I really like The Legend Of Zelda The Minish Cap, and the truth is that means a lot. The Gameboy Advance had more than 10 Zelda games, from classics of the past to very modern adventures created exclusively for it. However, for me, the best game in its catalog was The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
The Minish Cap is an exceptional game. Its gameplay, story, and characters are fascinating and have a very original spirit. I think that one of the things that make the game really stand out is that Nintendo didn’t make it, at least not exclusively. I mean, it was created by Nintendo because the IP of The Legend Of Zelda belongs to them. However, the one that took the time to develop the game was another company called Capcom. If you have played a lot of video games, you should know that Capcom is the one that developed things like Megaman or Resident Evil. That explains many things that give it a different spirit compared to the rest of the franchise.
If you are a new player, The Minish Cap offers you the typical adventurous spirit that Zelda has always been known for. This game allows you to experience a journey full of puzzles and challenges. You will be meeting memorable characters and enjoying an incredible story. And if you are an experienced player, you will also find new things, such as unfamiliar mechanics, new items, new enemies, and an innovative spirit, especially when it comes to the puzzles, because they are really different from the rest of the franchise. This allows you to enjoy The Minish Cap on more than one occasion and discover new things about the game each time you play it. So, with that in mind, we can start the overview of one of the most original The Legend of Zelda games.
One of the best things about The Legend Of Zelda is that the backstory feels like something out of a fairy tale. In the case of the Minish Cap, it feels that way even more. It feels very mystical and ancient, like a story that your great-grandpa would tell you about the creation of your city.
Many years ago, the dark spirits of evil attempted to conquer the entire land of Hyrule. However, before they succeeded, a small race of elves called the Minish fell from the sky.
Think of the Minish as tiny elves, like really small. The Minish wanted to help the people of Hyrule, so what they did was create a magnificent sword. This unique sword was called “The Sword of the Minish.” They gifted this sword to an extraordinary human that was the chosen one by the goddess of light. With the sword, they gave him a sacred power called “the power of the sacred light.” This human became known as the hero of men.
After the war against the spirits ended, the humans wanted to thank the Minish. So, every year, the kingdom of Hyrule celebrates a festival in honor of the Minish for helping them. In addition, a tournament is held during the festival to represent the battle fought by the hero of men.
More than 100 years have passed since the war. You control Link, the village blacksmith’s nephew, and Princess Zelda’s childhood friend. Your uncle asks you to do him the favor of delivering the prize of that year’s tournament: a replica of the Minish sword. However, during the tournament events, something unexpected happens. The evil wizard Vaati attacks the kingdom of Hyrule and turns the princess into stone. On top of that, he steals the power of the sacred light and destroys the original Minish sword. Therefore, it becomes your mission to rescue the princess, restore the sword and defeat Vaati before it is too late.
One of the first things you notice about the game is that it feels similar to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The way you control Link through the world is quite similar to that game. On top of that, Link’s initial abilities to move around the world are the same. You can roll, run and move in a very fluid way. One of the first changes you notice in the game is how Link uses his weapons. Unlike other games in the franchise, Link has his shield equipped all the time. You just have to press any of the shoulder buttons to use it. This allows you to save a lot of time when defending yourself. In addition to that, it allows Link to have two offensive items equipped at the same time.
The most significant change in the gameplay comes when using the item that gives the game its name. Before entering the first temple, Link encounters a talking hat called Ezlo. Ezlo allows Link to reduce his size to miniature, the exact size of the Minish from the legend. Thus, Link can access new parts of the world by shrinking himself. He can explore new parts of the kingdom of Hyrule and even talk with the Minish. This allows you to not only discover new places within the kingdom, but also allows you to solve puzzles in ways you might not have considered before. The world is fully interactive; You can mow the lawn with your sword, break vases and talk to all the NPCs you encounter.
When you shrink, you can find Minish villages, where you can get items you won’t find elsewhere in Hyrule. Plus, there are dungeons where the only way to enter them is by reducing your size. This allows you to have more freedom of movement.
In addition to that, another mechanic is a bit minor but can be pretty appealing if you like to collect things. Throughout the kingdom, you can find objects called fortune stones. With the fortune stones, you can exchange them for miniature statues of other characters in the game, which you can add to your collection. In total, there are 136 figures that you can get.
- Link: He is the blacksmith’s nephew. He does not know his parents. He is our protagonist and the reincarnation of the hero of men. He is a childhood friend of Princess Zelda, for whom many people claim he has a crush.
- Zelda: The daugther of King Daltus and a friend from Link’s childhood. At the start of the game, she is transformed into a rock statue, and Link must save her.
- Vaati: He is a Dark Mage. The main antagonist of the game. He stole the power of the sacred light to become the new ruler of the land of Hyrule.
- Ezlo: A Minish that was transformed into a magic cap by the dark mage Vaati. He becomes Link’s friend and helps him restore the Minish Sword and defeat Vaati.
- King Daltus: The father of Zelda and Ruler of Hyrule. He is imprisoned and impersonated by a shape-shifting Vaati. It is also Link’s duty to save him.
It is the first sword that Link uses in the game. It is given to him by his uncle at the beginning of the game, but you can only use it until the end of the tournament against Vaati. As it is your primary weapon, you must always equip it to damage enemies. If you don’t have it equipped, you cannot damage enemies under any circumstances.
This is the best sword in the whole game. You get it when you complete the last dungeon. When you get it, it replaces Smith’s Sword. It allows Link to create three copies of himself. You will need this sword to finish the game.
This is the best shield in the whole game. Link can get it by feeding Veil Falls’ Biggoron the small shield he uses throughout the adventure. The unique feature of this shield is that any projectile Link receives while using it will be returned in the form of a light beam. This makes it a potent weapon.
This is an improved version of the conventional boomerang. It travels a much longer distance. It also allows you to change directions while traveling. Another good feature of this boomerang is that it eliminates and defeats enemies instead of just stunning them. Link can obtain it through the lucky stone mechanic.
Bow of Light
The main difference is that a light arrow is fired when you keep the shot loaded in this bow. This allows you to generate even more damage to enemies and can be the best weapon to eliminate final bosses. This is one of the main features that distinguishes Zelda games.
Main Dungeons of the Game
All Zelda games have different dungeons. In that sense, The Minish Cap is no exception. However, if there’s one thing that sets this game apart, it is that it doesn’t have as many dungeons as other games in the series. This doesn’t mean it’s a shorter game or a bad one. On the contrary, each dungeon has many more enemies and puzzles.
This is the first dungeon of the game. Its central theme is the forest. Most of the puzzles inside this dungeon are related to insects and moving mechanisms using the earth. One notable thing about this dungeon is that Link needs to become the size of a Minish to get inside it.
Cave of Flames
This is the typical fire temple that appears in all Zelda games, though it differs from other temples of this style because it uses water elements. This means that rather than being only the temple of fire and lava, it is also the temple of steam and water.
Fortress of Winds
This temple is unique because it is actually the ruins of an ancient society that now lives in the clouds. Link has to explore the ruins in search of the Ocarina of winds to climb to the top of the skies and recover the wind element. The puzzles of this temple are related to wind and jumping.
Temple of Droplets
A temple of water and ice. The main change it brings to the game’s mechanics is that the floor is slippery, and the ceiling is frozen. You also have to be careful of the constant spikes of ice that can fall on you and the enemies that can freeze you.
Palace of Winds
This is a temple with a celestial aesthetic based on clouds. It is one of the most challenging temples, as you will have to make Link jump across very narrow platforms and over very high cliffs. This can be tricky, especially if you don’t properly grasp the physics of the game.
Dark Hyrule Castle
A fusion of the dark world from which Vaati originates and the castle of Hyrule. It combines all the mechanics of the previous dungeons. Plus, the need to reduce your size to advance. If you are not prepared with the right items, you can get into trouble inside the palace and lose very quickly.
Another thing that sets The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap apart is that there was a complete change in the enemies Link fights. Due to the size change mechanic, some conventional enemies become gigantic when you fight them. This completely changes the strategies that Link has to use to defeat them.
A Chu-Chu is usually a tiny slime ball that can be defeated with just one or two sword strikes. They are one of the most basic enemies in any TLOZ game. However, when Link becomes the size of a Minish, the Chu-Chus transform into giant monsters over 10 feet tall. There are three colors of chu-chus: Green, Spiky, and Blue. The green ones have no special ability, the spiky ones turn into stone, and the blue ones can freeze you.
Madderpillars are blue worms that live inside the dungeons Link visits. When Link becomes small, most of the Madderpillars can defeat him in one or two hits, so you have to be careful with them. Link must hit their nose with his weapon to defeat them.
Octorocks are small crabs that live in the fields of Hyrule. Usually, Octorocks are not tricky enemies to defeat. Their only form of attack is to throw stones at Link, so he can destroy them at long range with his bow or by returning their own projectiles with any shield. But, when Link becomes the size of a Minish, the Octorocks are much more complicated enemies. Not only do they become gigantic, but the only way to defeat them is to throw bombs at them. You have to be very careful because the bombs can explode in your hands.
This enemy is quite complex. If you try to attack him from the front, he becomes completely invulnerable. The best way to prevent the Darknut from beating Link is to block his attacks with Link’s shield and roll to attack the Darknut from behind. Another way to beat him easily is by using light arrows. Shooting Light arrows at a Darknut will instantly defeat it, even if it is fully armored.
Black Knights are a stronger variant of Darknuts. What differentiates them from the Silver Darknuts is that they can heal themselves and quickly block your attacks. However, they have the same attacks and patterns as other Darknuts, so if you know how to defeat the first ones, you can defeat them faster.
Vaati is the final boss of the game. Like other TLOZ bosses, he goes through three phases as you lower his energy. The easiest way to defeat him is by using the light arrows. Sometimes he can become invincible. You have to be careful when you decide to attack him because there is a possibility that you are just wasting arrows.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords
This game allows you to use four different Links to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. You can play it in multiplayer with up to four friends making it a good choice for party nights. Besides that, this is the sequel to The Minish Cap. This is a good option if you want to know what happened to Vaati many years later.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
If you like to explore gigantic worlds, Wind Waker may be for you. You have the entire sea at your disposal to explore. Likewise, Link has at his disposal a lot of different items and more than eight dungeons that he can explore. It is an excellent choice if you want to have that feeling of discovering new things at every step you take.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
One of the things I liked most about The Minish Cap is how Link can change size. It feels like exploring two different realms. If that feels like the best part of the game to you, then A Link Between Worlds might be the best alternative. Link can explore two different realms, each full of different dungeons, puzzles, and minigames. Also, the game has a highly original mechanic: Link can turn into a drawing and move along walls to travel between dimensions. Undoubtedly, one of the most original Zelda games.
Question: Where in the Chronology Does this Game Take Place?
Answer: Chronologically speaking, it is the second game. It takes place a thousand years after TLOZ Skyward Sword. The next game in the chronology would be Four Swords and then TLOZ Ocarina of Time.
Question: Is this Link the Same One From Four Sword Adventures?
Answer: No. However, we can think of the Link of Four Sword Adventures as a direct descendant of the Link from the Minish Cap. Canonically speaking, they are not confirmed to be related. Considering that everything is unified at this point in the timeline, it is logical to believe they are at least related by blood. According to the legend, only the descendant of the hero of men can use the white sword of the four elements, so they must be related.
Question: Are Zelda and Link a Couple?
Answer: No. They are just childhood friends. However, We can think that Zelda at least likes Link a little because of her ways around him. But canonically speaking, they are just friends.
The Minish Cap was the first Zelda game I finished on my own without the help of a guide, so it has a very special place in my heart. Its art design is impeccable, its level design is wonderful, and the characters that populate its world are full of charisma. It is one of the best Zelda games for the Gameboy Advance and the entire franchise.
If you want to live an adventure that takes you back to your childhood, this may be one of the best options. Everything in it reminded me of those moments when I was a kid, and a stick turned into a sword with the help of my imagination. The realm of Hyrule feels immense, full of secrets to discover, enemies to defeat, and adventures to experience. If you also want to revive those moments, the best thing you can do is give this game a chance. You certainly won’t be disappointed.