The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Common Sense Media says

Beloved series delivers cleverly crafted adventure.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Link, the young hero in this game, sets out to rescue his childhood friend, Zelda. The message is about fighting back against evil, following your heart, and protecting others from malevolence.

Positive role models

Link is a brave boy who is picked on by others early in the game, but proves his strength, agility, and nobility when venturing to the surface world to rescue the kidnapped Zelda. While Link uses his sword for combat, it is stressed not to abuse the privilege. Link is a kind person but does use violence -- in defense -- to bypass most obstacles.

Ease of play

Controlling Link on the ground is easy enough, between the Wii Remote and nunchuk controller, but maneuvering your giant bird through the skies takes a lot of practice. As a result, the game is mostly easy to play but some may have difficulty in the air.

Violence

The game has some animated violence and small amounts of blood as Link takes on the many malevolent creatures in this game. There is no gore and enemies disappear on the ground after they've been slain. The player's actions while holding the Wii MotionPlus controller are precisely tied to Link's sword in the game.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD is an adventure game that is ideal for tweens (and older) but not little kids as there is a lot of fantasy combat. Hero Link's main weapon is a sword that can hack and slash enemies -- and with the Wii MotionPlus controller is accurately modeled to the player's real movement in front of the TV -- which might concern some parents. There is a small amount of blood seen in the game from fallen baddies, but it disappears with the body.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Science

  • physics
  • energy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • solving puzzles
  • analyzing evidence

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • empathy

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills
  • gross motor skills
  • movement

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Learning Approach

Support

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Science

  • physics
  • energy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • solving puzzles
  • analyzing evidence

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • empathy

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills
  • gross motor skills
  • movement

Kids can learn about solving problems when they become Link, the hero who's on a journey to find and rescue his childhood friend, Zelda. Kids can also learn about physics as they interact with the game's environments. Since this game uses players’ motions (made while holding the Wii Remote) in a direct relationship to Link's actions on the screen, kids can sharpen motor skills as they face off against foes. By reading through this story, kids might reflect upon the meaning of friendship, commitment, and honor. Kids must think critically and use big motions to fight, but learning is limited.

This Learning Rating review was written by Marc Saltzman

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

As with past The Legend of Zelda titles, you play as a young boy named Link, who must rescue his childhood companion Zelda from evil kidnappers. Zelda -- not yet a princess in this prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time -- was snatched from the peaceful floating islands of Skyloft and taken to the dangerous surface world below. To aid in his quest, Link is presented with the magical Skyward Sword, which houses a spiritual aid named Fi; she resides inside the blade when Link needs some guidance. Control and flight are two of the key differences between The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and previous Zelda games. With the former, the game takes advantage of Wii MotionPlus technology to synchronize your real-world movements with the controller and Link's swordplay in the game. Whether you're holding the sword skyward (up) to charge its magic, slicing diagonally, jabbing forward, or performing a spin attack, all the actions are precisely mirrored in the game. Link can also hop on the back of a giant bird, known as a Loftwing, and soar the unfriendly skies.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a huge and ambitious single-player adventure. Much of your time will be spent exploring vast lands (including multiple dungeons, towns, and deserts), bypassing traps and other obstacles, engaging in real-time combat, talking with characters, and amassing an inventory of items that can be used to upgrade weapons and equipment. Visually speaking, Skyward Sword is the best-looking Zelda game to date but anyone who spends time gaming on an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or PC will no doubt feel the graphics are outdated. Also, be prepared for quite a bit of dialogue. It's often repetitive, too, so younger gamers may grow tired of reading all the text (and no, these lines aren't spoken aloud). Despite its few shortcomings, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is an extraordinary adventure, whether you're new to the franchise or a longtime fan. It cleverly fuses multiple play mechanics together -- action, exploration, platforming, flying, puzzle-solving, and some role-playing -- all wrapped in a lengthy, enchanting tale.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the 25 year-old Legend of Zelda series and what makes it so special? Is it the classic good vs. evil premise? The tender relationship between Link and Zelda? The clever combination of action, platforming, puzzle-solving, and exploration?

  • Families can then talk about whether this latest game still has the magic, and if so, why.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Price:$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:November 20, 2011
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:E10+ for Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence (Nintendo Wii)

This review of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bySovaso March 7, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Truly a Legend

This game is truly a legend. It has a 10/10 gameplay and uses great varity of the Wii software. The graphics, which combine the realistic graphics of Twilight Princess with the wimsical art style of The Wind Waker (for those who don't know, these are other Zelda games). However, with a few strange lines and plenty of action packed violence, this game is iffy for ages 11 and lower. This game is very educational because of all the puzzles. Examples of a few puzzles are using stones to shift time, manipulating the layout of some areas and navigating through underground mazes. This game also encourages kids to stand up for their friends. Link is a great role model because he perservers to find his friend, Zelda. He also defeats evil everywhere and will help his friends other than Zelda, specifically a young guy named Fledge. Skyward Sword has a ton of action violence that mirror you and the Wii remote. A small amount of blood takes place mostly inside the Thunderhead and in the Faron Woods (after you defeat a "Skulltula"). Another violent aspect is one of the sword manuvers Link learns is called "The Fatal Blow". As suggusted by the name, "The Fatal Blow" consists of Link vaulting into the air and stabbing the enemies heart/neck delivering a fatal blow. The game can also be frustrating because of four realms in the game called "The Silent Realms" which force Link into an area where he can't be seen or hit...while collecting sacred tears. He can't fight back, nor use any items. The dialogue " I'll make you scream so hard, you ears will be bleeding" is also heard once or twice in the game, said mostly by the antagonist, Ghirahim. Speaking of dialogue, one of the characters in the game, Groose, talks about Zelda and himself having "their special moment together". Ghirahim licks his lips once in the game and ensures an awkward moment. Overall, I give this game a 10/10. It is truly a legend and should not EVER be passed up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old November 24, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

THE greatest game ever!

Awesomeness, plain and simple.
Parent Written bySteve S. December 2, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Six Stars!

My 12-year-old son thoroughly enjoys this game! I have to agree that of all of the Zelda games he has (and that's a fair number), it is hands down the best balance of challenge, adventure, humor, and all of the other things that make Zelda games universal favorites. There is enough challenge to keep interest level high and enough story to keep you guessing throughout the game. If there were six stars, I'd give them. It's games like this one that Nintendo needs to issue to keep breathing life into the Wii platform. As another poster said, it's all about the game play! UPDATE: My son is now 13 and he got a lot of good play out of this game. However, he (and some of his friends) have gotten seriously stuck at a certain point in the game and have just given up. To this I say: be persistent! The game can be completed and if your child gets past this sticking point (in the Cistern), it will be very rewarding for them.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide