Rating

A-

Specific Ratings

GameplayB+
GraphicsA
Learning CurveA
Replay ValueB+
SoundB

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Nice GBA Graphics
  • Solid LoZ gameplay
  • Lots of stuff to collect
Cons
  • Feels shorter than other LoZ's
  • Some boss battles seem too difficult
  • Collecting stuff may be tedious

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Game Boy Advance)

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Summary

A solid Legend of Zelda title for the GBA, which is worth your time but is not revolutionary.

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Description

The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap once again places you in the green garb of Link in this GBA adventure.

The land of Hyrule has once again been threatened, and it is up to you to save the day with the help of a sentient green cap named "Ezlo," who has the ability to shrink Link down to miniature size. While miniature, the world is full of new dangers and obstacles, as a staircase is a monstrous mountain, and the Cuccos you've always harassed now are much larger than you and might think you look tasty!

Gameplay
Minish Cap plays very much like the revered "A Link to the Past" on SNES or the previous portable adventures starring Link. You can swing you sword, thrust, spin attack, and move in eight directions. The A and B buttons are assigned to items, in the style originated in "Link's Awakening" on the original Game Boy. This means you can have your sword assigned to either button, or neither, allowing you to make use of two items when the sword isn't needed, or to make use of a better suited item for the given situation.

The game follows the formula of the previous Legend of Zelda games--venture into a dungeon, find map, compass, new item, big key, use said item to battle boss and retrieve key item to progress and eventually save the kingdom. The dungeons are interesting, and several boss battles are very fun, thanks to the shrinking mechanic. Other battles I found a bit tougher, and slightly frustrating. I've played every Legend of Zelda game with the exception of Phantom Hourglass, and rarely did I feel as confused as I did during a couple boss encounters. The tactics to win often were not apparent, or the apparent tactic did not work. A couple times it came down to just trying items until something worked. Was it terrible? No. But I feel like just a couple boss battles weren't up to par with the others.

Also key to progressing is the Kinstone fusion mechanic. You'll find throughout the game half pieces of stone. You can match these up with NPCs and good things will happen. This is necessary to progress a few times, but mostly you can finish the game without it. It adds a little to the game, doesn't feel tacked on, but also isn't really a huge selling point. There are also mysterious seashells that you will find. These you can trade in to try to win figurines of characters, enemies, etc. in a minigame slot machine. It works like the trophies in Super Smash Bros: Melee. The more shells you use, the better your chances of getting a new figurine. This has potential, but in my opinion, is hampered in the way it was executed. To play this, you talk to an NPC, decide how many shells to trade, walk over, pull a lever, wait a second to see what you get, and repeat. There are too many lines of text to scroll through, too much "walk a couple steps over, grab, pull, wait;" followed by a couple more lines of text. There are well over 100 figurines, and you'll be doing this a lot if you want them all. Also, using more shells doesn't help to increase your odds very well. Say if you have a 55% chance of getting a new figure by trading 1 shell for a spin, it will take 44 shells to get to a 99% chance. This has the possibility of making it even more tedious to get all figurines, as you could need a ton of shells to collect all figurines.

Also, there are some very interesting enemies I had never seen before, and some others that were decidedly "meh." I would say this game is more puzzle based than action based; you won't spend as much time fighting as other Legend of Zelda games, so if you're really hoping for action, you might be a tad disappointed. Puzzles were standard fair, plus some new stuff that I can't really mention as they might spoil some of the story for you.

Overall, it's a pretty good game to play, with a ton of extra stuff for die hards who need to get everything. It just might not be as fun to get everything as it sometimes is.

Graphics
Nice. Good sprites and backgrounds, especially fun when you're miniature. Very nice GBA graphics. I'm not a huge fan of the walking animation, but otherwise, the game looks great. Stick it in your DS or Game Boy Micro for best viewing.

Sound
Good sound effects and music, but not great. I can only recall a couple of spots were the music stuck out--and it was a good sticking out, not bad. I guess I'd say the sound is unobtrusive most of the time, and the times you do notice it, it is because it's a highlight.

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