I had fun revisiting the mining area of Lanayru Province last week, but when I moved into the actual desert area, it got significantly more annoying. The desert is huge and open, but on your first time through, you’re more or less restricted to a very linear path. Faron Woods and Eldin Volcano are the same, really, but the woods allow you to run around freely and the volcano’s map make it obvious that it’s a linear path. There are hookshot targets everywhere in the desert, and of course, you won’t have the hookshot (or whatever variation is in this game) until much later on, so the freedom to truly explore the desert is hours and hours away.
This isn’t totally new for Zelda, as every game has obstacles that you can only clear if you come back later with the appropriate tool. None, however, are so clearly built around one specific item, to the point where you are like “Oh well I guess this is going to be an important place later.” I suppose this also runs into the complains that many people have about how hookshot targets have changed from normal objects like trees and roofs and treasure boxes to big, bright bullseyes. But that’s a whole different rant in itself.
On the other hand, this is where you get the first Beetle upgrade, which allows the Beetle to pick up bombs (or other small objects) and fly around with them. I don’t know how other people feel about this, but I think it’s super fun. Picking up bombs and dropping them on unsuspecting foes is a riot, and I’m sure there’s a million other uses that people smarter than me have come up with. I did manage to use it to make a particularly annoying “puzzle” a little more bearable.
I guess I haven’t really touched on the flying aspect of Skyward Sword yet, have I? Well, there’s good reason for that: flying is pretty boring. An coming from someone who usually plays the apologist for questionable Zelda features, that means a lot. Fortunately, it’s not like you need to do a ton of it, and the sky is considerably smaller than Wind Waker‘s Great Sea. You basically just fly between Skyloft and the different portals that lead to the surface. There are a couple of other things in the sky, but overall it’s really empty and blah.
And I guess that’s really about it for last week. I just opened the next dungeon and that was about it. Mostly I was focusing on Kirby: Planet Robobot when I had any downtime (of which there was very little).