The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is an action adventure game developed by Flagship with funding from Capcom for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance.
It is the twelfth game in the Legend of Zelda game series and is the first game in the timeline which focuses on the villain Vaati, who’s story is continued in both Fours Swords and Four Swords Adventures. Minish Cap was directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi.
The game focuses on Vaati a new villain who was previously seen in Four Swords and would appear in Four Swords Adventures later on, This is his origin story and his first evil scheme where he turns Princess Zelda to stone, this event causes link to collect the elements and form the Four Sword in order to save her and defeat the evil Minish wizard.
The game follows a very similar formula to prior games in the series where you will travel across the Land, collect upgrades and conquer dungeons, I found that the game felt closer to the original games as it didnt really hold your hand or drop too many hints on where are you are supposed to go which really helped to encourage players to explore on their own which is the best way to play any game in this series. When you reboot the game after shutting off the power, the character Ezlo (Links Hat in the game) will tell players what the current main quest is, I like this as it is useful as a quick reminder without forcing you to stick to the quest.
I don’t want to give too many spoilers here as there is a lot of side content to discover but one of the most interesting for me at least was when I accidently found a port hole which took me to a house where I was able to help exorcize an evil spirit. Because I chose to do this, later on in my quest the main plot returned me to this house and I was awarded the Light Arrows, unlike other games these are not needed to defeat the boss but are substantially more powerful than the original arrows.
In the game you can find items called kinstones, these can be paired with other characters kinstones to unlock secrets and helpful items, almost all NPC’s have kinstones so just try to connect with as many as possible, I thought this was one of the most creative parts of the game and I really enjoyed finding as many secrets as I could and I know that I left a lot behind so I look forward to returning to Minish Cap again to try and find the rest of them.
The main mechanic of the game is the ability to shrink down to the size of a Minish, the Minish are miniscule elf like creatures who live in tiny homes hidden far from the human eye. Link can shrink in many areas of the game and this mechanic is used for discovering further secrets and to defeat some bosses and solving dungeon puzzles, I really enjoyed this mechanic as it added so much more to the game and was implemented really well as it very important to the plot and was genuinely a lot of fun to use.
The game recycles a lot of music from past games and uses a few original tracks as well. The re-used music has been enhanced with some changes so that it works on the GBA and it sounds really nice, the soundtrack may not be as ground-breaking as other games in the series but it is very impressive for GBA title, The music is well composed and has extremely high quality for a game on the GBA, in fact some of the music in this game I prefer over the original versions from games such as Ocarina of Time and a Link to the Past.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap really surprised me because for some reason I always skipped on playing this one, I’m glad I played it now as it was one of the best gaming experiences I have had in a very long time, as it normally is with hand held titles the game was short and after I was finished I really wanted to start the game again hopefully this time discovering new secrets.
I do have some complaints but they are only minor, the first is that while collecting sea shells and trading them in for models was a cool idea I thought it could have been executed better as it took a long time for me to empty my shells so that I could make space for more, the only other issue I had was the fairies, in all games prior to this fairies your trap in bottles would either fully heal you or give you a fair amount of hearts when you die, in this game you only get four hearts back so you really want to focus on buying Red Potion instead. I would not normally complain about this but it is so different to what we got before and it is not explained in the game that they will only give you a few hearts so it is very annoying for regular fans of the series who would not expect this.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is easily one of the best GBA games I have ever played, It was really fun to explore Hyrule in this and the new mechanics such as shrinking, the mole mitts and fusing kinstones gave me lots of secrets to uncover and it felt like a title in the series that really took a leaf out of Zelda’s roots, the complaints I do have with the game are tiny, the fairies are very annoying as it was not stated clearly in the game that they wont fully heal you and while the models took a very long time to empty your shells, you don’t have to do this at all, I know wont be doing this next time I play it. The sound track while mostly recycled was very good and I loved every second of it, graphically the game is stunning and is an art piece throughout, as a Minish when you start to explore smaller areas it is beautiful and I give credit to the artists.
My issues with this game as so small that I think unfair for me to even consider them for my final rating, the worst was the fairies but unless you are a long time fan of the series this probably wouldn’t bother you, so with this in mind I think that this games does everything that a Zelda should and more, it is pratically flawless in its visuals, music, gameplay and story and is now one of my favourite games in the series and it is only deserving of a 10/10 a rating which has only be received by a Link to the Past so hats off to Minish Cap it truly is a wonderful gaming experience.
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