The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Game Poster Image
Stellar fantasy adventure gets refreshed for the Switch.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Like the original Nintendo Wii game, this doesn't contain many overt (or even subtle) messages. But there are themes like friendship (between Link and Zelda) and honor (defending the world from a nefarious threat).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Link is a brave and loyal character. He respects Zelda and her father, wants to help the townsfolk with various tasks, is willing to defend the innocent from a malevolent threat. But Link can also be lazy, according to Zelda, and he uses combat to attack enemies (swords, bow and arrow, other weapons) out of necessity. Overall, Link is a very good role model. Lack of racial diversity and skin color: There are Asian and White characters, but no Brown or Black characters.

Ease of Play

Can be played in a couple different ways, with basic button-based layout being the easiest. This is your primary option when JoyCon controllers are connected to the console (handheld mode). Also an option to disconnect JoyCon controllers and use motion controls, such as hacking and slashing your sword, but it isn't as accurate or intuitive as the button commands. Some minor issues in controlling the camera in button mode too, though.


Animated fantasy violence during many combat encounters -- mostly against non-human enemies like bats, giant spiders, slimy blobs, skeletons, demons -- using sword, bow and arrow, or other items you can purchase, such as bombs. There may be cries of pain by Link and fallen enemies, but no gore and little blood. Once defeated, enemies usually flash and disappear in a plume of smoke.


Some toilet humor, literally, as someone can be seen on the toilet (not graphic), and a toilet flush can be heard. This is during a mission called "The Haunted Restroom."


Like many other Nintendo Switch games, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD supports optional amiibo characters, which are purchased separately as physical action figures, but they unlock content in the game. This is also the latest chapter in the long-running Legend of Zelda franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is an animated fantasy adventure for the Nintendo Switch. It's a game based on the 2011 Nintendo Wii version -- starring one of Nintendo's most beloved characters, Link, in the latest chapter in The Legend of Zelda franchise. Players can also use amiibo figures (purchased separately) to gain access to additional content in the game. Much of the gameplay involves combat that pits Link against non-human enemies. The main weapon is a sword, but Link can purchase other items, such as a bow and arrow, bombs, and more. There's no gore, but a little blood is seen from some fallen enemies, who disappear after being defeated. The game has some bathroom humor in one of the missions.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMrpimphgg August 11, 2021
Teen, 14 years old Written byicecreamdoggie July 22, 2021

Great but Who the heck rated this higher than the original?!?!??

Kid, 12 years old July 22, 2021

Best game 2021

It has little violence. Some flirting. Dirty jokes, toilet hand. Overall, best game 2021.

What's it about?

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD HD stars a young Link, who vows to rescue his childhood companion, Zelda, who was kidnapped by an evil force. Zelda -- who is 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, who can provide Link with some guidance when he needs it. Link can also hop on the back of a giant bird, known as a Loftwing, and soar the unfriendly skies. You choose the direction, flap the bird's wings, and press a button for a temporary speed burst. But much of the gameplay focuses on exploring vast lands (including multiple dungeons, towns, and deserts), bypassing traps and other obstacles, and engaging in real-time combat. Like the original 2011 game for Nintendo Wii, players can detach the JoyCon controllers from each side of the Nintendo Switch and use the integrated motion controllers to synchronize their real-world movements with Link's swordplay. Whether you're holding the controller skyward (up) to charge its magic, slicing diagonally, jabbing forward, or performing a spin attack, all the actions are mirrored in the game. You can raise your shield during combat or to perform a preemptive shield bash against an opponent as well. You can use the Nintendo Switch controls without motion as well -- an option not available with this game's predecessor.

Is it any good?

While this is a 10-year-old revamp of a Wii title, it hasn't lost a single step in that whole time, and a new generation of players will love this title. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD gives you the choice to play with motion controls or not, which is important since the motion controls are still somewhat inaccurate, and thus frustrating, like those in the game it's based on. Giving you the option is a welcome addition, and since it's playable on Nintendo Switch, that means this classic adventure is now portable for the first time. That said, rotating the camera can be a little cumbersome in the button-only mode as the right analog stick doesn't move it as in most games (instead, you need to press the L shoulder button first).

Nostalgia aside, this Nintendo offering also introduces this stellar game to a whole new generation of players. Reading a lot of dialogue might not be in vogue today, but the engaging gameplay will keep players glued to the screen hour after hour. There are a couple of new additions, too -- such as amiibo support, the ability to skip past some (once mandatory) cutscene sequences and tutorials, and being able to summon Fi for help instead of her cutting into your gameplay uninvited -- but for the most part, it's the same game. And that's just fine. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD also adds new emotion to the story. You can feel the admiration and attraction between Link and Zelda when the two are speaking closely. It gives you a sense of extra purpose to your actions when she's taken. Some missions are better than others, of course, but overall it's a well-crafted adventure you won't soon forget.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD  affected by the inclusion of blood as part of combat? Would the impact of combat be lessened if there wasn't any blood shown? Why do you think the developers included blood as a result of doing battle?

  • Is remastering older games for newer hardware lazy on Nintendo's part, since much of the work has been done already? Is Nintendo simply recycling content to make more money? Or is this a smart move, because a good game is a good game that should be played over the years, and it should be updated and enjoyed by new audiences?

Game details

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For kids who love adventure

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