The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD has the potential to be one of the standout games of summer 2021. That’s because it was one of the standout games of fall 2011, and time has (mostly) been kind to this ambitious Zelda prequel. However, the game was always a bit hard to navigate, which Nintendo plans to address this time around.
Skyward Sword HD will allow you to return to the Sky hub area from anywhere at all in the game — but only if you buy a $25 amiibo accessory. That essentially means that you’ll have to dish out $85 if you want all of the game’s features on day one.
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Nintendo revealed this information in a short YouTube trailer for the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo figure, which will come out alongside the game on July 16. The product is exactly what it sounds like: an amiibo toy that depicts both Princess Zelda and the mountable bird Loftwing as they appear in Skyward Sword. (For those who don’t keep up with Nintendo paraphernalia, an amiibo is a small plastic statuette that can interact with various Nintendo consoles digitally.)
Here’s how the amiibo will work: In Skyward Sword, protagonist Link frequently moves between the Sky hub world, and various explorable environments and dungeons on the ground. In the original game, you could move between the two areas only at certain bird statues, which also let you save your progress. This was admittedly pretty inconvenient, since bird statues were not always near your quest objectives. By scanning the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo, players will be able to return to the Sky from anywhere in the game – even from within dungeons, giving players an easy out if they need to regroup.
This convenient feature has the potential to be frustrating for two reasons. First of all, there’s the issue of price. Most amiibos cost between $10 and $15, but Zelda & Loftwing will retail for $25, at least according to popular sites like Best Buy. That’s an awful lot of money for a small statuette, almost as though Nintendo is charging more because of its gameplay utility.
That brings us to the second reason why the Zelda & Loftwing functionality feels a little underhanded. Scanning an amiibo generally gives players small perks, such as alternate character skins or concept art galleries. Fast-travel, however, is a huge addition to Skyward Sword, and one that has the potential to change the overall experience dramatically. If Nintendo thought it was important to add this feature after 10 years, it seems odd to lock it behind a $25 gate.
In either case, Skyward Sword was perfectly completable without instant Sky travel, and we have to imagine that Skyward Sword HD will be the same in that respect. Still, $25 is a pretty steep asking price for a feature that could streamline the entire game. It also makes us wonder what other kinds of game-changing features Nintendo might incorporate into amiibos in the future — and how expensive the toys might get.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.