The Sandship: Complicated or Easy?

GuestMarch 12th, 2013 by Guest

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.


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  • http://twitter.com/MK_Langley Adventurer of Hyrule

    One of my favorite dungeons of the series as well. The place is so well designed, so intriguing and authentic. And the music, the music was so good ^^

    • Gaseous Snake

      Definitely my favorite SS dungeon

    • JuicieJ

      That post of yours totally describes the Lanayru province in general.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sora.sora.31 Coded Sora

    I liked this dungeon too. :3 I like all of them except the ones that involve Like Likes. -n- Eating my shields on other games >:U

  • Curly_Dodongo

    Personally I liked the dungeon, however I hated the boss. I felt like the design was quite uninteresting (it’s a cyclops Mr. Blobby!) and it was one of the worst culprits in the series for ‘eye targets’.

    • Guy

      And the boss was awfully repetitive. It’s second stage wasn’t much different from the first :(

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

      Despite having an extremely easy to find weak point, the eye was oddly enough the hardest to hit.

      It took a certain level of timing and aiming skill to properly get the arrow to strike it’s mark, and it also got hectic at times with tentacles flying at you.

      I still find this boss to be one of the more challenging out of all of them. Not as challenging as Kalaktos mind you, but still pretty tough,

      • JuicieJ

        I have a feeling if Tentalus was in Twilight Princess, you’d criticize it by calling it boring and easy. *trollface*

        In all honesty, Tentalus is one of the few bosses in Skyward Sword that wasn’t wholly fantastic. It was better than most of the GameCube games’ boss fights, but it was very lacking in quality compared to almost every other boss in the game. (Almost meaning except for The Imprisoned III.)

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

          Tentalus was more boring from aesthetic stand point rather then a challenge stand point.

          The actual characters design is rather bland. It’s very blob like over all with some well… tentacles. It does little to really get the player into the fight.

          Although I did enjoy the presentation and action set piece they plopped up before the fight, that was pretty impressive way to set up the boss.

          Personally as far as boss fights in Skyward Sword go of the less impressive encounters I hold Scaldera to the tamest boss fight in the game (although a cool looking boss and an interesting arena to fight it in). Still that being said SS holds some of the best boss fights of any Zelda game.

          As for the Twilight Princess comment…. well if they plopped Tentalus in TP it first of all wouldn’t work… seeing as you need to be able to perform the skyward strike to attack the tentacles…. and the fight would be very different in regards to how the bow is aimed. Not to mention the bomb arrows would probably slant the battle a bit…. do you really want to get into a hypothetical argument about the implications of putting Tentalus in TP. I’ve already said why TP is one of the weakest Zelda titles.

          • JuicieJ

            The TP comment was a joke, dude. Laugh a little. =)

            I’m actually kind of shocked you thought Scaldera was the weakest boss in Skyward Sword. That was one of the most unique, intense, and overall well-designed fights in all of gaming. I could go on and on about why, but Axle actually posted something on his personal site that sums it all up, so… http://axlethebeast.com/2012/10/creature-spotlight-scaldera.html

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

            I know you were joking around with the TP comment and the *trolololol face*. I just thought I’d play along. Hence around a theoretical argument. ;)
            Maybe my comment just needed some winky faces or something.

            Also as much as I do respect Axl’s opinions, I don’t particularly agree with everything he says. It’s good to formulate your own opinions and have a good backed argument of your own for why you feel the way you do.

            I know you always refer back to Axl a lot, but like I said, he isn’t the be all and end all of Zelda or game design knowledge. I typically agree with the majority of his opinions, but how it is I agree with him may be different.

            Anyhow I mean come on Axl didn’t even touch on the fact that Scaldera is one of the easiest bosses to avoid attacks. Not to mention that you can sit in the safe area at the top of the hill for as long as you want with out fear. He’s a great boss for sure, and Nintendo was clearly starting to think out of the box in regards to how they make their bosses, but it doesn’t change the fact that the battle was really easy.

            Scaldera has great presentation, and certainly does the “eye, blob monster” bit a whole lot better then Tentalus. The idea’s are incredibly unique too, and I give high praise to that. Still challenge wise the battle was tame. Which is really all I was saying. For that boss battle to be perfect they needed to give Scaldera an additional attack where he roasts the top of the platform you are standing on…. not step on bombs and send himself packing.

          • JuicieJ

            I never said he was the be all end all means to Zelda. I just happen to agree with him a lot, and he happened to have something that said pretty much exactly my thoughts on Scaldera, so it was just easier to link you to that rather than type it all out. Plus, he words things better than me.

            By the way, if you stood on the top, you deprived yourself of a great battle. Easy or not, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

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

            I know you agree a lot with Axl, I’m just saying you do reference his articles a lot, and I just think you should be able to make your own points. It would be more a credit to your own way of thinking.

            Also I personally didn’t stand at the top (except maybe once just for laughs to watch the boss mindlessly walk up and bomb himself back down), but the fact that a boss battle has this guaranteed safe area is kind of silly, complete with hearts.

            Just saying it was a really tame fight. and they could’ve made Scaldera more of a threat by perhaps making him attack the top area once he reached it. That would’ve created more tension for being up there to refill bombs…. cause you know if you were caught up there when he reached the top you’d be attacked.

            Also a great battle is one where there is tension all the time, and keeps you on your toes. Not one where you actually have the option to stand idly by with no fear of being hurt.

          • JuicieJ

            I make my own points waaaaaaaaaay more than I reference Axle, man. It’s not even a contest.

            I also don’t see the problem with the top area. You can’t really do anything up there other than stand and collect bombs and hearts. I guess they could have removed the bomb right before the incline levels out, but I honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I always manage to get through the fight without having to go up top (in Hero Mode), so it’s actually a pretty intense fight when I go through it.

            ^ It’s an intense fight when you don’t stand up top. Just because there’s an option doesn’t mean all tension is gone. Besides, you have to run a pretty long distance to get up there, and it costs a lot of stamina along the way.

            Beyond all that… it’s the second boss of the game. What were you expecting, Horde Battle difficulty?

          • rjhewgyrfu (aka ruifgyqforug)

            You can easily use the bow on the tentacles, so you don’t need the Skywards Strike. It can be harder since you have to go into FP view, and avoiding tentacles on the 3rd round can be annoying, but personally I like using the bow (with quick-draw) a lot more effective.

            And the aiming isn’t drastically different. TP was more precise but you had to point at the screen, with SS you could aim anywhere but it got uncentered time to time. Otherwise the controls are very close.

            As for bomb arrows, they would probably not do much; a single arrow is enough to defeat a tentacle/stun his eye, so you don’t need more power per shot.

          • JuicieJ

            SS’s controls don’t get “uncentered”. They read wherever you were pointing whenever you go into first person as center due to the Wii MotionPlus being independent of the sensor bar.

    • Yuy

      Though you have to admit that the buildup was awesome.

    • Hero Of Wind

      You’re right, the boss itself was uninteresting. But the presentation of the boss was fantastic. I’ve always found it boring that you always know when a boss is coming up. But in this case, there’s no boss waiting in the last room, and then it tears the entire dungeon apart trying to get at you. Contrast that with Argorok from TP, where you get teasers before the battle itself. Both are very cinematic, and that’s something Zelda could use a lot more of.

    • M C

      I agree. I did not like the boss, I liked the dungeon save for the techoblins. I hated those through the whole game.

  • Chris

    Am I the only one on the planet who got screaming, almost throw the controller at the screen pissed off the 153rd time her eye “just happened” to move out of the way of the arrow right before you got slammed with tentacles?

    • Rid the Dragon Master

      I just aimed quick and fired. The real trouble for me was the rolling barrels while you’re climbing up.

      • Totallyallz

        Her? I always thought it was a overweight bachelor squid..

  • oozy the wolf

    dificult and easy. the perfect combo in a video game

  • LinkyKins

    I loved this dungeon! For some reason, it was hard for me on the first time I played through Skyward Sword, but the easiest thing in the world the second time!

  • http://twitter.com/JinLazyDays Jindrich Schelfhout

    I’m probably in the minority here since I felt this dungeon was average at most when it comes to gameplay, and terrible when it comes to the interior (exterior is grand though).

    I don’t understand why people praise the design of the ship as its actually very lacking. Sure it has the layout of a ship, but almost all the rooms are so empty to the point it feels like you’re just in a box. It doesn’t even come close with Snowpeak Ruins where most rooms actually felt like they were lived in. It’s a shame really, considering the beautiful amount of details inside the houses of Skyward Sword.

    I can’t be the only one on this matter right?

    • JuicieJ

      A ship isn’t supposed to feel “lived in”. It supposed to feel barren and uninviting, unlike a mansion. Both the Snowpeak Ruins and Sandship nailed their particular atmospheres perfectly.

      • Anon

        According to what ridiculous standard?

        I agree with Jindrich, it wasn’t that impressive at all, it wasn’t difficult with a very linear approach to the puzzles and the theme didn’t really carry through (then again I thought the robots were quite stupid the first time they came around) and the final boss looked very lame indeed, he was quite a good fight though. I liked the mining facility far better in the timestone theme.

        All in all I think all the dungeons of Skyward Sword were disappointing with perhaps an exception for the Skyview Temple; they were far too easy, far too generic and far too much based on gimmicks.

        • JuicieJ

          Linear approach? You can sequence break the crap out of the Sandship. It also absolutely feels like a ship. There are multiple floors aligned with tight corridors that require navigational skills to maneuver through without losing your way. The timeshift mechanic was used better in the Mining Facility, sure, but that was the name of that dungeon’s game. The name of the Sandship’s game is the setting and navigation. The timeshift mechanic was used as an accent to that, so there’s nothing offensive about it not being as prominent.

          As far as dungeons being disappointing, I can only agree concerning the Ancient Cistern, and even then, only to a certain degree. Skyward Sword’s dungeons, including the Ancient Cistern, are anything but generic. They all have diverse themes & atmospheres, quite a few of which are highly unique. All except the Ancient Cistern also have top-notch puzzle-solving, level design, and combat, none of which were “far too easy”. That’s a statement for the GameCube games.

          There is the issue of all the truly unique dungeons being in the first half of the game and all the more traditional dungeons being in the second half, but they’re still a fantastic lineup all-in-all, arguably the best Zelda has to offer.

          One last thing. What do you mean by “based on gimmicks”? I seriously have no idea where you’re coming from with that one.

          • Anon

            The fact that you never have to stop and think what to do as you run around the dungeon is what makes it linear to me; as soon as you enter a room all you have to do is look around and then you know what you are supposed to do. Sandy floor? Blow it away. Hole in the roof? Look for the mast and the timestone. etc.

            As for loosing your way, really? There is one major corridor per level, how difficult can that be? You don’t even have to focus on where in the ship you are in comparison to the other levels so all you have to do is run to each room and do whatever the room clearly shows you to do.

            This is where the gimmicks come in as well, everything that you will be making some use of is clearly marked out and most dungeons have a themed obstacle that returns several times a bit more difficult each time (walking on strings in the first, rolling the ball in the second, running on the conveyor belts in the third etc.). Not to mention the increased dungeon design based around the item you find in the dungeon. How often are those items useful outside of that dungeon beyond the classics (boomerang, bombs, bow, hookshot)?

            The dungeons are also far shorter compared to earlier games which also doesn’t exactly help them feel difficult. It might be that one expects too much from the games but at least give them some length so a dungeon feels like a bit of an undertaking and not just something you can quickly run through.

            The only good thing of Skyward Sword’s dungeons are the bosses which in general are more entertaining than earlier bosses.

  • Link-182

    I hated this dungeon the first play through, as I found it quite boring, but for some reason I loved it the second play through!
    This dungeon with the grate/timeshift stone puzzle at the end was the only part I got stuck in this game; the challenge made me quite happy.
    I still hate the boss design, he looks like he’s from Monsters Inc.

  • Jam9t3

    It’s like the boss was designed by disney.

    • JuicieJ

      MIKE WAZOWSKI!

  • SMOSHOHLIC!

    The Sand Ship was a great dungeon! The boss Tentalus pissed me off! That didn’t stop me liking it!

  • HeyListen!

    The sandship was well designed and featured the best puzzles of the game, but Skyward Sword was an easy game in general. I personally would rank this dungeon as the second worst within the game because the environment did not please me aesthetically. The complaint about the bosses has been heard often enough and a boss only defines a minor part of a dungeon, so disliking the sandship just because one didnt like the endboss is a little shallow in my opinion.

  • Fire and Ice Arrows

    I had a lot of trouble on this dungeon, but still really loved it.

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

    The Sand Ship is similarly designed like the Water Temple, and that’s what makes it so rewarding to play.

    Much like the Water Temple you have multiple paths through the dungeon, with lots of doors to choose from. Paths and doors that unlock under different circumstances (water levels in OoT, and time zones in SS).

    These are navigation dungeons, where the challenge is in figuring out how to travel through the dungeon properly.

    Either way I hope we see more dungeons like these in future Zelda titles since they are the only dungeons even remotely challenging for me anymore.

  • Zachary Morris

    Way too easy thanks to Fi but without her it would have been an interesting dungeon.

  • erikingvoldsen

    It’s not easy by Skyward Sword standards….but by Zelda standards….yeah, this is pretty easy. Especially since we pretty much already did it 3 dungeons ago.

    • JuicieJ

      Skyward Sword is one of the harder Zelda games…

      • http://www.triforcetalk9.blogspot.com/ Linkfan99

        I found the puzzles to be much easier than in the earlier on games, but the combat was more challenging.

        • JuicieJ

          I honestly didn’t have that much trouble with the puzzles, either, but I’m also a seasoned Zelda veteran. I know what kind of patterns to look for in the series’ puzzles. The fact that it actually managed to get me thinking rather than me just breezing right through, unlike The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, leads me to believe that Nintendo brought true ingenuity back to the dungeons. I put them right up there with those found in Majora’s Mask.

  • TheFrostDragon

    That giant strikingly yellow eye… It means something. It definitely means something.

  • http://www.triforcetalk9.blogspot.com/ Linkfan99

    I think the reason you don’t get the bow earlier is you would have been too powerful early on in the game.

  • JuicieJ

    The Sandship is definitely my favorite dungeon in Skyward Sword, as well as what I consider to be the game’s best. I’m not quite sure where I’d list it as a favorite in the entire series (although I know it’s not at #1 where the Stone Tower Temple is), but it definitely takes #3 in the best category, only under the Stone Tower Temple and Forest Temple (OoT).

  • HyruleHistory10

    For me the only part i was stuck on was the fact i did not realize the dingy on the side of the ship was for more than just show lol

  • triforce of courage

    The one thing I hated about this dungeon is that at one point Fi tells you to look up at the slits in the ceiling and even directly tells you to use your bow and arrow. That ruined one of the best puzzles in this dungeon. Clues from your helper should never be so brazen and never be mandatory! Nintendo may have gotten an acceptable difficulty level combat-wise in this game, but the difficulty of puzzles and figuring out what to do next was a shadow of the former brain-bending puzzles of early Zelda games.

  • Greenhill Deku

    This was an amazing dungeon! I loved the idea of exploring a ship (which wasn’t done since Phantom Hourglass) and the parts leading up to it with the Timeshift Stone boat was amazing! I agree the boss was a weak one and I personally did not like the design… However the beginning of it where the ship is sinking was pretty cool. Overall a great dungeon. 9/10

  • Bionicle Guy

    I found it the best dungeon in the game! It was very fun and not too hard, and it was a lll squashed into a ship! Epic!

  • Cmaster

    I liked this dungeon because it is a part of Zelda that has never been really looked through before. I know that in wind waker there is the ghost ship and in phantom hourglass there is another ghost ship. But it never really goes into detail about how big the ship is and most of the enemies on it because-correct me if I’m wrong-it has never been used as a dungeon before SS.

  • FenderGuitars777

    This dungeon and Snowpeak Ruins in TP top my list.

  • crzli

    Loved the dungeon, it wasn’t that hard. However, the boss and the mini-boss were frustrating for me.

  • Mr Triforce

    I don’t think I ever had a problem in terms of not knowing where to go. It seemed pretty straightforward, especially once you realise you just have to check every door

  • Lane Vujmi

    First time I saw the boss I thought it belonged in Monsters Inc.

  • Starblast16

    Uhh… You spelled Tentalus’ Title wrong. It’s the Abyssal Leviathan. Not the Abysmal Leviathan.

  • Narisha

    One of the main goals of skyward sword was to make the transition between overworld and dungeon more smooth, and I think the sandship is the dungeon that archives this in the most successfull way. While technically being a dungeon, it’s still directly integrated into the overworld. The puzzle design of the sandship is one of the most creative seen in the whole series, but presentation wise it’s the ancient cistern that stands out. But I have to correct one thing that’s mentioned in the article: even in the past there are enemies to be thought on the sandship. Namely the small scorpions and the electrifying bats. and through this, we come to another very cool feature from the designers of SS: When one hits a timeshift stone in the past to change the area into it’s future state, some enemies disappear during the change, while others spring to life because of it.

  • Hyrule’s Hero

    Skyward Sword SUCKS.

  • npatoray24

    i hated tentalus, i thought this was the cheesiest boss ive ever faught…. it looked like it came straight out of monsters inc, but overall i liked this dungeon, just disapointed by the boss

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003298020387 Alan Da Cruz Nascimento

    dat dick head