The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap - GBA - Review
There are few things in life I enjoy more than a Legend of Zelda game. I have made it a mission to make sure I finish every Zelda game I play simply because I don’t want it sitting on a shelf waiting for me. I have enough games sitting on the shelf that I’ve played up to a point and never went back to finish. Those words may be shocking to read from someone that reviews video games but it’s true. I buy more games that I will never finish than games that I have completed. It’s getting more common these days because of the enormous amount of games being released. But not with a Zelda game since almost every Zelda is regarded as a classic game. So when the first new Zelda game for the Game Boy Advance was released I knew I had to get the game and finish it. No exceptions and no excuses, it had to be done. Thankfully the Minish Cap continues the Zelda magic with a stunning game that everyone with a GBA should check out.
The story of the Minish Caps involves you playing the role of Link (surprise) who has to rescue Princess Zelda (surprise, surprise!). But this time the main villain of the game isn’t Ganon but a wizard name Vaati. Vaati has unleashed a horde of monsters into the kingdom of Hyrule and has turn Zelda into stone. The King of Hyrule sends you off to the Minish Woods to visit with the Picori in hopes of releasing Zelda from her stone prison. Along the way Link will discover a unique talking cap (the Minish Cap) that gives him the ability to shrink down to the Picori’s size. The story is a twist on the typical Zelda story line but the gameplay retains the classic feel of the great Zelda games in the past.
The gameplay mirrors what all of the great Zelda game offer: unique puzzles, great dungeons, amazing boss battles, fascinating items and rock solid controls. The ability to shrink with the Minish Cap is the first new addition in the game. You could almost describe the Minish/Picori’s version of Hyrule as the dark world compared to the light world of the regular Hyrule. You see little entrances scattered all over Hyrule that just know you can access as a mini Link but you still need to find a few more items or solve a few more puzzles to get access to these areas. Exploration has always been a huge part of the previous Zelda games and the Minish Cap is no different. You will always be on the lookout for areas to explore either as the regular Link or as the miniature Link. But the Minish Cap does more than just allow you to shrink in size; the cap talks to you. The cap offers hints in certain parts of the game and even plays a huge role in the story line. When I first looked at the picture of the cap I thought it was a bird made to look like a cap but I was wrong. The cap becomes a great character in the game that will remain in the memories of gamers for years to come.
Besides the cap the game offers some other new items to use. The Mole Mitts allow you to dig your way to different areas in the game. Another new item in the game is the Gust Jar, which allows you to vacuum up items and creatures. You learn to use the jar to take out creatures that are impervious to your sword and use items in special ways such as a launching yourself. Besides the Mole Mitts and Gust Jar there are other new items included in The Minish Cap that give you new abilities not found in previous Zelda games. Don’t worry, all of the standard weapons from previous games are included as well such as the bow, boomerang and bombs. The new items (and the Minish Cap) help in giving this Zelda game it’s own unique identity while the old weapons and items preserve the classic Zelda feel as well.
In addition to the new items the game includes a new mini game collection based around Kinstone pieces. You will collect Kinstone pieces all over Hyrule and run into individuals that wish to match Kinstone pieces. If you have a Kinstone that matches their Kinstone pieces then you’re rewarded with a gift. The gifts can range from heart pieces, rupees and a variety of other items. Another mini game included is the ability to purchase figurines of the different characters in the game. You will collect shells in the game that you can use to purchase the different figurines. You could actually spend the majority of the game finding Kinstone pieces and purchasing figurines without focusing on the rest of the game.
I think I’ve spent enough time discussing the new items in the game and I’m sure some of you are wondering how the game plays. You have nothing to worry about because the game plays incredible. The controls are as tight and responsive regardless of the items you use in the game. The game includes the ability to learn different attacks (called Tiger Scrolls) such as the spin attack and dash attack. You have to find the scrolls and then learn the attacks from one of the teachers located throughout Hyrule. The level designs of the dungeons are fantastic and the amount of secrets scattered throughout Hyrule is incredible. The boss battles can be particularly tough with some encounters leaving you scratching your head wondering how you’re going to take out the boss. But all of the bosses are just as creative and intuitive as any of the previous Zelda games. It’s hard to believe that all of this was done not by Nintendo but by Flagship, a game studio part of Capcom. But rest easy because Flagship has developed a few other Zelda games for the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Nintendo has the right people on the job with Flagship creating another amazing Zelda game.
I could go on and on about how great The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is but you really need to try it for yourself. I hope that this won’t be the last Zelda game for the Game Boy Advance since Nintendo seems to be focusing on the DS. Gamers waited long enough for an original Zelda game on the GBA and the wait was worth it. But we need to stress to Nintendo that we want more! Give us more original Zelda titles. With the Minish Cap the bar has been raised on how good a GBA can be. Now we need another new Zelda game to raise that bar even higher.
Review Scoring Details for The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
It’s a broken record by now but the gameplay is the same classic Zelda gameplay you’re used to. The new items and the ability to shrink offers some unique gameplay experiences never seen before in a Zelda game.
The game preserves the cartoon look that was present in Wind Waker but this time in a 2D perspective. This is one of the best-looking GBA games ever released with great animation of the characters, rich colors and great detail throughout the majority of the game.
The music in the game is a collection of the classic Zelda theme and new tunes. The music does a great job of setting the atmosphere of the different dungeons and areas in the game. The only minor issue was a slight distortion on some of the voice samples in the game, such as Link’s yell.
Finding all of the hidden items in the game is the biggest challenge since there are tons of items located throughout Hyrule. The boss battles can be a little daunting at times but patience will always pay off in the end.
Well you could strike the game for being “just another Zelda game’ but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’re talking about some of the best games ever created and the Minish Cap continues that tradition. The Minish Cap is a great feature along with the new items not seen in previous Zelda games. The Kinstone and figurine mini games will keep you busy for hours as well.
Another Zelda game. Ah ... those words are music to my ears. Such a soft and soothing tune that fills me with emotion and excitement from start to finish. The Minish Cap does exactly the same as the last sentence, it starts off as soft and soothing only to drag you through the ringer of emotion and excitement. If you own a GBA then this is a must-have game for your collection. Don’t let it sit on the shelf collecting dust. But I don’t think many of you will let that happen because the game sucks you in and won’t let go.