around, that I desperately needed it to figure out what direction I was going in :'(

  • guest

    How many Skyward Sword motion control articles does this site need?

    • JuicieJ

      This is the only article that’s been devoted entirely to the controls. Axle made a couple editorials a while back, but this is the first full-fledged article.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MaaShinn Matthew Shannon

      the same amount of monkeys needed to change a light bulb?

    • http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S0W0MS/?tag=signalpublis-20 Thareous

      In addition to what JJ said, there have been articles that, to my knowledge, only covered the motion controls in one section. So I think that devoting this topic to a consummate review of the WMP’s functions in Skyward Sword was in order. They might also have been brought up in the various news articles, but not in featured articles.

  • bluchu

    I want a new Zelda. And not a remake, a NEW Zelda!

    • Mr. Deborah

      “And then Eiji Aonuma, with his strong flaming arms, cultivated the code and created a new game.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaaShinn Matthew Shannon

    i feel like people look for things to complain about. ive heard a lot of hate from people about the motion controls being “gimmicky” or “clunky”. but, i thought they were fine, only time i had trouble was when i was swinging at stuff and i bumped my elbow on the arm of the couch.

  • IMFWeirdo

    Haha, I remember when I was fighting the parasite on top of Levias, I was sitting on the sofa and being lazy about my motion-control swordplay skillz, so I couldn’t hit the green spit balls back at him. I started whining about how frustrating the game was, and my Asian tiger mom yelled, “Quit complaing! GET UP and do it properly!!” What I’m saying is, the motion controls forced me to get my butt off the couch and be active while playing a video game; I learned that I had to exaggerate my motions to be a true master of the sword. It was a lot more fun and family-friendly than pressing buttons.

    • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

      I can perform all of the motions properly while sitting comfortably. You don’t have to be standing to have the controls work. Also you don’t have to exaggerate your motions in order to do it right either. You simple need to do the right motions in a pronounced manner.

      If standing helps you though to perform the moves properly though, all the power to you. Still I played the entire game from start to end sitting comfortably, with out any difficulty performing any moves.

  • pizzaman

    Anyone ever notice that the image of link with the red chuchu is never in the game? There are no red chuchus.

    • http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S0W0MS/?tag=signalpublis-20 Thareous

      Ha, it might be the coloration of that certain area. The Chuchus, if I recall, are orange, but that shadows cast from the tree above might give it a redder appearance. That, or this was a pre-release image that got tossed into the mix. Either way, the picture goes well with that specific section. Good catch though.

    • JuicieJ

      The red one was from E3 2010. It got changed from red to orange during the development process and were moved to Eldin.

  • Dracomajora

    Excellent article Thar.

    • http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S0W0MS/?tag=signalpublis-20 Thareous

      Thanks!

  • TwilightOcarina

    I’ve never had the game stop randomly on me before, and let me say, I am the king of waggling the Wiimote like a madman. Just today I was doing what we have now named “the Link spaz”- in other words where I just get carried away and fling the Wiimote and Nunchuck around wildly for a few minutes when I’m being attacked by a lot of enemies at once, usually while screaming and/or jumping up and down. It work for me, but it’s harder in Skyward Sword then it is in TP. Another thing- I keep hearing people complain about the sky, but I don’t see the problem. It’s big and beautiful, and it has lots of things to do. I like the spacing pretty well; nothing too far apart, it doesn’t take you more then a couple minutes to get from one place to another if you know where you’re going. The attention to detail is amazing; lots of little islands you can explore, secrets to uncover, and of course trying to find the goddess chests. There’s the big things like the Lumpy Pumpkin and Fun Fun Island, as well. Not to mention Skyloft itself! I love the atmosphere the sky provides, too. The music is simply amazing. It captures the feeling perfectly, soaring above the clouds, diving in and out of the clouds- there’s nothing better! Plus, it’s fun to try and hit the knight jerks off of their loftwings- I’ve gotten many a good laugh off of them. The sky is one of my favorite parts of the game, and I just don’t understand when people complain about it.

    • hcpaki95

      It’s just too empty. All those little islands have..nothing on them to explore, for the most part. You go there to get a goddess cube chest, and that’s it. Unlike those in wind waker, where most actually had SOMETHING on them. Not that I hate Skyward Sword or anything, I just wasn’t too fond of the sky. Flying is cool, but the sky just doesn’t feel real or majestic because there’s just not much in it. If the islands were at least a bit more like Wind Waker – no need for them to be so great in number, but if each one at least had something to it – then I would love the sky. I agree with you on the atmosphere, but not so much on the sky’s content.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.duffell.10 Jacob Duffell

    There needs to be a left-handed mode for us lefties.

  • BlackRaven6695

    Can’t say I’ve ever had the problem of having to re calibrate during gameplay before.

  • itsameluigi1290

    The controls in SS were great besides the one Harp minigame. The Harp was fine everywhere else, though.

  • somebodynow

    Only played Skyward sword about half way through because of my intense dislike for “Motion Control.” I hope the next Zelda drops it or at least has an option not to use it.

  • A_LINK_IN_TIME

    Skyward Sword’s motion controls are certainly the best on the market but not something I’d like to see appear in a future installment. I’ve always preferred a traditional control scheme even if it is lacks the same level of immersion.

    Great article, Thareous, and I’m looking forward to more from you soon.

  • http://twitter.com/MagicalRamen Rin Okumura

    The Imprisoned pissed me off so MUCH! D:

  • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

    “We have the Skyward Strike, which after charging, sends a revolving beam into an enemy or switch.”

    It’s funny how it’s barely ever referenced that you can also send the beam in a piercing classic style very often. I always have fun unleashing that skillful move.

    On the topic of motion calibration issues and those moments of urgency…. the simple truth is not that controller becomes uncalibrated… it’s more so often that the “rushed” and stressed player is more likely to not do well pronounced movements.

    It’s easy to start playing sloppy when you lose your cool, and a controller can’t tell what move you were trying to perform in that quick wavy flick of the arm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kido.repre Kido Repre

    I wish the next Zelda game will be about link a parents so I could know link better about his past the only thing I know about link is that he is a multi incarnate hero of hyrule

  • Clem

    It’s nice to see an article that compliments SS where it’s due. Seems like just about every SS article I read these days is about what it did wrong…

    • JuicieJ

      People always love to hate on the latest release of any big production, whether it be video games, movies, or any other media. It’s just a sad fact of life.

  • TwilightSword

    The only major issue I had with the controls was when trying to stab in the middle of a frantic battle: such as Armos or Moldarach. All too often the nunchuk would move ever so slightly and it would register a spin attack instead, even though I was pushing the remote forward and not to the side. It got to the point where sometimes this actually took away from the fun of the game. I also prefer the sensor bar and pointer like in Twilight Princess for aiming projectile weapons. Otherwise, it was a great concept for a control scheme.

    • hcpaki95

      Same here. The sword was mostly good for me, except for the spin attack thing you mentioned (when you’re agitated in a fight, it can be difficult to keep the nunchuk totally still all the time). And the bow and arrow really bothered me especially in that pumpkin throwing minigame where you had to shoot the pumpkins for points… it’s probably just personal preference, but I had to keep recentering the cursor, sometimes because it would get slightly off and bother me and sometimes because I had to shift in my seat to be more upright, lean towards the game, and focus. For the aiming, I liked older games better…plus I was awesome using the bow and arrow in Ocarina of Time, used to seldom miss any target, and now I have to get good at this :/ Sigh. But the controls for the sword I found amazing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/GVargas1988 Germán Andrés Vargas Torres

      I wish I could upvote both of you more that once

  • http://www.facebook.com/GVargas1988 Germán Andrés Vargas Torres

    I went into playing Skyward Sword wondering if it would be worthy of surpassing Ocarine of Time as my PERSONAL (please, don’t want a war here) favorite zelda …. The sole reason it did not was precisely because of controls.

    While I feel every item involving aiming worked perfectly, I absolutely dreaded the sword control … even with slow strikes, I often had trouble with the controller recognizing that my hand had moved from one side of my body to the other (especially when the enemy changed its unguarded side quickly, like you-know-which-boss). The motion the controller least recognized for me was stabbing, which was incredibly annoying since it’s needed in several boss battles.

  • Jeff Weatherup

    Am I the only one who thought the controls actually didn’t work very well? I literally had to stop playing and never finished the game because I got so frustrated. For instance, seeing what angle an enemy defends against – I would always try to switch to the opposite side, but the Wiimote read it as me slashing, which would cause the enemy to counter, and then I would take damage. The beamos statues were incredibly difficult, because I could never find a way to fend off their attack without taking damage, and I had an incredibly difficult time trying to thrust with the point to finish them off. Am I doing it wrong?

  • lolzfuuny

    i need help in the lanuru mine dungeon :O