A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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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."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.