Friday, April 6, 2012

Brilliant game design

Skyward Sword is in many ways a traditional 3D Zelda experience, not much different from its roots on the N64. Yet it is also full of clever new ideas and creativity. My favorite example of this involves time warping orbs and a dried up lake reminiscent of the Aral Sea.

These magical orbs work in such a way that when activated they transforms the area immediately around them back to the state which it was in an earlier time. As you can imagine the leads to some mind twisting puzzles, the coolest of which is when one of the orbs is attached to an old ship. This ship is found at the edge of a sprawling desert that once was a great lake. When the orb is activated a small patch of desert land around the boat actually shifts back in time, transforming sand in to water. So Link is able to ride his boat around the vast desert as the sand dunes continuously change shape around him.

This a wonderfully creative idea illustrates perfectly how the Zelda team over in Kyoto is far from running on auto pilot, instead they are still full of creativity. They keep coming up with fresh new ideas which are then implemented within the context of the familiar setting and mechanics of Zelda.