The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Game Boy Advance version
A small handheld, a small hero, a small gem!
In this new Zelda adventure Link sets out on an adventure to defeat the evil wizard Vaati, who turned princess Zelda into stone and stop him from using her magic to turn himself into an all-powerful deity. Meanwhile the portal to the Minish World has opened. The Minish, or Picori are a race of thumb-sized beings that will help Link in his quest. Early on he meets Ezlo, a creature who has been turned into a strange hat. With Ezlo's help, Link can use special portals to shrink Link down to mini-size to enter Minish homes. The Minish live everywhere, from small holes in rocks to old shoes and even inside books.
This brings an interesting aspect to the gameplay, which is still strong. Mere puddles become deadly swamps when Link is small and tall grass or doorsteps block his way. On the other hand, this allows you to travel through small holes to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. This system is equivalent to the light and dark world from A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time's present/future system. It is incorporated in many unique ways and gives you some very interesting puzzles to think about.
Another new aspect in this game are the Kinstone fusions. All around Hyrule, you can find Kinstone Pieces. These are stone fragments. If you find a person with a fitting piece, you will get something good. Sometimes a secret passage opens or a treasure chest appears. While not an addition that directly influences the gameplay or story, it is a nice addition that adds to the length and it is a lot of fun to find all matching pieces.
The overall gameplay is just classic Zelda, which is still an amazing formula. Fun bosses, interesting puzzles, addictive dungeon exploration and tons of little secrets to be found. Items play an important role as usual. New ones include the Gust Jar, which creates wind or can be used as a vacuum cleaner and the Mole Mitts, which allows you to dig tunnels. These items are well-thought off and add enough to the overall gameplay.
The graphical area is one where this game truly shines. Easily the best-looking 2D Zelda as well as one of the ovrall best-looking GBA titles. Everything is carefully crafted and detailed. The world is colorful and the animations are fluid. From the atmospheric Minish Woods to the sunny plains of Hyrule Field, this game is a delight to look at. It is made in the same great cartoon style as the Wind Waker and Four Swords (which was bundled with the GBA version of A Link to the Past). No complaints here!
There is enough to do after completing the game. Kinstone fusions, collecting all hearts, learning all techniques and find every weapon upgrade.
Sound is recognisable to the fans. Link's shouts and the puzzle-solving sound are all here. Music is crisp and clear and has both old and new tunes. All these tunes are ones you will be humming along soon. Yet another Zelda game to score well in this area.
This game is far too easy! While, as mentioned, there is enough replay it is still a shame that the bosses are usually defeated easily once you find out how to do that.
This gets even worse when you discover this game is also really short, especially compared to A Link to the Past, which is also available for GBA. This title has only five main dungeons. No other Zelda title has had this few to this day. A real shame.
Lack of innovation to the classic Zelda formula.
The Bottom Line
An all-new Zelda title that is sure a delight to play, but don't expect the challenge that A Link to the Past/Four Swords provides or any drastic changes that directly affect gameplay.
by Rensch (203) on February 6th, 2008