Nintendo turned the beautiful Zelda & Loftwing amiibo into a cheap paywall accessory
We love Nintendo at iMore, but sometimes Nintendo makes it difficult. As a Zelda fan, I'm obviously going to purchase that beautiful new Zelda & Loftwing amiibo that just got announced for Skyward Sword HD. My misgivings don't center around the high $25 cost point (it features two detailed figures instead of one, so I understand it being more expensive).
The issue I have with this amiibo is that it locks what I and many other fans consider to be a basic quality of life (QoL) upgrade for the remastered game behind a paywall. It's possible that this is a new push from Nintendo to make amiibo more relevant and important. While I love the idea of amiibo actually having a meaningful action assigned to them when scanned (more than just making random items appear), this instance feels like a huge misstep.
Why Skyward Sword HD needs QoL adjustments
An example of perfect amiibo functionality is demonstrated with how the Wolf Link amiibo allows the Twilight Princess Wolf Link to show up in Breath of the Wild to fight alongside you. Scanning the amiibo makes it feel like you're unlocking a fun cheat code rather than a basic mechanic of the game. However, the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo unlocks a more standard function that should be in the remastered version of the game anyway.
Everyone expects QoL updates for remastered games that sell for full price. The original Skyward Sword Wii game will be 10 years old this November. As with many older games, some of the controls and mechanics here haven't aged well and some, honestly, weren't good the first time around. When it comes to Skyward Sword HD, Nintendo has already made it clear that they are updating the Wii's clunky motion controls to make them work more smoothly on Switch, and is giving you the option to turn them off completely if you want. That's a great start, but that all feels like a given.
For anyone that might not know, Skyward Sword has Link traveling between the hub world in the clouds and the world on the ground in order to delve into dungeons. To go between these areas, he must interact with save points, which are used to both save the game and let him fast travel to the sky. The idea of needing to interact with a save point to warp is somewhat dated, though not entirely so.
The paywall problem
Just recently, Nintendo announced that the brand new Zelda & Loftwing amiibo releasing on the same day as Skyward Sword HD makes it so that Link can fast travel to the sky at any point when scanned. Additionally, if players scan the amiibo again while in the clouds, Link will return to the ground area he last warped from. This is a great move, until you realize that this simple ability costs you $25 to unlock. This is a QoL upgrade that should've already be included with Skyward Sword HD.
We've seen this kind of paywall thing before with Nintendo, like how Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! players can only unlock Mew by using a brand new Poké Ball Plus, which has become rather rare and expensive in recent years.
To add insult to injury, despite there already being dozens of Zelda amiibo out there, along with a specific Skyward Sword Link amiibo. Nintendo's official Skyward Sword HD webpage states:
I could understand if the rest of the Zelda amiibo didn't work with the game. But to not allow people to scan the specific Skyward Sword Link amiibo feels wrong. If anything, it makes this push with the new Zelda & Loftwing amiibo feel even more like a cheap money grab than it did before.
As I've said before, I'm a Zelda nut who is going to purchase anything that Nintendo releases and you better believe I snagged a pair of those Zelda Joy-Cons as soon as I could. It's also possible that Nintendo is trying to make amiibo more important than they've been in the past. But this decision to lock easy warping behind an expensive amiibo isn't fair to Nintendo fans and players. Video games are expensive and not everyone is willing to shill out their hard-earned money for figurines when they've already spent $60 on a game.
Please Nintendo, I love amiibo. But don't make me hate them by making them cheap paywall accessories for my favorite games.
Wrinkle in time
Scanning this amiibo while playing Skyward Sword HD makes it possible for Link to warp back and forth between the clouds and the ground. It releases July 16.
The first game in the Zelda timeline
Skyward Sword HD is the earliest game in the Zelda timeline. Link is out to prevent an evil force for destroying the world. He must leave his home in the clouds and dive to the ground below to explore dungeons and defeat bosses. It releases July 16.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.
For all we know, an item in the game will end up doing the same thing. I'd save the outrage for when we know more.