Technology US

Nintendo’s new Zelda Amiibo removes tedium for an extra $25

Nintendo is releasing the HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on the Switch on July 16th, and in the run up to the return of the — checks Hyrule Historia — current earliest entry in the Zelda timeline, it’s also selling a new amiibo. The $25 “Zelda and Loftwing” NFC-equipped figurine features the proto-princess and her bird companion, but also comes with the unique ability to teleport to the game’s floating hub world from anywhere, bypassing one of Skyward Sword’s many annoying quirks for an extra cost.

Fast travel in Skyward Sword is normally only accessible at in-game save points, a remnant of the more rigid Zelda design the game launched with on the Wii in 2011. When this new amiibo is placed on the Switch in the HD remake, you can automatically return to the sky to restock on items or upgrade something, and then return to wherever you were without missing a beat.

For comparison, the Breath of the Wild amiibo unlocked exclusive weapons, armor, and health items in the game rather than adding new gameplay functionality. Exclusive armor is one thing, but it’s even more frustrating to lock a quality-of-life feature behind the purchase of a plastic collectible. Nintendo is already doing some things to sand down the harder edges of Skyward Sword to make it work better on the Switch, like offering sword combat with the thumbstick rather than just motion controls. Why not do the same thing with a more user-friendly fast travel system?

There are potential ways to avoid plopping down around $85 for the ideal version of Skyward Sword. If you’re willing to wade into the murkier waters of emulation, we’ve experimented with ways to create a homemade amiibo with an RFID toaster and some NFC tags. It’s a natural reaction to amiibo selling out fast, and Nintendo tying more and more attractive, and in this case, useful features to them. If this new Zelda amiibo proves as popular as the recent paper amiibo cards for Animal Crossing have, it could become a necessity.

The “Zelda and Loftwing” amiibo will be released on July 16th for $24.99.

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