The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD: Tips for Flying a Loftwing with Motion Controls

Get to grips with the essentials for flying in Skyward Sword HD so that you can master the skies astride a Loftwing.


While The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD does a fine job of adjusting its motion controls to the Nintendo Switch, they’re not the easiest to get used to – especially without the right analogue to control the camera.

One of the most exciting parts of the game for the motion controls is when flying the Loftwing. So, on this page, you’ll find some top tips to help you master the skies with a Joy-Con in each hand.


1. Start with a level hand

As soon as you start flying on Skyward Sword HD, make sure that your hand and the Joy-Con in it are flat, pointing towards the Switch console. This means to have the buttons and analogue of the Right Joy-Con facing directly upwards.

From this position, you’ll get the best responses from the motion controls. You’ll be able to bank left and right with the twist of your wrist and adjust your altitude by angling up or down.

If you feel as though how you’ve set the flat flying of your Loftwing isn’t quite responding from dead centre, reset the gyro by pressing Y, or by going to the Map (-) and then pressing Y.

2. Ascend by flapping, not by gliding

Something that can have you stuck and floating in the cloudy abyss for ages is the Joy-Con’s seeming lack of response to you pointing upwards to gain altitude. If you point upwards, the Loftwing will only fly so high before coming to a stop, regardless of how much sky is left above you.


To ascend to another altitude, you need to flap its wings by flapping your Right Joy-Con. So, from the level hand glide position for the Joy-Con, sweep it directly up and then down in time with the flapping of the Loftwing’s wings on the screen.

Each beat of its wings, and flap of your Right Joy-Con, will raise you to another plane of altitude. As you ascend, you’ll see the Loftwing icon on the left-hand side of the screen climb closer towards the sun – which is just the ceiling of the flying zone.

3. Slowing down makes for better flying than stopping still

To the right side of the screen, there’s always the button prompt of pressing B to stop. However, holding B to stop just makes the Loftwing hover and pull the camera to a rather awkward angle. To get out of this unfriendly stance and get back to flying normally, ascend by raising and dropping the Right Joy-Con.


In order to avoid this predicament while still reeling in the speed of the Loftwing, just tap B once or twice. It’ll significantly slow down flight speed and allow you to make tighter turns. Alternatively, you can charge (X), which gives a speed boost but then a slow down afterwards.

This can come in particularly handy when looking to go through the narrow entrance to the rock boosters that speed up your flight, or when flying over one of the islands of interest dotted around the skies.

4. Get more speed with a dive bomb

To get up to top speed, you need to ascend to a decent height – about three-quarters up the meter for most situations – and then plummet straight down. As for the motion controls to perform this move, you’ll need to flap the Right Joy-Con up and down several times and then point it directly at the floor.

When you’ve reached a speed and a lower altitude that suits you, gradually pull up the front of the Right Joy-Con. This will make the Loftwing maintain a high speed while ascending slightly without needing to beat its wings. Provided that you don’t climb too high to make the bird stop still, you’ll keep flying very fast.

5. Time your charge attacks

By pressing X, your Loftwing will perform a charge. When you’re just free-roaming, this charge can offer a slight boost but not much more. However, during certain missions or when you’re up against adversaries in the skies, you can use it as an attack.

The targeting system when using the motion controls for flying isn’t the most reliable, with ZL often just making you look down to the ground. As the charge doesn’t cover a lot of airspace, it’s best to get within a wing of the target, either behind them, alongside them, or when diving from above.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the bottom of your screen when you think a charge is needed. Sometimes, you won’t be asked to charge attack but instead to just interact by pressing A.

6. Jump off and explore the islands

There’s so much more to being in the skies of Skyward Sword HD than merely flying on your Loftwing. There are booster boulders to fly through as well as islands of interest to land on whenever you fly past.

If you spot a flat island that you’d like to explore, fly over it – preferably at a lower speed by tapping B – and then press Down to jump off of the Loftwing. Just before you land, hold ZR to unfurl your Sailcloth for a safe landing.

Following on from these points of interest, it’s also best to avoid the twisters, as they’ll draw in your Loftwing and promptly throw you from its back.

The motion controls for flying on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD can be fiddly. Still, by keeping a level hand for gliding, using a flapping motion to ascend, and timing your charge attacks, you’ll soon be able to master Loftwing flight.


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Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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