in the world of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, The people of Hyrule live alongside a hidden race of miniature beings called the Minish. Although some Hylians have heard stories about these small, gnome-like inhabitants of the forest, few have seen them. When asked about his prior knowledge of the Minish, Link admits that he has never heard of them. “That’s so strange,” a Minish muses. We Minish are everywhere! Overlooked and forgotten, these little ones reflect the broader place of The Minish cap in the Legend of Zelda pantheon. It’s an overlooked Zelda game packed with charm, packed with clever puzzles and with a firm grip on excellent pacing. It’s an underrated gem of the Legend of Zelda series.
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Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap on Game Boy Advance in the United States in 2005. I’ve been playing it on Switch through the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack catalog. In this adventure, Link meets the titular talking hat, Ezlo, who grants him the power to shrink to the size of a pea. While playing, Link can use specially designated objects, such as a tree stump, to shrink or grow back to normal size. Instead of teleporting back and forth between light and dark worlds, the parallel earth of Minish Cap It’s one hidden in plain sight. The Minish community builds their homes among book spines, spools of thread, and shoemaker diagrams.
This Alice in WonderlandThe dichotomy between big and small allowed the developers to evoke a vivid, sensory world. The first time Link shrinks down to miniature size, he walks through a quiet clearing in the forest. As he takes his first steps as a small creature, he walks among giant acorns as the sun’s rays peek through the leaves above. You can almost feel the warmth of the sun against his skin, as we take in the splendor of the forest floor. At another point, Link shrinks during a storm. The raindrops, which were furiously hitting Link at the normal size of him, now pose an even greater threat. Each splash of water falls with an almost thunderous roar and damages Link if he gets too close.
Developer Capcom takes a cartoonish style with its environments and characters. This link seems to take influence from the hero’s design in The wind alarm clock, with an equally clumsy demeanor. You can almost see him grit his teeth as he glides cautiously through the air; His eyes bug out as he rides a mining cart. When he sleeps on a bed, you’ll see a short animation of him taking off Ezlo and putting the sentient hat into the bed next to him. Other NPCs, like the swordmaster Swiftblade, have the silliest lines; he fully narrates the sounds of your sword swing and instructs Link to shout “Hello!” to successfully carry out an attack.
It also has one of the most specific and strange items I’ve ever seen in a Zelda game: Pacci’s Staff. Unlike the elemental rods that commonly appear in Zelda games, this rod-shaped item allows players to simply flip them over. Used in one of my favorite boss battles, the Gleerok in the Cave of Flames. In battle, you evade a rising tide of Laval as well as a barrage of fireballs and defeat it by simply flipping the monster with your new item.
Not everything has aged well. The game only allows you to assign items to the A and B buttons. What’s more, your sword and shield are assigned the same designation as the magic items you collect along your journey, so both weapons will take up space on the buttons when you have them equipped. Other features, like the Picori Blade’s powers, which allow Link to duplicate himself, feel like awkward iterations on similar 2002 systems. four swords. On top of that, the game also features a system where you collect items called Kinstones that you can fuse with other characters. While the game marks new discoveries on your map, finding the Kinstones and tracking down the characters who need them is tedious, especially if you’re not using a walkthrough.
Given its quality of life limitations (as well as its development under Capcom, which also did an incredible job with the pair of Oracle games, but could still be considered a Zelda “spinoff” developer), fans often exclude Minish Cap from the list of really great Zelda games. This is understandable: Ocarina of time He successfully brought Zelda to 3D seven years earlier. A link to the past It also distinguished itself by presenting a sprawling adventure that seamlessly intertwined multiple worlds, seven years earlier. that. But if games like These read like epics, where the great prose feels all-encompassing and the brilliance creates a ripple effect on the rest of the games industry, then Minish Cap It develops as a collection of poetry. Short, sharp, but no less engrossing, this game captured vivid, concise moments based on a compelling puzzle concept. It also vibrated with charm and wonderful dungeon design.
Not every Zelda game needs to do everything, and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap It will always be a game that showed me how to treasure the little moments that stay in your mind like great poetry.