This is a tale that you humans have told for many ages, generation to generation... but there are other legends, long hidden away from memory, that are intertwined with this tale. Now, a new legend bound to this great story stands ready to be revealed. A legend that will be forged by your own hand. —Fi
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the sixteenth game in The Legend of Zelda series, and the first chronologically (with the second in the timeline currently being The Minish Cap, which takes place an unspecified amount of time after this title). The game was released in November 2011 for the Wii.The story follows Link, a young man who lives in a land above the clouds called Skyloft, where knowledge of the surface below is all but lost. Among Link's friends in Skyloft is a girl named Zelda; Link wins Skyloft's annual bird-riding contest and he gets to take her out on a date afterwards. As they fly among the clouds, a dark whirlwind springs up around the two, separating them; Link's Loftwing saves him from his fall, but Zelda is lost to the surface. Upon returning to Skyloft, Link is visited by a mysterious being named Fi, the spirit who inhabits a weapon, hidden in the temple of Skyloft, known as the Goddess Sword (not the Master Sword as everyone guessed).note Which, over the course of the game, BECOMES the Master SwordIn order to save Zelda and restore peace to Skyloft, Fi leads Link to a land below the clouds devoid of humans and inhabited by strange creatures facing an onslaught from monsters who seem just as interested in locating Zelda as Link. Link must travel back and forth between the surface and Skyloft in order to find Zelda and defeat the forces of the Demon Lord Ghirahim, the evil ruler of the surface world who is planning to use Zelda to awaken an even greater evil from a dark, bygone era.At the Press Conferences and at E3, Nintendo mentioned that they built this game around Wii Motion Plus partially due to criticism of the tacked-on motion controls in the last console game, Twilight Princess. That game was imported to the Wii during the development of the GameCube version, but this game requires the Wii Motion Plus accessory in order to play. In other words, this is the Zelda game made specifically for the console. The game's visual style resembles both Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker in that the designs for the characters have realistic proportions while still being cel-shaded. Miyamoto says that the painterly style was specifically inspired by Impressionist paintings, and was done to accommodate the new control scheme by making enemies and their attacks easier to see.
This game provides examples of:
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Absurdly Dedicated Worker: The cute Aztec-looking little electric robot guys in the Lanayru Mines. It's out of use, and the robots old stones by now, but Link reactivates the time stones the robots once harvested, which causes things to return to the way they once were (in certain spots). They are proud, single-minded laborers even after all those years.
Link has to deal with the kidnapping of his best friend, as well as a number of instances where she was helpless and would have been brutally killed by a demon if he hadn't intervened. Also, at one point in the game, Link has to outright tell Zelda's father that his daughter is not coming back.
Kukiel's mom is shown to be completely terrified when Kukiel suddenly disappeared. The disappearance of Kukiel is set up to look exactly like a child abduction that might show up on the news. She went out to play and never came home. When you ask around, all people can tell you was that she was last seen playing with a strange man. And from all evidence, he took her to his house. Turns out the guy is harmless and sends her home the next morning, but still!
After Boss Recovery: You get a heart container after each significant boss, as is tradition for the Zelda series.
This game takes place after a demonic war resulted in the goddess Hylia moving the human population of what eventually becomes Hyrule to a safe haven in the sky. Fortunately, things get sorted out and the surface ends up thriving again sometime between this game and The Minish Cap, which is currently the first chronologically to feature a Link native to the surface.
Within this game, the Lanayru Province with its ruined factories that are fully industrial under the influence of an active Timeshift Stone suggests that the entire Zelda franchise takes place in this. The region itself has certainly seen better days; in Link's own time period it's a vast desert, but under the influence of Timeshift Stones it is full of lush plant life and borders a sea, whose harbor is all but abandoned in Link's own time.
The Ageless: Dragons are implied to be this. But they can "die" from other causes, or at least become unable to move, as evidenced by the Thunder Dragon's skeleton, had the player not cured him of his illness. It still responds by lighting up his eyes, much like how the robots still respond, but cannot move or speak as he is only bones.
All Myths Are True: In Twilight Princess, there is a Mr. Exposition who rambles about the rumors of a civilization who lives in the clouds closest to the heavens and that the people who lived there, the Hylians, are descended from the gods themselves. This game proves both, the latter of which is a key plot point for Zelda's background: she is the goddess Hylia reincarnated in human form.
Ambiguously Gay: Ghirahim, with his effeminate clothes, jewelry, makeup, and haircut. Also, that tongue thing, which often results in a very gross wet willy for Link.
Anachronism Stew: The game gets really crazy with the ancient/futuristic mishmash by the time you get to the Lanayru Desert, where the futuristic parts are actually from the past.
And I Must Scream: While it's debatable the husks of the ancient robots are still "alive" in the present, the Thunder Dragon clearly is, as his eyes glow whenever speaking to his skeleton. His in-game dialogue even suggests this was the case, after the Tree of Life fruit heals him in the past.
Animal Theme Naming: A number of Skyloft's citizens have bird-inspired names. Pipit and Piper are two species of birds. Fledge(ling) is a term meaning a young bird. Groose, Orielle and Karane are similar to "Grouse"/"Goose", "Oriole", and "Crane", and Stritch is clearly "Ostrich". Instructor Owlan's name, obviously, has "Owl" in it, and Sparrot and Parrow are both combinations of "Sparrow" and "Parrot", with Sparrot's name being a portmanteau of "sparrow" and "tarot"(seeing as he's a fortune teller). Additionally, the headmaster is also named after the owl from Ocarina of Time and other games. In the case of Cawlin, if his name isn't based on the "Macaw", it does have the sound that a crow makes.
Another Side, Another Story: During the end credits, you get to see Zelda's side of the whole situation and how she ended up where she was when you met up with her.
Applied Phlebotinum: Timeshift stones, which turns the area around it back to the state it was in the past. This includes enemies, who will revive when within range of a Timeshift stone and then suddenly vanish back into skeletons/rubble if they stray outside it. Inexplicably, Link is exempt from these changes.note With the time travel involved in the game (Link even beats the Bigger Bad far back in the past), it's theorized that the Timeshift Stones either were specifically designed to exclude him, or somehow managed to record his current presence and existence in the past era, so he technically remains the same in both periods.
Fi is one as well, unless you count her wing-like cloak as her arms. Concept art actually reveals that she does have arms under her cloak.
Armor Is Useless: Link starts with normal clothes before getting his trademark tunic, which in this game clearly has chain-mail under it. This has no effect on the amount of damage taken, though it doesn't slow him down either, not that any would expect that.
In order to take advantage of the new control scheme, the enemy AI has become smarter and more strategic, more consistently blocking Link's attacks and require a lot more dodging, to accommodate the new controls. Even enemies like Bokoblins (a veritable Red Shirt Army in Twilight Princess, and they weren't anything special in their debut in The Wind Waker either) will stomp on your fingers if they spot you on a ledge.
Also goes for Skulltulas, who do their best to hide their weak backside. This is a far cry from the Skulltulas of Ocarina of Time, who simply turned around and exposed their weak undersides for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Bokoblins, despite their descriptions of being not terribly intelligent, will do various things such as taking cover from a lobbed bombs, running away (or even attacking) the Beetle if you fly it near them, throwing their boulders if Link catches them at close range (so they don't drop them when Link attacks them), and so on.
Lizalfos defy the ease of sniping enemies from afar with your bow by blocking every shot you try to take at them from the front, even if they're not aware of your presence.
When a Bokoblin carrying a monster horn is slain in battle, every other Bokoblin in the area will charge over to grab it and defend the one who obtains it.
The Bokoblin smartness is deliberately removed when Link is forced to battle his way through an utterly absurd number of Bokoblins to reach the Big Bad before he uses Zelda to revive the Bigger Bad, and Link can slice through dozens of them with them rarely, if ever, blocking his blows.
Artistic License - Chemistry: It's never explained how rupoors cause Link to lose money or why the black ore that they're made of has such an undesirable reaction with rupees. To top it off, glittering spores will change rupoors into rupees.
Asteroids Monster: Like Twilight Princess before it, Chuchus merely split apart into smaller Chuchus when you slice through them. But watch your angle of attack — a horizontal slice will result in the smaller Chuchus landing one on top of the other and immediately recombining into their larger form.
If you're quick, a vertical strike right afterward will kill them both.
As You Know: Employed verbatim, repeatedly during the earliest parts of the game, to explain the Back Story of Skyloft to the player via Link.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: The huge wave of enemies Ghirahim sends at you for the express purpose of stalling you while they die.
Moblins become fixated on nearby primed bombs and slowly back away from them. Because of this, you can easily run behind and attack them. If you do, they'll turn around and retaliate, forgetting about the bomb that's about to blow up behind them.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Gondo's mother is always complaining about how she's stuck doing all her son's dirty laundry while he fixes his robot. Even after you help him complete this task, this continues, making him seem selfish. However, if you talk to Scrapper at night at Gondo's home he'll reveal that Gondo has been building his mother an automatic washing machine.
Bad Present: The Lanayru Region becomes this once you start messing around with Timeshift Stones and see how lush, green, and lively it was before it became a barren desert wasteland. This is particularly jarring with the Sand Sea, which was an actual ocean before it dried up.
Barehanded Blade Block: Ghirahim, in the first part of his duel with Link, can block Link's sword with the tips of his fingers in a distinctly Aizen-ish manner. Not only that, but he can actually snatch Link's sword out of his hands and use it against him.
Battle Strip: Ghirahim, in the second battle. Downplayed because he appears to retain some kind of skin-tight bodysuit.
Link pulls this after getting through the third dungeon, saving Zelda and Impa from Ghirahim's ambush. It also gives you an opportunity to throw an awesome retort back in Impa's face after her harsh words towards you earlier for your lack of punctuality.
Groose also does this in the endgame, by catching Zelda once Demise flings her up into the air.
Early in the game, when Zelda pushes Link off of Skyloft to get him to practice, she quickly realizes that Link was telling the truth about not being able to sense his Loftwing and quickly calls her own Loftwing to save him.
Bittersweet Ending: Even through all the happiness of reawakening Zelda and the two protagonists settling down to start a new land, Fi and Impa's departures are sad, and Demise goes out with an As Long as There Is Evil speech, setting up for the later villains in the series (especially but not limited to Ganon/Ganondorf). Justified Trope, of course, as a completely perfect ending would mean the later games in the series wouldn't happen.
Bizarrchitecture: Sky Keep, whose rooms can be moved via special tile panels, changing drastically the layout of the dungeon.
Meta-example: Twilight Princess was a Wii launch title, while Skyward Sword was released on the tail end of the Wii's life cycle.
The first dungeon you visit is based on partial sounds reaching bombastic levels as you travel deeper through the dungeon. The final dungeon in Twilight Princess consists of doing the exact opposite, with the background music having strong strings as you approach the final boss, which is near the top of the castle.
An In-Game example as well with Ghirahim being the boss of the first and last dungeons (not counting the Sky Keep, which has no boss).
In the beginning of the game there's a long chitchat between Zelda and Link about how the latter is a known sleepyhead and Zelda always has to wake him up. This may seem like an useless fact, but it later becomes a great development point for Zelda (one of the few she ever gets) and her relationship with Link, when she decides to lock herself up in the Sealed Temple of the Past and wait for her friend to come and wake her up, just as she used to do for him.
The very first and very last area of the surface that you visit is the Sealed Grounds (though in the past, it's technically called Hylia's Realm according to the map).
The final dungeon is directly across from the game's Noob Cave.
The Staff Roll music begins and ends with the same sub-melody.
The Statue of the Goddess is the first and the last place where Link and Zelda are shown together.
Link and Zelda's Loftwings flying together without their riders only happens at the beginning and the end of the game.
The slingshot, compared to the other games, where it's normally quickly replaced by the bow. Now that the bow is much more of a Sniper Weapon, the Slingshot sees much more usage this time and its ability to stun enemies can prove valuable. You can even upgrade it to fire multiple shots.
Link can fully regenerate his hearts by sitting down on a chair to rest for a while. This is especially useful in Hero Mode, when there are no heart drops, but the surface is littered with stumps and stools that Link can rest on to quickly recover fully. Even some dungeons have them.
The Gust Bellows, which is essentially a leaf blower that's powered by magic. It does no damage to enemies and will push back only the lightest of foes a few feet away from Link when he uses it against them. Doesn't mean that it isn't incredibly useful when solving puzzles requiring a controlled force of air, however. It is also good for keeping enemies from seeing you (like when you're captured by Bokoblins on Eldin Volcano) or stunning/throwing off balance certain enemies.
Stalmaster, a mini-boss who is encountered twice, is an upgraded Stalfos that inflicts unusually-large amounts of damage, swiftly counter-attacks every failed attempt to hit its weak point (which, like many melee-range enemies, it shifts frequently), requires faster-reflex fencing than every opponent outside of the final boss, and has three phases (though the third is no different from the second, just twice as fast.)
During the Bokoblin horde battle near the end, one of the monsters Link needs to kill to lower a barrier looks like an ordinary Blue Bokoblin. However, it's much faster and more aggressive, and can take many more hits.
Boss Room: Subverted with Tentalus, who chases you out of the Sand Ship before the actual battle, which takes place atop its floating wreckage.
Boss Rush: Returning from Ocarina of Time 3D in the form of the Lightning Round minigame by Thunder Dragon Lanayru. Also, Sky Keep has a variant where in three successive rooms you fight minibosses, ending with a past miniboss assisted by flunkies.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Aside from a variety of in-game control instructions and tutorials, Fi herself will annoyingly alert the player if "the batteries in your Wii Remote are nearly depleted;" this will happen surprisingly often, as Skyward Sword's extensive use of the WiiMotion Plus drains the remote's batteries more quickly than most other games.
Bridge Logic: Link can blow up Bokoblin sentry towers to bridge chasms.
Bring It: Link's response when confronted with Ghirahim's Bokoblin horde is to simply shoot them a Death Glare and grab the hilt of his sword.
Broken Bridge: Despite the fact the people of Skyloft have mastered metallurgy and manufactured many flying machines, they can't replace a simple lost propeller that turns a windmill, forcing a Chain of Deals to find it and restore it.
Link can swing on vines to get from one place to another.
Later in the game, he can use the whip for this very same purpose.
But Thou Must: When you go through The Gate of Time and witness Zelda sealing herself up in the past in order to prevent a great evil from escaping, she asks you to make a promise to wake her up in the future. Your three available replies are "I promise.", "I will.", and "Of course!" Justified as a negative response would be counterproductive to the plot, out of character, and a dick move.
Captain Ersatz: Demise to Ganondorf, and The Imprisoned to Ganon. No subtitles, with only the name given, and regarded as the culmination of evil...the list goes on. Of course, this is all justified because Ganondorf is the reincarnation of Demise's eternal hatred.
Cassandra Truth: Shortly before Zelda has Link train for the race, Link informs her that he can't sense his scarlet Loftwing anywhere. Zelda initially thinks Link's attempting to weasel out of training. Unfortunately, she doesn't discover until shortly after shoving him off that Link was actually being honest: his Crimson Loftwing really was missing.
Catapult Nightmare: Link does it twice; at the start of the game, and later after being separated from Zelda by a whirlwind and waking up back at the Knight Academy.
Cel Shading: Envision the Link from Twilight Princess with a cel-shaded style that is reminiscent of Impressionist paintings, and you won't be far off from what Skyward Sword looks like. Miyamoto actually said this was necessary to make enemy actions more visible, to accommodate using MotionPlus sword controls.
Celebrity Endorsement: In Japan, there were a number of commercials featuring gameplay interviews with actresses Shouko Nakagawa and Chiaki Kuriyama. In the Western hemisphere, Robin Williams and his daughter Zelda Williams—who's named after the eponymous princess—were featured in commercials and Nintendo Magazine did a couple of video interviews with Zelda Williams to count down the days until Skyward Sword's release.
Check Point: Bird statues within dungeons, in addition to providing a convenient place to save, are also where the game is loaded upon restarting after a game over, rather than sending Link back to the beginning point.
When you are allowed to wander through Skyloft for the very first time, an old man is examining a particular bird statue and laments how said statue is missing one eye. Guess how you get into the last temple?
The first time you explore the Bazaar you may run into a broken-down robot in the repair shop, and a few characters may comment on how it used to fly below the clouds and retrieve treasures.
Some NPC's will ask you to retrieve particular items that fell down beneath the clouds somewhere ... items that you probably saw on your first trip through the area but just dismissed as part of the local scenery.
City of Gold: Averted. Gorko believes that the buildings in Skyloft are made of gold. He's wrong, but the rest of his description on the city is accurate.
Clipped Wing Angel: Demise while in the form of the Imprisoned. Zelda states that while he's not as powerful in this form, he's still more than capable of razing the surface if left unchecked.
Clothes Make the Legend: This time, the tunic is a standard Skyloft Knight Academy uniform, though the color varies by year — upperclassmen such as Pipit have different colors, such as yellow or light green. Considering that Skyward Sword is the first playable entry in the series' in-universe chronology, and retroactively established where many of the series' recurring themes and characters (including all later incarnations of its three most important characters) came from, the game is more a story of how the clothes became the legend.
A prequel chapter by the two-woman team who created most of the Zelda Manga, Akira Himekawa. It focuses on both Link when he was little and when he gets his crimson Loftwing, and on a previous Link who fought in the war mentioned in the back story.
There is also a webcomic, by the creators of Penny Arcade, portraying Gaepora's perspective at the beginning of the game.
Happens to several things due to the whole living in the sky thing.
The relative scarcity of the resources needed for the item upgrade shop also qualify, since the flavor text does not take into account how many you'll need versus how many an average player will gather.
Continuity Porn: If you're not a fan of Zelda, then you're missing an average of fifteen or more references an hour. Almost everything in this game shouts out or nods to every other continuity. If it's in this game, it most likely has a counterpart somewhere else. If it's a Boss, you're going for triple the references.
Continuing Is Painful: If you used up potions or Fairies (or broke your shield) before losing a given Boss Battle, you don't get them back when choosing to continue — you're better off taking the Game Over and doing a hard restart from your last Save Point (and you can still skip the boss's introductory cutscenes).
Convection Schmonvection: Averted at one point in Eldin Volcano, where you cannot enter the summit due to extremely high temperatures. In fact, if you enter the room prior to the summit without wearing a special pair of magic earrings, you will catch fire from the heat alone. Although, given the series' history, that doesn't mean the game is consistent with this as the trope is otherwise played ridiculously straight.
Cool Boat: Link can control one in the Lanayru region.
Cool Key: The Boss Keys in this game are 3-dimensional golden sculptures that have to be turned the right way before inserting them. As well, the Goddess Sword itself can be used as a key to activate certain devices.
Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: Despite being chronologically the first game in the series, the gameplay has been advanced drastically with motion controls and an updated movement code (dashing up walls, running quickly instead of rolling), making the following Links seem less than athletic in comparison. Story-wise, there's even a dungeon based around electricity.
Critical Annoyance: The alarm that sounds off when you're low on health is back, now with the addition of being prompted by Fi that you must collect hearts to regain health.
In Cawlin's lovequest, you can either deliver his love letter to Karane, which results in him being pushed aside by Pipit, making him run away crying and let him be depressed for the entire game or give it to a ghost in the bathroom, resulting him being harassed by that ghost who has now fallen in love with him, giving him terrible nightmares as she gently strokes his hair when he sleeps. Making it worse is that he pleas Link for help, whom he still despises for toying with his trust. The game does not allow you to help him, even when he actually thinks the ghost is Groose out on revenge and Groose (who is not dead) requested you to tell both Cawlin and Strich that he is OK. Only at the ending of the game you see Cawlin and Strich meet up with Groose, meaning you somehow told them anyway. However, Cawlin is still damned for all eternity.
The Peatrice sidestory. You can either turn her down in a soul-crushing way, or claim to return her feelings, in which case you're probably two-timing Zelda. Or you can avoid talking to her, making 100% Completion impossible and leaving her hanging indefinitely. No choice is really ideal.
To a lesser extent of "only option", breaking the chandelier in the Lumpy Pumpkin is the only way to get the Piece of Heart. The game even encourages you to do this by opening up a sidequest based around paying off your debt. This overlaps with Gameplay and Story Segregation, as Link could normally use the Beetle or the Clawshots to get the items without destroying the chandelier, but the game prevents him from using them in the Lumpy Pumpkin.
Culture Chop Suey: As is typical of the series, and also one of the few times Medieval European Fantasy takes up a much smaller portion of the mix. The Ancient Cistern, for one, is a Buddhist-like temple with a boss that resembles a Hindu deity but has a name (Koloktos) whose spelling implies a Greek origin. The Earth Temple is modeled on Mongolian temples while the Fire Sanctuary has a decidedly Indian motif. Also, the Lanayru Sand Sea features many hallmarks of the 17th to 18th century Golden Age of Piracy (e.g. tricorn hats, contemporary ships and cannons). The Three Dragons look like the dragons of Japanese art and lore, even wearing stylized kimonos, and Japanese music plays in the background during their cut scenes. And the music associated with Fi, the Goddess' Statue, and the Isle of Songs have a Medieval/Renaissance-era vibe.
Cursed with Awesome: The Cursed Medal prevents you from opening your pouch (i.e: using your shield or potions), in exchange for making Rupees and treasures appear with greater frequency.
Cute Kitten: Remlits, during the day. At night, however...
Dark Is Not Evil: The game features a demonic-looking bat guy named Batreaux who lives in a creepy dark house under a graveyard. It turns out he's a soft-hearted wuss who wants to befriend the local humans, but everyone's just too freaked out by him to give him the time of day; helping him turn human is one of the game's sidequests.
On an interesting note, even though he himself is benevolent, his very presence seems to exude evil energies or something, as once you complete the quest and turn him human, all of the monsters that appear in Skyloft at night stop appearing and the Remlits no longer go rabid.
The Dark Times: The game takes place during such an era that was referenced in several previous games. The backstory also states that an even worse era, which ended when Skyloft was raised from the ground and the goddess defeated the army of demons, preceded this one.
Dark World: The Silent Realm, a blue-and-orange mirror of the real world into which Link must venture in order to collect magical tears while evading the Guardians. It also shows off the quality of the new movement system, since Link has no weapons or items with which to defend himself.
Degraded Boss: Another Moldarach (the dungeon boss of the Lanayru Mining Facility) shows up as a mini-boss while searching for the Sandship. Justified in this case since Moldarach wasn't a unique creature, just the final metamorphosis of the little scorpions you see all over the place.
Decon-Recon Switch: Of the classic Zelda storyline. Most tropes you normally see for the Zelda franchise are inverted here, but then properly fulfilled by the end of the game.
The game gets incredibly meta. Knock a piece of heart down from a high place, and you have to pay for everything you broke in the process. Get a letter from someone, and immediately get chastised for wanting to give it to ??? in the bathroom.
In this game, you get scolded for invading people's privacy every time you examine their closets/cupboards/armoires. There's one of these in almost every room in Skyloft, and you'll get scolded every time. It's almost guaranteed that the last room you'll explore is Zelda's room, which means you'll have been chastised dozens of times by that point. Only by opening up her cupboard can you get a heart piece.
Dem Bones: Stalfos come back, but are much more of a threat than before. There is also a four-armed version called Stalmaster encountered as a mini-boss twice.
Determinator: Impa stays alive for "thousands of years" in order to carry out the Goddess's commands as well as see Zelda again.
Even with the use of a walk through walls code, one cannot enter the Eldin Volcano Summit (the inner area, where the Fire Sanctuary lies) early. No matter how close you try to get to the entrance, Fi will keep telling you that you will have an insufficient amount of hearts and cannot stand the extreme temperatures and keeps sending you back.
Complete the Sandship generator puzzle before visiting the brig of the ship and the robot you talk to there will say something like "Oh, you've already activated the generator! So just come through the engine room and save us."
Also, if you go back to the reconstructed Sandship, you'll see the robots instead of monsters. They've even locked away the Technoblins.
Knock a Technoblin out of a Timeshift Stone's area of effect and they will immediately revert to a lifeless pile of bones. Get them within range again, and they will either get back up or die, depending on whether the last hit you dealt them was fatal.
If you notice early on that vines will unravel after rolling into a tree and do so to the tree closest to the Elder Kikwi, he will have you skip practicing on shooting a vine down and comment on how much "you couldn't wait."
One particularly snarky Gossip Stone in Eldin Volcano will ask if you want to hear his rumor a second time. Answer "no", and it mutters, "Rumor has it you're some kind of genius who remembers things perfectly the first time..."
During the cutscenes, Link will be shown carrying and using the shield the player had equipped when the scene started, including no shield at all.
At one point, Link encounters in Lanayru Desert a broken gate, and he has then to find another way to enter the Temple of Time, fight its boss, then watch one epic cutscene involving Zelda and Impa finishing activating the Gate of Time behind THAT broken gate. But if you're impatient, you can use an upgraded beetle to fly over that gate and see the two of them attempting to activate that same Gate of Time, which is logically not yet open.
When buzzing about Faron Woods with the claw beetle, you may discover you can carry hornet nests with it. You may then get the devious idea of dropping the nest on a baddie. Lo and behold, they will react to the swarm of angry hornets attacking them as well.
Dialogue Tree: There are times when Link has two to four dialogue choices to choose from, Mass Effect-style minus the Morality system. Mostly he gets three choices; one affirmative, one negative, and one uncertain. Whatever you choose has no effect on the game though.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: While beating physical god level enemies is nothing new, Hylia was left crippled after her battle with Demise, and Link goes and beats him without any lasting injuries. So he did better against the God of Evil than an actual deity did.
Difficulty Spike/Wake-Up Call Boss: If you're not good with the sword, then you really are not fit to fight against some bosses. Unlike most Zelda games, this one does not rely on items, but instead almost purely on your sword skills.
After a mostly easy five to six hours into the game, Ghirahim comes in as the first proper boss. He hits very hard and quick compared to the Mooks who are almost always extremely slow and predictable. You beat him with nothing but your sword skills (and if you don't have any sword skills yet, he gives you some biting criticism while you struggle to develop them), as the Beetle flies too slowly and is unable to damage humanoid enemies.
Demise is a big step up in difficulty since, unlike other enemies, he doesn't stagger when you shield bash his attacks. The only difference is that if you time it right, you won't get knocked back, but at best you only get a couple hits in before he counterattacks. The 2nd phase gets even worse because then he electrifies his sword, and you're only going to be able to hit him by electrifying your sword and doing an electric Skyward Strike on him. However, if you get through enough (a LOT of) attacks he will stagger and fall and you can end him with your finishing blow. Since you have to hold your sword upwards while doing this, it leaves you wide open to an attack. If you get too far away from him, he'll perform a dash attack that you can only avoid with a very precisely timed backflip. If he hits you while your sword is electrified, you'll lose that power.note Alternatively, if you time your shield blocks well enough you will have time to strike him once or twice normally.
Divine Conflict: When the Demon King, Demise and his minions invaded the surface, the goddess Hylia drove them back and sealed Demise away. Their conflict eventually continues throughout the rest of the Zelda's series, where Link must help Zelda (reincarnation of Hylia) fight Ganon (reincarnation of Demise).
Door To Before: You'll frequently move blocks, unlock gates, etc. from the far side after taking the long way around first. In a few cases these aren't just shortcuts for return trips, but needed to solve subsequent puzzles.
Double Meaning Title: In an Iwata Asks interview, the devs mentioned that in addition to "Skyward" meaning "towards the sky", they picked up from the American team that "ward" means "to defend", giving it the double meaning of "Protector of the/from the sky".
The Thunder Dragon will offer you the Hylian Shield if you can beat 8 of the bosses you have already fought. This is the only shield in the game that doesn't take any damage whatsoever, so it's a lot more desireable than the 2,000 Rupees that he gives you for beating all 9-12 that you can challenge. But you have to beat exactly 8 bosses. If you beat more than eight, you have to start over and quit after beating 8 to get the shield.
Getting over 28 points in the "Clean Cut" minigame will earn you rare treasures like Goddess Plumes and Golden Skulls. However, getting between 20 and 23 points will get you an Evil Crystal, another rare item. On the same minigame, the prize for 15-19 points is 30 Rupees. Since the game costs 10 Rupees, getting this relatively low score every few times will ensure that you'll never run out of Rupees while playing it.
Dowsing Device: The titular sword can act as this with the help of Fi, to locate things from keys to hearts to Zelda herself.
Dramatic Irony: When Link inadvertently romances Peatrice, her father Peater takes note of her change in behavior and concludes that she must have an unwanted admirer harassing her. So he confronts Link with this... to ask him to get this guy off her back for him. And what does he offer Link for his help? The chance to ask out his daughter, of course!
Dual Wielding: Stalfos, and the second battle against Ghirahim. Koloktos does some Hex Wielding, six scimitars with six arms.
Dungeon Town: More like Dungeon Overworld.The developers have said that they were trying to address the complaints of the overworld of the 3D games being Filler, with not much to do beyond Side Quests and getting from one dungeon to the other, by adding puzzles and enemies normally found in the dungeons. Though the actual overworld, the sky, plays out more like a traditional Zelda overworld, it is much smaller and easier to traverse. The surface, though, will see you beating baddies and figuring out puzzles like any dungeon, sometimes even getting an item in the middle. Not only that, but you will return to each of the sections multiple times, each time being presented with a new challenge.
Link can sit on the toilet in this game (but not actually use it.) Yet it still flushes after he's sat on it. His health regenerates when he's sitting on the loo (just like when resting on any other seat in the game).
You can also stab pumpkins and fling them at people.
Groose's catapult can be used to fling Link into the locations of available minigames for quick transport.
An Economy Is You: Lampshaded by Beedle, who will comment on not having had much business before Link started coming around. Peatrice thinks Link has a crush on her simply because he's the Item Check's only customer.
Edge Gravity: As a fail-safe, Link won't accidentally walk off the edge of a cliff when you're in first-person view (like dowsing or using the Bow), or using an item with an over-the-shoulder perspective (like the Slingshot or Clawshot), since you usually can't see where your footing is from this viewpoint.
The general movement system is very good at this. The only way to fall or jump off of a ledge is to run straight towards it.
Egopolis: Groose likes to name things after himself. "Grooseland", "the Groosenator", "The Legend of Groose" (though that last one's admittedly a joke)...
Eleventh Hour Superpower: The bow is your most effective long-range weapon in the game. In fact, it's the only long-range weapon you can have that'll actually hurt standard enemies. Therefore, unlike previous Zelda titles, it is the very last weapon you get. The game even seems to highlight its importance as a weapon by placing it at the very top in the item select screen.
Enemy Scan: Returns for the first time since Majora's Mask, though Fi's descriptions are much more technical and detached in nature.
Escape Sequence: The Silent Realms become this, especially if you alert the Guardians between collecting the last Tear and reaching the exit- there's no way to stop them from chasing you anymore, so you just have to run for the exit.
Escort Mission: Happens once at Eldin Volcano, as Link must escort Scrapper carrying a large water basin up the volcano, guarding it from enemy attacks.
Everything's Deader with Zombies: In the Ancient Cistern and the Sky Keep, there are Zombie Bokoblins lurking in a poisonous bog, complete with missing limbs and Zombie Gait. They're actually similar to the Re-Deads of previous games, except they can't freeze Link with a scream and they're decidedly less gruesome.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: More like Evil Cannot Comprehend Courage, but the basic idea is the same. Ghirahim is infuriated by Link continuing to meddle with his plans even after being given petty warnings, because he is only used to humans who begged for mercy or hid behind the goddess whenever he confronted them. Demise is similarly mystified, but he is instead amused and intrigued by Link's courage.
Evil Counterpart: Ghirahim to Fi. His "true form" resembles a darker, male version of Fi, and both are Equippable Allies of their Master's sword. The Master Sword in Fi's case, and the Anti-Master Sword in Ghirahim's case. It's bigger, blacker, has a serrated edge, gains power from storm clouds instead of the sky, and has an upside-down Triforce on it.
Demise is this to Link. Both wield similar swords which are Evil Counterparts of each other, and Link himself is essentially the one who is to counteract Demise. It is a true case of The Hero vs the Big Bad
The Bokoblins, sort of. While they're a carryover from The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, they take a few traits from the Bulblins (more organized and intelligent, have their own society and establishments) and the Moblins of the 2D games. They even have a variant in a similar garb to the Bulblins, and some even shoot flaming arrows.
Sparrot, the fortune teller, is a gender-flipped Madame Fanadi. They even have the same body type.
Extremely Dusty Home: Pipit's house is ridiculously dusty, due to his mother being a bit of a slob and their near poverty. You can choose to help her blow away the dust with the Gust Bellow and get paid for it, but then you find out those Rupees were meant to pay for Pipit's knight school...
Fair Play Villain: Demise is so impressed that Link is not only unafraid of him, but willing to challenge him directly, that he agrees to a duel with him to determine the fate of the world.
Fake Ultimate Mook: Those giant fish appearing in the lake and flooded woods? They charge straight at you but can be defeated in two spiral attacks, the first one stunning them for longer than it takes for you to throw another one.
Falling Chandelier of Doom: The Lumpy Pumpkin has a chandelier with a Heart Piece in it. Making it fall is the only way to get it.
Final Boss Preview: Ghirahim is the first boss that Link fights. Surprisingly, Link is actually able to put up a decent fight, if only because Ghirahim never intends to kill Link in that scene and never anticipated Link fighting so hard. Subverted since he's not the Final Boss.
Doubles as a Wake-Up Call Boss, requiring good use of the motion control swordplay rather than the traditional "exploit the obvious weakness with the item you got from the dungeon" (due to the fact that the Beetle is useless in heated combat). Ghirahim even gives Link pointers if he gets beat up enough.
This game explains Ganondorf's origins, so be careful when you think the game has ended early.
In a more roundabout way, this is the first time we see Fi, the spirit of the Master Sword, and this is the earliest game in the timeline. It's not hard to figure out that her last moments are right before the credits.
At the start, Zelda says how the Goddess was supposed to have given her Sailcloth to the hero, but the one that Link is receiving is just a replica that she made. But Zelda, it is later revealed, actually is the Goddess, and therefore she is choosing the hero.
Also, anytime that you are at the Sealed Temple, you can see through the cracked doors, where there is a golden crystal. There is no acknowledgement of it, but it is later revealed that it was Zelda, sealed in sleep.
Look closely, and you can see that the old woman at the Sealed Temple is wearing a bracelet much like Zelda's. At the end of the game, Zelda gives one of her bracelets to Impa, who is actually the old woman's younger self. They also have the same bangs, though the old Impa's has grown so long she's rolled it up into some kind of pendulum. Additionally, she has a very faded, distorted version of Impa's facial tattoo beneath her right eye. It also becomes obvious that they're the same person when Impa says she'll stay and watch over Zelda until she awakens.
When you first go back in time, and Zelda reveals her true nature and back story, she says "...but I was rescued at the last moment by the old woman who lives in the Sealed Grounds." As she says this, the camera is locked on Impa.
Zelda is rescued from Ghirahim's clutches twice early in the game, the first time by the old woman and the second by the young Impa. When venting to Link about his frustration, Ghirahim states outright that the same person foiled him twice; this hint is dropped long before the player is likely to take notice of it.
Fi refers to Link as her "master." The sword in which she resides will later become the Master Sword. Along those same lines, Ghirahim always refers to Demise as his master. It turns out that he is Demise's weapon, just like Fi is to Link.
Ghirahim constantly comments on the quality of Link's sword; by the end of the second boss battle he shouts that Link is only victorious because of the Goddess Sword, which at the time seems petulant more than anything else. If one knows that Ghirahim is very similar to Fi, the sword that Link wields, his parting words suddenly have a whole new meaning: Ghirahim sees the Goddess Sword not as a weapon or tool but as an equal.
The Ancient Tablets are necessary to gain access to the regions of the future Hyrule. The Ruby and Amber Tablets are respectively gained after beating the first two dungeons, but the Emerald Tablet is already in Fi's hands, allowing Link to go immediately to Faron Woods.
The Song of the Hero is divided in four parts. Levias, who tells Link about them, knows one of the parts, but won't teach him about it until after the other three are learned.
Though Nintendo has a patch to fix the problem, during the Song of the Hero quest, going to Lanayru Desert first and speaking to Golo the Goron after obtaining the Thunder Dragon's song causes the game to fail to load the Faron Woods and Eldin Volcano properly, making the game impossible to complete until you download the patch. Note that this only happens if you talk to him in Lanayru Mine, which won't be the case if you first met him in Lanayru Caves (which is the case if you land anywhere but the Mine).
Many bosses have serious potential glitches:
During one of the early phases of the final battle with Ghirahim, you can sometimes somehow deal him more damage than you are supposed to, killing him, and leaving you stranded in an empty closed arena.
Scaldera can rarely get to the top of the slope and glitch through the ground to fall into the lava, making the boss fight Unwinnable, as your attacks no longer affect him.
The Imprisoned can phase through the ground (sometimes dissapearing irreversibly from the arena but with the battle music still on), get stuck into walls, or walk through them near some spots, screwing his progress meter in the process, although it fortunately corrects his path usually.
For one thing, Gondo will speak of Ancient Flowers as mythical and react in astonishment when you offer him one to repair Scrapper, even if you've given him several to upgrade your equipment already.
Gorko (the goron archaeologist) will never comment on you taking off to the sky in front of him, and in fact, never pieces together that you're one of those sky people he's been searching for his whole life.
When Demise is resurrected, he gives you a break to go back to the present and stock up on items. Despite the Demon King's resurrection, millennia later Hyrule is exactly the same as before. It makes sense in a weird, time-travel-ey sort of way; although Link may briefly return to the present day, he will eventually return to the past and defeat Demise before he's able to take over the world, thus leaving the present ultimately unaltered.
Gangplank Galleon: Link at one point has to explore a Bokoblin pirate ship to progress.
Get Back Here Boss: All of the battles with The Imprisoned. With each fight, he moves faster than the one before and his steps make bigger shockwaves.
Ghost Shipping: Inverted; if you give Cawlin's love letter to ???, the ghostly hand in the toilet, then she'll fall in love with him.
When you enter the last room of the ship dungeon the ship is suddenly attacked by a tentacled monster who was never mentioned that splits it in half. After you defeat it, the little robots are instantly able to patch it back together so you can still explore the level normally.
You'd think that Levias would have been mentioned before the point in the game where you have to go visit him, being one of the most amazing things in Skyloft and apparently the island's guardian deity. Fi does once mention him as an old legend but that still doesn't explain why nobody else talks about him when he apparently comes around once a year.
Goddamned Bats: Acknowledged in-universe: The Zerg Rush Ghirahim sends at Link at the end. A lot of the Mooks are a One Hitpoint Wonder, and Ghirahim explicitly says they're just supposed to buy him some time by dying on Link's sword.
Grappling-Hook Pistol: The two Clawshots, returning from Twilight Princess. And this time, both are earned at the same time.
Green Hill Zone: The Faron Woods. Its a luscious green forest as well as being the first area beneath the clouds that Link visits.
Guide Dang It: Defeating Demise is meant to be done by mimicking him, and using the lightning for a Skyward Strike. The thing is, right at the start of the fight, Fi tells you that in this realm, you can't use your Skyward Strike at all so most players likely wouldn't try it in the first place. Fortunately, he's beatable without using it; though it's more difficult and takes much longer.
In the Earth Temple, you're required to bomb a wall in order to continue on through the temple, yet the crack in the wall blends in with the rest of the wall and is almost too small to notice◊. However, it's fairly easy to reason out the location of the crack by examining the map.
Subverted with the bombs. The game does tell you that you can refill your bomb bag by picking up a bomb flower and hitting the B button. It does not, however, tell you that you can also do this by raising your shield after picking up a bomb.
And the Sky Keep, which is a combination of all of the above!
Hammerspace: Lampshaded when you deliver the Life Tree Fruit to Lanayru. The scene shows Link walking up to him, nothing in hand. Then the screen cuts to a closeup of Link from the waist-up as he pulls the fruit, which is half his size, from the bottom of the screen.
Harder Than Hard/Checkpoint Starvation: Hero Mode removes normal heart drops and doubles enemies' attack and health. You will be thankful for the nicely placed Save Points and healing seats/stumps now.
Hard Mode Filler: The Skyview Temple has to be completed again some time after the first visit. And it's more difficult due to the bigger enemy population, which also means the toughest opponents (Staldra, Quadro Baba, Skulltula) are more plentiful. It culminates with a battle against three Stalfos, which requires more dexterity than the battle against only one.
Heartbeat Soundtrack: Plays when Koloktos first assembles itself. Other occurrences include the third story visit to Eldin, when a Bokoblin you're hiding from gets very close to your location, and when you're at low health during a fight with a regular enemy; one of the percussion tracks switches to a heartbeat-like rhythm.
Heroic BSOD: Groose suffers two that last an extended period of time, but he eventually snaps out of them and finds the courage to aid Link in his quest.
The Hero's Journey: Link goes through the a large part of the path. He starts off in a Peaceful Kingdom, unaware of the land below. The Call comes in the form of Zelda falling beneath the clouds and shortly there after Fi awakens and summons Link. He journeys forth below to Hyrule, The Land of Adventure, and faces the Belly of the Whale when he fails to save Zelda in Eldin, having been chewed out by his weakness and shortcomings by Impa. After this more dungeons are the further trials and the Silent Realm runs are the Nigh Sea Voyage. By the end he has two moments of waiting before facing Ghirahim and Demise. With Demise's defeat, Link's return to Skyloft is up in the air, but now his people can come from the clouds to the great world below.
Hijacked by Ganon: Inverted with Demise. The Reveal that Ganon is the reincarnated hatred of Demise means he retroactively hijacks everything Ganon has ever done.
Thus, this trope is played with when it comes to Ghirahim, who is serving Demise, so he's hijacked by the one who creates Ganon.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Some enemies provide ways for you to use their weapons against them. You can pick up arrows shot by Bokoblin Archers that missed their mark and shoot them back. There's also using Koloktos's BFS against it. Another optional example would be reflecting the final boss's sword beams with your Bug Net.
100% Completion: Way more dense than most Zelda games. And deconstructed in some ways. Getting all the heart pieces and heart containers still leaves you missing two hearts, which can only be filled by using two life medals (which takes up 1/4 of your active storage space). Getting every item means obtaining it and then upgrading it 1-2 times. A lot of classically useful Zelda items, like large quivers and bomb bags, will spend the game wasting away in the item check because carrying them takes up one of 8 pouch spaces, and it's plenty easy to find refills for your weapon stocks in the world. Also, interestingly, some of the mini games don't help at all towards getting you 100% completion: no matter what score you get on the bamboo cut or bug catch, you'll only get treasures or rupees. Finally, in order to get the Hylian Shield, the game's best shield, you have to stop the Boss Rush Mode only 8 rounds in; going into the final round results in you getting rupees and forcing you to start over if you want the shield.
Used hilariously in the first time she uses an absolute percentage. When encountering birds called Guays, Fi mentions that being hit by one of their droppings will have a 100% chance of causing you intense aggravation.
Also used humorously the second time she does this. In the Shipyard located in the Lanayru Sand Sea, after you beat Moldarach for the second time, Fi advises you that the chances of finding a clue to the ship's location in the sand is "extremely low". Well, "extremely low" means there's still a chance, right? Except if you continue to search in the sand, Fi will eventually reappear and inform you that the odds of finding a clue have dropped to 0%, and she advises you to leave due to those "substantially unfavorable odds".
Used creepily in the last time she uses an absolute percentage. Just before the final boss when she tells you that you have a 0% chance to return if you cannot defeat him.
Infinity-1 Shield: The Goddess Shield, the fully upgraded form of the Sacred Shield. It doesn't have the Hylian Shield's infinite durability, but it blocks all forms of damage and repairs itself over time. It also only requires you to buy the base shield and collect the upgrade materials.
Infinity+1 Shield: The Hylian Shield, earned by clearing enough battles in the Boss Rush: It blocks all forms of damage and can never break.
Informed Obscenity: The Eldin Roller bug is rolling around a ball of... "something". Anyone with a modicum of entomological knowledge can tell that it's a dung beetle and it's actually rolling around a ball of poop.
In-Universe Game Clock: A variant. A day and night system is employed, but it is only triggered when Link goes to bed. NPC schedules are different, and there are enemies in Skyloft to go with them, including demonic cats. You can't fly at night, however.
There are still fences that give him problems for no real reason, though.
Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: A Zelda staple, this one is still played straight. Dungeons are smaller and not all of them have keys, but the ones that do work this way.
The antimatter part is played especially straight with the boss door keys. In this game they are golden statues which you have to rotate to find the correct way to fit them into the door. This means that you actually see the key go into the door, hear the door unlock, and then see the key disappears when the seal splits open.
Ironic Echo: After completing the Earth Temple, Impa chastizes Link about not coming to Zelda's aid, even stating how late he was in rescuing her from when she was kidnapped. Then, after clearing the next dungeon, Link comes to Impa's rescue just as she's under attack, allowing you to choose an option for Link's response to a shocked Impa. One of the options is "Am I late?".
Irony: Zelda only think's she's playing the part of the Goddess at the beginning of the game. And then she turns out to actually be one.
Item Amplifier: The Potion Medal triples the duration of potions while it's in your inventory.
Item Crafting: Link can bring collected treasures to a smith in a Skyloft bazaar to get his items upgraded, similar to Linebeck's wagon trade in Spirit Tracks. A different NPC can also improve potions.
When Zelda first gives Link the sailcloth, she notes how silly his behavior is. Later, when Link gets the Goddess Harp in the middle of an action scene, the item description tells you what it is, then notes, "but there's no time to admire it!"
And then there's when you learn the final part to the Song of Hero. The Item Get music suddenly stops, Link has a gaping face, the description says "You learned the final part to the Song of Hero...", and then the game performs its Disney Acid Sequence. A nod to a similar moment happening in Twilight Princess.
The Joys Of Torturing Mooks: Sure those Technoblins are pains to beat at times. But once you complete the Sandship, you find a group locked up in the brig. And you can kill them without any fear of them hurting you in return.
Jump Scare: The first encounter with a Remlit at night.
Killer Rabbit: Remember those cute cat-like creatures you see in Skyloft? During the day they are friendly, want to be carried, and follow you around. At night they become aggressive and attack you on sight.
Kleptomaniac Hero: Lampshaded and defied. Opening a cupboard in someone else's house yields a message that doing so is impolite, not that the game actually stops you. Ultimately, however, Link won't steal from people except for the Piece of Heart he finds in Zelda's cupboard.
The Last Straw: The small cannonball that reveals the Sky Keep acts as this.
It's the 25th anniversary of Skyloft's Knight Academy, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Zelda franchise.
"Today is a special day for many reasons, but it is also 25th anniversary of our fine institution."
Fi's talk about "a legend that will be forged by your own hand" in the intro has three referents: to Link's role in turning the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword, to Link's eventual possession of the Triforce of Courage, and to the player's use of Wii Motion Plus.
"Nice going, you two. You guys were totally amazing in this little adventure I like to call 'The Legend of Groose.'"
Fi is very frank about your health, making direct reference to your heart count as they near depletion. This could be construed as a fourth wall break except there are heart plants strewn about the overworld, which means it's actually just leaning.
Ghirahim's Sword Spirit form has a dialog box change from the "normal" box to one that looks like a black version of Fi's, since it isn't made explicit he is the spirit of the Dark Master Sword until he "dies."
While preparing to revive Demise, Ghirahim actually hums his own leitmotif.
Leap of Faith: Towards the end of the Fire Sanctuary, you have to take one to find the way to the boss key.
Leitmotif: Several, in much more diverse ways this time.
Of course, the series' Main Theme appears once again (albeit with some arrangements) as Link's leitmotif and receives a new alternative title: Song of the Hero. The traditional version also appears during the staff roll.
Zelda has two themes: the Ballad of the Goddess, which she sings at the beginning, and her traditional Lullaby later on. This leitmotif is especially brilliant as the two themes are reverse versions of the other, and Zelda is both herself and the reincarnation of the Goddess.Ballad of the Goddess also serves as the game's Main Theme.
The Mogmas (this iteration's lava dwellers) have a jazzy theme, complete with snapping fingers.
The Guardians of the Silent Realm have terrifying Industrial Music as a leitmotif, more akin to Silent Hill.
Ghirahim has a piece that sounds somewhat like carnival music, played slowly by a pipe organ whenever he is having a conversation and quickly and intensely by strings during fights with him. Choir is added for the final fight. He actually hums the former, while dancing around, while preparing to sacrifice Zelda to Demise.
Groose has one that evolves along with his character.
The different vendors in the Bazaar each have their own arrangement of the overall Bazaar music, which switches instruments seamlessly without losing its place in the song as you move toward and away from each vendor.
Le Parkour: The dash mechanic allows for Link to run up walls and generally have much more maneuverability, at the expense of stamina.
Limited Wardrobe: As usual, Link spends most of the game clothed in his traditional green garb, after a brief early-game romp in his Skyloft civvies. But aside from the one costume-change, Link never changes his clothes. He is even shown sleeping in his daywear, even when that involves wearing chain mail to bed.
Literal Surveillance Bug: The Beetle, of course. You can inspect areas with it, retrieve distant items, carry bombs and other objects after the first upgrade, and accelerate and go far with further upgrades.
Little Miss Almighty: Inverted with Zelda being the mortal incarnation of the Goddess Hylia. As part of a Batman Gambit to rid Demise, Hylia gave up her divinity in the hope to aquire the power of the Triforce to tip the scales of war in her favor. However she has no memory of this as Zelda until it was awakened by Impa and her visit to the temples.
Long Song, Short Scene: The game has plenty of awesome themes. Sadly, almost every single one of them only appears once or twice throughout the whole game, and almost none have enough screen time to stick to the player's memory. Even Ballad of the Goddess is very scarce considering it's supposed to be the game's main theme. It's almost a Running Gag to the effect that Zelda is always interrupted when playing it.
Ballad of the Goddesses is particularly egregious, as we never hear the version shown in the trailers. Not even once.
The first has Groose pining for Zelda, whom is implied to be interested in Link.
The second has Karane and Pipit sharing mutual feelings, while Cawlin has a crush on the former. Depending on what you do with Cawlin's letter Karane and Pipit will hook up, or the ghostly hand in the toilet will fall in love with Cawlin.
Lastly, there's Link, between Zelda and Peatrice. However, the game seems to establish the relationship between Link and Zelda, with the relationship with Peatrice merely serving as a sidequest where Link must humor her to get gratitude crystals. Zelda isn't aware of this throughout the game, as told by Fi not to inform her.
Magitek: Fi gives off this vibe, with a voice reminiscent of a Vocaloid and constant use of percentages, like a magical computer. In fact, there is a lot of it going around, such as the ancient robots powered by time travel crystals, and how Skyloft keeps... aloft.
Manly Tears: It's implied that Link starts to cry just after Zelda puts herself to sleep for thousands of years - you only see his face for a split-second before he lowers his head.
A humorous subversion is made with Groose, twice: the first time when Link informs him that Zelda's okay after he follows him down to the Surface, he sheds humorous, un-manly tears. The second time, after Zelda wakes up from her thousand year sleep, he full-on blubbers like a baby. The latter also doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
Cawlin asks you to deliver a love letter, but the girl's interested in someone else. You can either deliver it, or dispose of it by giving it to the weirdo in the bathroom that needs paper. It ends badly for him either way.
In another sidequest, you have the option to either return the affections of the Item Check girl or turn her down cold.
Maybe Ever After: The game ends with Link and Zelda reunited, with apparently both of them deciding to stay on the surface, instead of returning to Skyloft, and starting a new life together. But in spite of this, as well as the strong hints of mutual romantic feelings between the two going way back prior to before Link's journey began, a Relationship Upgrade is... not quite confirmed, merely ending with them holding hands with the Triforce between them on the Goddess Statue.
Men Can't Keep House: Inverted with Pipit's mother, Mallara, who stands around idly while her house is covered with dust. She mentions that Pipit keeps it clean for her, and the player (as Link) can clean it to earn rupees and gratitude.
This game gets a Super Guide for those who are having trouble.
After losing to a boss, Fi offers additional hints about how to beat it.
Metroidvania: This is the closest the Zelda series has gotten to being Metroid-like, with Save Points rather than free-saving and fewer safe towns. Considering the latter originally took many cues from the former, it's quite appropriate that the opposite would eventually happen.
Mickey Mousing: A musical cue punctuates every hit you land on an enemy with your sword.
Mole Men: The Mogmas, the large-armed inhabitants of Eldin Volcano.
Money for Nothing: Averted. You will always be spending rupees on upgrades for your equipment plus the rare items found at Beedle's shop (which are very expensive). Potions will always be bought at the shop in Skyloft (and thanks to the game's difficulty, you will probably be buying them often) since you can't get potions anywhere else.
The Ancient Cistern switches from a serene area filled with bright gold colors and pretty plants to a sinister area filled with dark purple colors and zombies. To make it more specific - you go from a golden Hindu-esque heaven area and then descend into hell.
At the beginning of the game, after a terrifying nightmare foreshadowing the game, Link's woken up by the sound of Zelda's loftwing giving an ear-splitting caw, sending him tumbling out of bed, it then spits her letter directly into his face and just leaves.
When Groose follows Link to the surface, it's very lighthearted as he tries to adjust to the strange new land and then tries to take over Link's role as the hero. Then suddenly the Imprisoned escapes, the tension is racked up, and after beating him you have to leave Groose suffering a Heroic BSOD so you can continue your journey.
Motif: Rhombuses appear in numerous places. This is most obvious with Ghirahim, but every main character has at least one piece of diamond-shaped jewelry.
Just like in Twilight Princess , whenever you strike enemies successfully, a musical sting plays. Special mention goes to the Ghirahim battles, because the stings are played by actual orchestra instruments.
Skyward Sword is the first Zelda game to feature fully dynamic background music, executed very much like Banjo-Kazooie. As you pass from the present to the past in Lanayru Desert, for example, the music seamlessly gains more percussion and a stronger melody. Dungeon music also starts out bare but has instruments added the farther along you are to completing it.
My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Fi can do exactly that. Played straight when if you go through Peatrice's subquest by returning her love, she notices the effects of Peatrice's looks on Link and Peatrice's love for him, advising Link to avoid touching the subject with Zelda. In a roundabout way when she decides that every good news about Zelda's fate is likely to lift Link's spirits.
During your rematch with Ghirahim, he implies much more than just killing Link, and tops it off by saying that he'll dye the strings of fate with Link's blood, with the word "blood" bolded in red text for emphasis.
New Game+: Hero Mode, which doubles the damage and health of enemies and removes normal heart drops.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It ends up being a bad idea to leave a functioning and extremely conspicuous time portal out in the open like that. A rare example of the hero falling victim to Rule #41 on the Evil Overlord List.
Night of the Living Mooks: One of the later dungeons introduces a type of enemy called Cursed Bokoblins, which are zombie Bokoblins.
Nintendo Hard: Especially in comparison to the previous 3D games, which have a reputation for being mostly easy (the many Tactical Suicide Boss battles in particular). The emphasis on precise sword play, enemies inflicting damage in whole-heart increments (Link actually starts the game with six hearts, instead of the usual three), and the fact that your shield can be broken after repeated use.
Slightly alleviated by the fact that there are lots of save points even in the dungeons, and hints are more easily available, much like Super Mario Galaxy 2.
The moment Link starts chasing Ghirahim into Hylia's realm to save Zelda and prevent Demise's return, the game stops screwing around.
In Hero Mode, there are no heart drops until you get the Heart Medallion, so a significant portion of the game, the only way to restore your lost health is through potions, fairies, or sitting/sleeping away the damage (and there are no chairs or beds in dungeons). Even better, enemies deal double damage throughout the game, making dodging and defending crucial.
The Boss Rush in Hero Mode is just plain nuts. You want to get the indestructible Hylian Shield? Be prepared to face 8 consecutive bosses, each dealing double damage (2-4 full hearts per hit), with no heart potions available or any way to regenerate hearts during or between fights. Your skill at damage avoidance is your only protection. You can, however, drink a fully-upgraded Guardian Potion right before activating the rush, and you will be invulnerable through as many fights as you can manage while it's still in effect.
A late-game segment of Eldin Volcano has you blown off course by an eruption and captured by the Bokoblins. While you immediately get back the Mogma Mitts, six of your items are scattered throughout the region, while the rest are all in the same spot.
To a lesser extent are the four trials in the Silent Realm, where you must collect items while avoiding harm by the local Guardians or the various scouts which will alert them.
There is one moment when it's subverted. The moment when Zelda wakes up from her slumber and falls down, Link catches her just in time. The next shot looks like Link is hugging her dearly. And it doesn't help that nobody knowswhathappens during the Fade to White....
No Sense of Personal Space: Ghirahim does this to Link in his first two pre-boss battle cut scenes by appearing behind him and putting an arm on Link's shoulder while leaning his head towards Link's ear. Link is obviously disturbed by the act.
Faron also does this to Link when he meets up with her for her piece of the Song of the Hero by leaning very close to him while lifting his chin up with her hand.
Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: You're still sent back to the very spot you were before falling into one, but you no longer take damage from it.
No Ontological Inertia: It's not clear whether killing the final boss eliminates any of his minions, but this trope definitely happens if you help Batreaux become human; all the bats and slimes in Skyloft disappear, and the Remlits no longer become violent at night. If you talk to Human!Batreaux on the bridge at night, he effectively states that completing this quest made the monsters vanish.
No OSHA Compliance: Lanayru Mining Facility, in spades. Justified, as the workers are robots.
Not the Fall That Kills You: You can fall from Skyloft, for at least a few seconds, whistle, and land on your Loftwing, and you're fine. Possibly Justified — Loftwings wouldn't be very useful if they killed their owners when catching them. They might match their velocity to their riders' as a matter of course. More ridiculously, Link can fall from the cloud cover all the way to the ground, and as long as he pulls out the Sailcloth, he slows to a safe velocity and lands gently, with no damage to his legs or arms.
Not the Intended Use: Skyward Sword's final boss continues the proud tradition of final bosses being distracted by harmless items. Namely, Demise can be distracted by the bug-catching net.
Not What It Looks Like: When Link first meets Batreaux, it initially appears that he's kidnapped a little girl and she's screaming in horror, but as soon as Link goes to attack him, Batreaux begs not to be hurt and quickly explains what's really going on.
Obviously Evil: Demise. He looks to be eight feet tall and built like a rhinoceros, skin mottled grey and black, a river of hair like fire coursing down his back, flaming red eyes, a massive black sword — yeah, friendly fellow.
Subverted with Batreaux, who is a giant winged demon, lives in a creepy-looking house accessed by shoving a gravestone with a devil-head symbol on it, seems to have kidnapped a screaming child, etc. but is actually a nice guy, a total wuss, and he and the child were having a "who can scream the loudest" contest.
A brief one at the beginning. After Link wins the Bird Statue, Zelda sees him and excitedly jumps off the edge of Skyloft. The look on Link's face as he swoops in to catch her says it all.
And then again when he skydives to the Sealed Grounds, only to see Groose diving down on top of him. And he doesn't have a sailcloth.
Ominous Latin Chanting: Plays during part of the intro movie, then more distinctly and dramatically during the last two boss fights.
One-Hit Kill: For a Zelda game, there's a surprisingly high number of examples:
The giant boulder in the Earth Temple.
Being hit by one of the Guardians during a Silent Realm challenge. (This doesn't actually give you a game over, but it does kick you out and force you to start again, so it's similar.)
Also, once you get the boss room key in the Ancient Cistern, you have to get out of that pit before the Buddha statue's foot crushes you.
The wall of lava in an underground tunnel in the Fire Sanctuary will also result in an instant game over if it engulfs Link.
Like in Twilight Princess, Link can deliver this to his enemies with the Ending Blow.
One-Man Army: After spending the whole game kicking asses, Link fights entire armies of bokoblins, on his own, before defeating Big Bad Ghirahim in a duel to save Zelda.
One-Winged Angel: During their third and final battle, Ghirahim assumes his true form. In this state, he's muscular, taller than Link, and his skin is so tough that even the Master Sword can't do more than knock him around without actually hurting him... unless Link attacks the weak spot in his chest.
Only the Worthy May Pass: During the second act of the game, each dungeon is preceded by Link completing a item gather challenge in the Silent Realms before enduring the dungeon itself to find the Sacred Flames. Then in the third act Link must search out the Song of the Goddess from the dragons. While two of the dragons are nice about it when Link encounters them, Faron forces Link to gather the notes of her song after flooding her forest to rid it of strong monsters. Then once that is completed, Link must do a fourth Silent Realm run before entering Sky Keep and gathering the pieces of the Triforce together.
Player Guided Missile: The Beetle, acquired in the first official dungeon, is a mechanical insect drone that can be flown around to explore an area, collect gems, hit switches, and (with upgrades) carry and drop bombs onto enemies.
Player Tic: This game seems to be addressing the common Zelda tic of rolling everywhere by instead having the A button merely make Link sprint faster (which drains Link's stamina meter, so the player can't keep it up indefinitely). Shaking the Nunchuk during a sprint still engages a Roll action, though that drains his stamina even faster.
PokÚmon Speak/Verbal Tic: The Kikwi Tribe in Faron Woods, capping off sentences with their own name or some variant of "kwiii."
Portal to the Past: The Gates of Time connect the present era to the ancient past. And on a much smaller scale, the various Timeshift Stones throughout the Lanayru Desert reveal just how fertile the desert was in the ancient past (within their area of effect, at least).
Possession Implies Mastery: Averted. Link can use a sword and fly his Loftwing because he's been training to do so for years. And on a meta level, thanks to the Motion Plus control, Link's swordsmanship (at least in terms of posture) is just as good as that of the player.
The Power of Hate: It is explained after the final battle that Ganon, the antagonist of several previous installments in the series, is the manifestation of the hatred of Demise, who curses the descendants of the first Link and Zelda to forever fight his incarnation of hatred.
Precursors: The Ancient Robots in Lanayru Desert. Could also explain the origins of the series's Schizo Tech.
Prequel: So far, this game is the earliest in the series timeline according to the creators and Hyrule Historia. While it is implied that these are not the earliest Link and Zelda (or that they are incarnations of older, archetypal entities), Ganon is born thanks to the events of this game, and the Master Sword as it is now known is created.
Puny Parachute: The Sailcloth. Zelda even challenges Link to get as close to hitting the ground as possible before pulling it out.
Purple Is Powerful: The Master Sword, with its purple hilt, is much more powerful than the previous Goddess Swords.
Purple Prose: Beedle's "real persona", which he assumes only outside of work hours.
Puzzle Mook: Almost every enemy, even the weakest ones, has some kind of trick that prevents you from just randomly whacking at them — the common Bokoblins will actively parry your strikes, and the humble Deku Baba can open its maw horizontally or vertically, where striking it at the wrong angle yields only your sword bouncing off its hard exterior with no effect.
Enemies that can only be defeated using items that aren't as easy to replenish show up a lot sooner (this now includes shields, since they break).
Random Drop: Aside from the usual rupees and/or hearts that defeated enemies drop, they also sometimes drop monster loot (claws, fangs, etc.) which the player can use to upgrade Link's equipment at Skyloft's bazaar.
Reality Is Unrealistic: Most gamers don't know that the goofy-looking Loftwings Zelda and the citizens of Skyloft ride on are based on real (though smaller but still quite large) birds called Shoebills that are native to Sudan, instead chalking it up to them being purely fantastical animals.
Real Time Weapon Change: Accessing your Item menus does not pause the action, so if you need to switch an item in the middle of a fight, you'll have to do so quickly. It's the second game in the series to feature this.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: While Link could have caught up with Zelda at the Temple of Earth, where they meet again for the first time after their separation, Impa explicitly forbids Zelda from even speaking to him. After sending her away, she gives Link a caustic speech about his shortcomings, remarking that he was too late getting to Zelda and since she had to save Zelda herself, she is actually beginning to wonder if Hylia made a mistake choosing Link as her hero, before finally declaring that if Link wishes to prove her wrong, he needs to take her words to heart and try harder next time.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Link (red Loftwing) and Zelda (blue Loftwing). Also Ghirahim (red/black sword spirit) and Fi (blue sword spirit).
Redshirt Army / Zerg Rush: To hold Link off during the ritual to revive Demise, Ghirahim summons one of these. The majority of the Bokoblin are easily killable, not even blocking. Ghirahim even acknowledges that they're all probably gonna die on Link's sword, but he needs enough time to complete the ritual and warns what he'll do if they fail. And almost all of them are red, the weakest versions (and a One-Hit-Point Wonder to your fully-upgraded Master Sword).
In this game, Zelda is the mortal reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia.
Ganondorf is implied to be incarnation of Demon King Demise's hatred, who cursed Link and Zelda's successors to an eternal circle of war between good and evil.
According to the Hyrule Historia manga prologue Link is also the reincarnation of the original Hero of the Goddess, whose spirit was blessed by Hylia to be reincarnated throughout eternity as the rightful wielder of the Master Sword.
Remixed Level: Some areas of the game change significantly as the game progresses, and have to be visited several times.
Rescue Hug: When Zelda wakes up from her thousand years old slumber, she falls down but Link catches her just in time in what looks like a tender hug.
Reset Button: The Sandship dungeon gets destroyed during its respective Boss Battle. Not five minutes later, the robots tell you they already completed repairing it at the shipyard. Justified by one of the robots saying they could only repair it so quickly because of Nayru's flame.
Robot Girl: Fi is meant to resemble one, particularly with her autotuned voice and habit of using percentages and calculations. That said, she's most likely not an actual robot, nor is she simply a "hologram" projected by the sword.
Robot Names: The regular ancient robots are said by Fi to be mass produced, therefor not being assigned a name. They are all part of the LD-301 series. The more important characters among the robots have their own name and are part of other series.
Lanayru, the thunder dragon and protector of the ancient robots comment on your name as being boring and give you your own series number LD-*player's name*-16, which you automatically do not like.
Robo Speak: the ancient robots do not finish a sentence without mechanic sounds such as "vrrt, zoop, vweep".
Rock of Limitless Water: The town of Skyloft has a magic island spring that floats just above it and supplies the river with an infinite amount of water.
Role Reprisal: Played with. Takashi Nagasako previously voiced Ganondorf on Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker and Four Swords Adventures. In this game, he provides the voice of Ganondorf's origins character: Demise.
RPG Elements: Beyond Item Crafting, there are "Medals" that Fi tells you about, which work in about the same fashion as Badges in theMarioRPGs. Due to the more complex world, expect a lot of this trope.
Rule of Three: A series staple (the whole Triforce mythology; Link, Zelda, and the Big Bad's respective roles).
Scenery as You Go: Some sections of the Lanayru Mining Facility qualify, with Timeshift Stones in moving minecarts restoring platforms from the past as it rolls along. The game even takes it that one extra step with ancient enemies who come back to life whenever a Timeshift Stone passes by.
Taken to the absolute extreme in Lanayru Gorge, which demands platforming, combat, climbing, grappling, and switch-activating as you go. All in one run.
Just take a gander at this.◊ It helps that the visual style was directly based on the paintings of Paul CÚzanne. As shown on the E3 demo, the player can spend a good time just admiring the scenery from above thanks to the beetle.
In the Ancient Cistern, there are Silver Rupees in the Buddha statues palms. Trying to get them causes the hands to close on you. A lesson in greed from the Buddha perhaps? Although you can easily snag these through the use of the spin manuver.
When you first enter the Lumpy Pumpkin, you see a nice shiny chandelier with an even shinier Heart Piece on it (as well as a couple of Rupees). Yet there are multiple warnings not to shake stuff lest you jar the thing loose. If you do, you get the Heart Piece and the Rupees, but also trigger a multi-stage sidequest where you must work in the place to compensate the vandalism.
When in the thrill digger area, you can shoot rupee ore to yield rupees. If you shoot the black rupee ore, you get rupoors instead.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Ghirahim's master is "The Imprisoned" (aka the Demon King), which breaks out of its can at certain points throughout the game and Link is required to seal it back in.
The Back-in-Time glitch note A recurring glitch since the GC Zelda outings, enabling the player to access game areas in the Title Sequence, and with SS, to save and load at the same time to get spawned in usually out-of-bounds... or otherwise interesting areas. is back.
One can easily skip 99% of the Zombie Basement of the Ancient Cistern dungeon, via various tricks, to get to the rope leading to the way out of this floor, mere seconds after entering it from the "elevator": a glitch back-flip, getting knocked on the top of the wall getting thrusted by an enemy attack, or while attempting a fatal blow.
Better yet, you can clip through walls thanks to your trusty clawshot physics. It has been used by someone to clip through the floor of a room within one of the Fire dungeons, then again clipping through lava to the exit.
Shield Bash: One of Link's moves to counter a blow, also able to expose the enemy to attack or reflect projectiles at the attacker.
Shielded Core Boss: The Koloktos battle consists of repeatedly stripping away the colossus's arms to expose its central core as each phase of the battle progresses. Later, during the final battle against Ghirahim, he summons a large claymore as his weapon, and the only way to damage him is to first break through his sword by striking it at the correct angle; fail to do so completely and Ghirahim simply repairs the blade with a snap of his fingers.
Several enemies in the Lanayru region use electricity-based attacks. Even one variation of the Bokoblin, the Technoblin, uses an electroshock weapon similar to a stun baton. They even electrocute you if they block your swings. The prevalence of electrical attacks means that for the first time in the series, there are situations where the wooden shield is preferable to the traditionally superior iron shield, as the former does not conduct electricity. (Of course, once it's available and you can afford it, the Sacred Shield family resists both fire and electricity and throws in curse resistance and gradual auto-repair to boot, rendering both of the other families of shield obsolete — as long as you don't actually break it, because it's not as durable. And the Wooden Shield can still lodge Bokoblin arrows for you to use yourself, which the other shields can't.) Also, the debut of Thunder Keese means that Keese are now yet another example of Fire, Ice, Lightning, although Ice Keese don't actually appear in this game.
Demise electrifies his sword and can use electrical attacks. So canyou when fighting him.
As mentioned before, the game pays tribute to every previous entry in the series, as well as the time of 25 years between 1986 and 2011.
The ball segment in the Earth Temple plays out almost exactly like those from Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, while the collection of the fragments of the star-shaped key that opens said dungeon is portrayed in a similar way the Star Fragments are in the aforementioned Galaxy games. In fact, reviewers have noted that the game has many stylistic similarities with those games in terms of level design and music, though the ball is the most explicit tie.
Koji Kitagawa, one of the developers of Skyward Sword, said in an Iwata Asks interview that the Ancient Robots were modeled after the Dogu clay figurines, a commonplace treasure from the Jomon period of Japan.
The way that Link swings his sword around the eye in Skyview Temple to make it dizzy is similar to how you defeat Mr. I in Super Mario 64.
In the lead up to the fight with Tentalus, Link has to get to the top of the ship, up a series of ramps, with barrels coming down the other way. It's a nice callback to Nintendo's early history.
When Link initially meets Lanayru the Thunder Dragon, he thinks his name is boring and due to hanging out with robots too long, half-jokingly wants to call him LD-Link-16. Fittingly enough, if you count Oracle Of Ages and Oracle Of Seasons as two seperate games, this Link is indeed the 16th.
Gratitude Crystals have the same shape as the star bits from Super Mario Galaxy (they're not colored, though). In turn, the star bits are shaped after the konpeito candy caramels, which are popular in Japan.
Sprint Meter: Holding down the A button allows Link to sprint (including a short distance up walls). The same meter serves other purposes, such as when climbing vines or shimmying across ledges.
Stab the Sky: It is an actual gameplay mechanic this time around; it charges energy into Link's sword for extra damage, executing Sword Beams and other techniques.
Stalked by the Bell: In the Silent Realm trials, collecting Spirit Tears gives you only 90 seconds before the Guardians start chasing you again. The flower on the upper-left corner of the screen serves as your timer, wilting one petal at a time.
Start of Darkness: The game touches upon the origin of Ganondorf, further explaining his motivations for being evil, even though Ganondorf himself doesn't actually show up.
Stone Wall: Moblins just stand there and take an absurd number of hits on their blubbery belly/butt before keeling over. They don't even flinch when you hit them.
Subliminal Seduction: The main theme, "The Ballad of the Goddess", is "Zelda's Lullaby" in reverse. Makes sense, as Hylia and Zelda are one and the same.
Sword Beam: The first in a 3D home console Zelda game since Fierce Deity Link in Majora's Mask, dubbed "The Skyward Strike" (because you have to Stab the Sky to charge it up). It can deliver circular cutting waves matching whichever direction the player swings the sword, or a bullet of energy from a thrust attack.
Sword Fight: While Link's been using a sword in every game, this game puts special focus on his actual skill with the blade beyond "use an item to make him vulnerable, then swing away," because of the improved WiiMotionPlus controls. Several bosses and Elite Mooks exist mainly to showcase this aspect of the game. It helps that nearly every aiming-based item available to you is less than automatic in Z-targeting mode (it still locks on to enemies, but still uses manual aiming, similar to Metroid Prime.).
Tactical Suicide Boss: Mostly averted, but there are a few cases, the most notable being Koloktos, who would be unbeatable if he never used attacks that would leave his arms temporarily stuck in the ground, and thus vulnerable to the whip.
Justified; the final boss gives Link a chance to get ready to face him, combined with the fact that you're in the past and leaving involves time travel, so paradoxes are involved to keep him from losing his patience and decide you're not coming. Played straight in most other cases.
In a deconstructed example, no matter how fast you make it through the Eldin Volcano area, Impa will berate you for being too slow to save Zelda on your own. Even knowing that you can't get out of the scolding, you still feel bad if you know you took a lot of time just to make sure you got every treasure, Goddess Cube, and Rupee.
Targeted Human Sacrifice: The reason that Ghirahim is so obsessed with Zelda is because he needs her (or more accurately her soul) to resurrect Demise.
Tears of Joy: Zelda cries happy tears after Demise is defeated.
Tech Demo Game: A common accusation thrown at the game is that it's more of a glorified "test run" of the controls, due to the fact that while the sword controls work well for the most part, the other aspects (enemy variety, dungeons, etc.) suffer in comparison. This is supported by the confirmation that the Wii U installment would use this game's control scheme (and Nintendo stating that the development period would be shorter than Skyward Sword), and the bulk of the development period going towards a good control scheme.
Amusingly inverted as well, since Wii Sports Resort was functionally a tech demo for Skyward Sword. Word of God admitted that they weren't even sure how to incorporate Wii motion swordplay until the development of Resort, which did test runs for the swordplay, archery and Loftwing flight.
Tennis Boss: A useful tactic in some of the fights with Ghirahim, not surprisingly. The Ocular Parasite boss and the ubiquitous Deku Nuts can only be defeated by playing tennis with them.
Terminator Twosome: After the Imprisoned is permanently dealt with in the present thanks to the Triforce, Ghiraham resorts to going into the past and awakening his master then with Zelda's soul (from the present day) as a sacrifice. Link follows, but is too late to prevent the unsealing of Demise.
Theme Naming: While most of the Skyloftians names are based on birds, the Mogma have names that are based off of precious metals and minerals and the Kikwis are named after various kinds of tea.
Theme Tune Cameo: "The Song of the Hero" is a recognizable mix of the series' main theme.
Those Two Guys: The two Mogmas (Ledd and Cobal) Link meets the first time he goes to Eldin Volcano show up repeatedly around the area.
Tightrope Walking: You can walk across ropes. So can your enemies, but they move slower.
Time-Limit Boss: Whenever The Imprisoned breaks free, you have to defeat it before it reaches the top of the pit. There's even a meter onscreen showing how far it has left to go.
Timey-Wimey Ball: As with most series that have time travel this one isn't without some confusion. The timestones certainly don't help matters.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Beedle, compared to previous incarnations. He lies about increasing the price of every pouch upgrade you buy, and if you window shop, he literally sends you through a trap door. Also, his membership system from previous games is gone.
To the Pain: Ghirahim just loves describing to Link in detail just how he will torture and kill him.
Trauma Inn: Sleeping in beds will restore your hearts, although it's about the least efficient way to do so; there are only several beds in the entire game, found only in houses owned by NPCs in the sky.
Trick Boss: Levias, who is revealed to be controlled by another creature known as Bilocyte. It helps that both have Boss Subtitles.
Tron Lines: One the sealed Timegate, and to a lesser extent on mechanical enemies like the Beamos. The activated Timegate, however, has Instant Runes instead.
Turns Red: Another staple; most boss battles have at least two distinct phases. When fighting Ghirahim in particular, although he begins the battle unarmed, once he tires of taking hits from Link's sword he'll summon his own weapons and start fighting back.
The Imprisoned, in its first form at least, turns a literal shade of red after getting tripped up.
Turn Undead: Brandishing the Sacred Shield causes Cursed Bokoblins to cower and flee.
Ugly Cute: Lanayru Ants. At least according to the in-game descriptions: invoked
"A desert insect that is often found in swarms. Has a face that's so ugly it's cute."
Uncatty Resemblance: Loftwings tend to have similar "hair" as their owners. Groose's has his pompadour, for example.
Understatement: When Fi analyzes Yellow Chuchus, she warns that if you get stunned by their electricity they will try to eat you, which she says is "unpleasant."
Unusual Eyebrows: Zelda's father, Headmaster Gaepora, has the full Unusual Eyebrows trifecta: huge, fluffy, white Big Ol' Eyebrows connected in a straight line across his face in a Big Ol' Unibrow, and to each side they fly up to and then off of his temples to become Disembodied Eyebrows that until closely examined look more like a hairdo. Combined with his wide-open eyes and bolstered by the allusion of his name, he looks quite owl-like.
Skyloftians will not react when Link uses tools and treasures that could only be acquired on the surface (except Gondo on one occasion). Similarly, while the surface-dwellers are pretty surprised to see a Skyloftian among them, they don't react when he does something unique like flying into the sky on a beam of light. Most of them don't even react to Fi, a spirit coming out of Link's sword and talking to him.
The Kikwis, at least, seem to be a bit scared of Fi the first time they see her.
The people of Skyloft are pretty phlegmatic about the numerous structural changes Link causes to the floating island throughout his adventure. It might be forgiven that they don't notice the never-before-seen door that appeared at the base of the huge statue of the Goddess, what with Zelda's dad trying to cover up her disappearance to avoid causing a panic, as the events involved fulfill the beginning parts of an apocalyptic prophecy, and the appearance of the Columns of Light that lead to the surface can be explained as something made easily visible to the player that isn't necessarily visible to the inhabitants of the game. Around the time lighthouses start shooting Frickin' Laser Beams and the Sky Keep is revealed only minor observations are made by the people. Not until after the Goddess' statue plummets to the surface do people finally start noticing something's up.
The potions couple and Gondo, the scrap shop man, need items from the surface to create their respective wares.
Unwinnable by Mistake: During the Song of the Hero sidequest, talking to Golo the Goron after obtaining Lanayru's part of the song but before getting the two other ones will render the game unbeatable, and possibly corrupt it. Fortunately, the glitch is easy to avoid, and Nintendo has released a free, downloadable Wii Channel that fixes the afflicted save files.
Music in dungeons adds or drops instruments as you move from room to room. Most notably, when entering the radius of a Timeshift object, the music becomes more lively and complex. Battle music fades in when you approach an enemy and gains drums when you lock on.
Special mention goes to Groose, any time he's on screen the music currently playing includes his Leitmotif.
Multistage boss battles also provide variable themes, usually adding instruments or otherwise increasing the intensity as you pogress.
The Remlits of Skyloft are this year's model of Cucco with a few bits of cruelty potential:
If you encounter them in the daytime, they will come at you affectionately but if you have a weapon out and aimed at them, they will run and cower in fear of you.
Should you encounter them at night, they will attack before you give them a few good flays and then run away and cower before attacking again. If you've completed Batreaux's sidequest, they'll behave the same as in the day.
You can also toss them off the edge of Skyloft, but they'll just fly back with their ears.
Remlits can also be thrown into water; they'll usually just swim to the closest shore.
You can kill butterflies with your sword if you aim your swing right. And you can kill insect on the ground by standing on them, throwing object such as stones on them or using your items.
There's a sidequest involving Cawlin, who will want you to deliver a letter to Karane. Or you can give the letter to a ghost hand in a toilet, betraying his trust, and making the ghost haunt him.
Go ahead, keep cleaning that lady's house for her. It's not like she's spending her food money and her son's tuition on it, right?
Walk the Plank: A variation; Link fights Scurvo on the Sandship, and makes him walk a narrow corridor until he falls off the end. The same goes for the similar Dreadfuse in the Sky Keep.
The Wall Around the World: The impenetrable cloud cover that separates Skyloft from the surface. It apparently only applies to humans, as items that have fallen to the surface are the center of some sidequests.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The first time you meet Ghirahim in the Skyview Temple. Flailing your sword won't get you far.
Warp Whistle: Bird Statues act as one of these, as you're be able to warp to any activated statue, a la Majora's Mask. It doesn't apply to those found in dungeons, though you can use them to immediately leave the dungeon.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite Captain Skipper's wish to be reunited with his deactivated family and restore his ship, and despite his ship is shown fully repaired after the related boss battle and the end credits, it's never made clear if, and how, Skipper managed to fulfil his wishes.
What the Hell Are You?: By the end of their final battle, Ghirahim is so perplexed over how many times he has lost to Link that he is no longer completely certain that Link is entirely human:
Ghirahim: "This... This is preposterous. Driven to my knees by a simple child of man? Laughable! No matter how many times we clash, I can't prevail! You think I can't defeat you? You think I can't win?! Boy...what are you?"
When you enter the Lumpy Pumpkin, the camera centers on a chandelier that holds several rupees and a Piece of Heart. Kina tells you not to try to retrieve them. There are signs posted upstairs telling you not to slam around too much up there, lest the chandelier fall. So is it any wonder when Pumm and Kina become furious with Link when he knocks it down, anyways? Even the other patrons feel bad for him, knowing how deep he's just gotten himself in it.
Beedle also gives you one if you decide to leave his shop without buying anything. He complains about how you being on the airship makes it heavier and thus making him have to pedal harder, and the fact that you didn't buy anything pisses him off so much that he unceremoniously drops you out of the shop via trap door. This becomes a touch annoying if you buy nothing only because you lack the Rupees. And most of the stuff he sells is really expensive, too. This becomes even more annoying when you do buy something from him, then exit and come back in (without getting off the ship, mind you) just to see if there's anything new. If there isn't and you try to leave, he'll act as if you hadn't bought anything and drop you off all the same, even if you just paid him 1,200 rupees for that pouch pocket. However, sleeping in the bed in Beedle's shop will refresh the inventory, and if you've bought anything before sleeping, he won't drop you off the ship when you leave.
Wizarding School: Link and Zelda attend one early in the game, complete with a flying school-sport (only on birds instead of broomsticks). It's more of a Knight School, but the basic archetypes are there.