Ahh… the Sandship. It is one of the most confusing and easiest dungeons in Skyward Sword. There are a lot of complaints about this dungeon because there are a lot of floors and doors. But what is really fun about this dungeon are the many puzzles and challenges that it presents you with. Overall, I think it is one of the best, but not necessarily the easiest, dungeons in Skyward Sword.
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I agree with most: this is not an easy dungeon. There are a lot of times that you must switch between the present and the past using the newly equipped bow and arrow and finding the correct door to which a key goes to. Also, there is the challenge of clearing a lot of sand in order to find hidden messages.
What I did find interesting about this dungeon was the item that you acquire from the mini-boss: the bow and arrow. Being one of the most useful items in the series, I was very surprised to see this item appear so late in the game. I think that this should have been an item gotten much earlier in the game. Although you acquire it so late, the bow and arrow is very useful for the rest of the game.
Another component that I really liked about this dungeon was the locks on some of the doors. You have to find the combination hidden under the sand and then swing your sword in the pattern of symbols. I found this a lot more interesting then running around and searching for a key that could be anywhere. With this special lock, the “key” was literally under your feet.
The tricky part about this dungeon is finding out when to switch into the past. Also, you had to shoot the timeshift stone from afar and through a grate. This was a challenge to me even though it may be very easy for others. You had to get the right angle so you can shoot the stone and then get it through the grate. This was especially confusing when you are stuck in a room with no way of getting out (unless you figure it out) and you are forced to hit the timeshift stone again.
One of my favorite parts of this dungeon was the enemies. The only time that you had to battle enemies was when the timeshift stone was active. Basically, half of the dungeon you could wander around with no intentions and not get in trouble with enemies. This was especially exciting for me because this dungeon is home to some of the most annoying enemies, such as the technoblin, the beamos, and the fire keese.
I think the best aspect of the sandship is the design itself. This I one of the only dungeons that looks like something that we might see in real life. There have been other dungeons that are like this, such as the snowpeak ruins in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but in this dungeon, you can actually feel like you are on a real ship. Whether it’s climbing up the mast or riding in the life boat to get to an important part of the ship, there is always something to do that keeps you feeling that this dungeon isn’t so bad after all.
Although this aspect confuses some, I found it to be really easy. Whenever you didn’t know where to go, just walk up to the doors one by one and see which ones are unlocked. If you knew that you could do anything in it, then just walk out and try the next one. Also, I found that if you are really stuck, always try using either the bow and arrow (once received) or the gust bellow.
My final major point if this dungeon was the real quest you were achieving, you are, of course, trying to find Nayru’s flame to improve your sword, but the other reason you are on this ship is to rescue the crew of the old ship before it was taken over. This is very important to do this because it is the only way to get the boss key, but also, you can take the smaller boat (the one you used to get to the sandship in the first place) out on a trip any time after defeating the dungeon boss. This is useful for getting any hidden items you may have missed or simply just taking a tour of the sandsea.
There are a lot of other minor aspects that I liked about this dungeon, such as the short little music clip upon entering the ship and the irony of the shape of the key connected to the boss, but this would take me hours to do. But now, it’s time for the analysis of the mini-boss and the boss of this dungeon.
The mini-boss of this dungeon, Scervo is probably easier than some of the normal enemies in regular gameplay. He is almost exactly like a Stalfos, as far as hitting where he is not blocking, but the space is smaller. It is easiest to stab him then block immediately until he is at the edge. There is not much to say about this mini-boss, but just be careful if he does hit you because it can be fatal.
The Abysmal Leviathan Tentalus (the dungeon boss) is an easy boss during the first part of the battle. The only strategy is to dodge its tentacles and when they stop shooting up do a couple of skyward strikes to get them out of your way. Just a tip: when you are aiming at Tantalus’s eye, be aware that it swings its arms at your feet while you are aiming. So don’t wait too long before you shoot. The next phase of the battle is even easier. The only real difference is that her hair comes after you. Just slash your sword at them and repeat the same process as before. It is very simple for a boss fight. One big pointer is to NOT fall in the water. It can very much make you repeat that phase of the battle you are on. This can be very frustrating after the first few times.
The Sandship is one of my favorite dungeons and it will always stay with me as an all-time favorite with the Structure, puzzles, and the overall challenge. This dungeon is not so bad after you just experiment a bit by turning on the timeshift stone. That’s my review of the sandship and I hope everyone out there enjoys playing it.