The Minish Cap


The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is the 12th game to be released in the Legend of Zelda series, and the second in the official timeline. Released in 2004 in Japan and in 2005 elsewhere for the Game Boy Advance system, The Minish Cap is well-loved within the GBA community, often making top 20 lists.

The second Legend of Zelda to be released on the GBA but the only original game, The Minish Cap was developed in partnership with Capcom, with Nintendo only overseeing the project. This was to be the second Zelda project Capcom had worked with Nintendo on, the first being the Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons games. The Minish Cap is the third game based around the Four Sword series of games within the Legend of Zelda series, with this game explaining the origins of the Four Sword and of the main protagonist, Vaati.

Development and Release

<img class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-911” src=”” alt=”The Minish Cap” />Development started on The Minish Cap when Capcom had finished their work on the ‘Oracles’ games for the Game Boy Color, having written the scenario and submitted it to Nintendo. Although work was suspended on the title so the teams could concentrate on development of Four Swords, in 2003 Shigeru Miyamoto announced that development was “well under way” and launched the official website in 2004, giving hints to the final version of the game. These hints were the shrinking ability in the game, and unveiled the ‘Toon Link’ look inherited from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. This is because the game is like a fairy tale setting, similar to Wind Waker, within the “world of tiny fairies, a universal fairytale story.”

Released across Europe before America, as to not cannibalise the DS market, The Minish Cap was the first game prior to Skyward Sword to be released in Europe ahead of American regions. Limited editions of the Game Boy Advance SP were released to coincide with the release of The Minish Cap in the region too. The Triforce SP was matte gold in colour, and had a Triforce stamp on the top cover and the Hyrule Royal Family crest on the lower right face, under the A and B buttons.

As well as the Limited Edition Paks, Nintendo also released a Limited Edition Collector’s Box which was not sold commercially. Instead, the set was either won in special competitions, or could be purchased from the Nintendo Stars Catalogue for 15,000 Stars. These Boxes contained not only the game and Triforce SP, but also a long-sleeved shirt and hat. Thirty consoles were signed by Shigeru Miyamoto at the Nintendo World Store grand opening in New York, where one still remains on display.

<img class=”alignright wp-image-913 size-thumbnail” src=”” alt=”Gold Game Boy Advance SP” width=”150” height=”150” />In addition to these, Nintendo held a giveaway not unlike the Willa Wonka competition, where buyers of the Limited Edition Paks had the chance of finding a golden ticket in the box, granting them a further console — this time plated with 24-carat gold. Only six of these were ever made available, with a seventh given away exclusively with a magazine publication at the time.

The Minish Cap was released to a mixed reception on the whole. Exceptional criticism was aimed at how the short the game was and the low level of difficulty, and that elements of the game were overly repetitive. The visuals were praised for the display on the system, but for a game that was compatible with the Game Boy Player, an add-on for the Gamecube system, the upscaled visuals were poor. Despite criticisms, The Minish Cap gained a 89 score on MetaCritic, and was voted Game Boy Advance Game of the Year by many publications beating other high ranking games. Often remembered as a stand out title by most by Game Boy Advance fans, The Minish Cap left a lasting impression, especially the shrinking element, with one stating that he’d love to an element of this in the 3D versions.


The Minish Cap presents the same top-down style of play as presented with other handheld Zelda games, with Link venturing through several dungeons, claiming a weapon unique to that dungeon, defeating the dungeon boss and moving on. Around this is an over-world, with visually distinctive areas similar to previous entries and names and locations taken from other entries like Lake Hylia, Hyrule Town and Lon Lon Ranch.The Minish Cap presents lower camera angle than other previous handheld games, meaning more detail can be shown in the pixel art, similar to how the original Pokemon games compared to the later games. Also, to make the game more accessible to veterans of the 3D versions, items were represented on screen via icons, rather than the interface shown in A Link to the Past.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-914” src=”” alt=”the-legend-of-zelda-the-minish-cap-20041102101810610_640w” />Familiar items return in The Minish Cap from other titles such as bombs, arrows, and the Pegasus Boots, while some new ones are included too, including
the Mole Mitts, Gust Jar and Cane of Pacci, all of which provide the player with new abilities to discover new areas, find treasure and new ways to defeat enemies. The ability to learn further sword techniques is also included, including the spin attack, roll attack and Pegasus dash.

<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-915” src=”” alt=”Kinstones” />There are two main side-quests in The Minish Cap, of which one plays an important role in the story of the game and the other completely optional. The first is the Kinstone element, where Link can find pieces of a coin-like object, broken in half with a range of different break lines and colours. There are multiple characters throughout the game that Kinstones can be fused with, all carrying a reward or sequence for completing the fusion. These can range from Golden enemies for huge rewards when beating them, to unlocking secret areas that often lead to Heart Pieces and other Kinstones, and to unlocking further side-quests. In one section of the game, collecting three Golden Kinstones is important in unlocking the next section of the game.

Similar to the Gamecube title The Wind Waker, there features a side-quest where the player can trade in a commonly found object called Mysterious Shells (as featured in Link’s Awakening originally) for a range of figurines. These figurines can be of enemies, locations, characters or items Link has come across in the game so far. Each figurine has a description with information about the game, weaknesses for enemies or the Legend of Zelda series in general. As the player buys more figurines, the chances of getting a new figurine decreases by 1% each time, with the player having to increase the Shells handed over to increase their chances. By completing this side-quest, the player can unlock a house within Hyrule Town that contains a Heart Piece, treasure and a Sound Test.

Trivia and Facts

As in other Zelda games, there are references to other Nintendo games including Bob-ombs and Lakitus from the Mario franchise, and chain-link platforms similar to those in Super Mario Sunshine.

Unlike other Legend of Zelda games, the main over-world of The Minish Cap does not have a desert.

Timeline Information</h3> *The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap* is officially the second game in the timeline, according to the Zelda book *Hyrule Historia*. This falls in line with the story in the game, where the events that take place sets the tone, background and legend for further games. *The Minish Cap* is also the first game in the Four Sword timeline, despite being the third game released. ## The Minish Cap Backstory <img class="alignright wp-image-909 size-medium" src="" alt="600full-the-legend-of-zelda--the-minish-cap-artwork" width="207" height="300" />After the Kingdom of Hyrule was established by the descendants of the Hero and the Goddess from the *Skyward Sword* era, the world was engulfed by evil beings and shrouded in darkness. From the skies descended a Picori, though tiny, bringing a sword and a golden light, the Light Force. Using the sword, the Hero of Men sealed the evil away in the Bound Chest and peace settled on the land again.
After sealing away the evil, the Hyrule Royal Family became the protectors of the sword from the Sky, which became known as the Picori Blade. Additionally, the Royal Family kept the existence of the land of the Picori hidden. This land was known the Minish Realm. As a token of thanks to the Picori, the people of Hyrule held a Picori festival once a year. During this festival, all manner of celebrations and events were held, the highlight a sword-fighting tournament. The eventual winner of the tournament was presented with an award in front of the Picori Blade, and this was the only chance for the people of Hyrule to see the sword before it was sealed away for another year. It is also said that every one hundred years, a secret door would open, and the Picori would pass through, and enter the world of humans. ### The Minish Cap Events 100 years after the Picori last came to Hyrule, Hyrule held a much grander festival than usual. As per previous festivals, the sword fighting tournament was held and was won by a mysterious man called Vaati, and won with apparent ease — almost a magical ease. At the same time Link, a young boy from outside Hyrule Town, was charged with delivering a sword made by his grandfather, Smith, to be presented to the champion. Princess Zelda also joined Link in attending the festival and the sword presentation. During the sword presentation, Vaati shattered the Picori blade when it was unveiled and opened the Bound Chest, unleashing the evil trapped within by the Picori Blade. Vaati’s ulterior motive was to lay claim to the Light Force, the golden light that was wielded by the hero of legend. During this, Vaati subdued the castle guards and turned Princess Zelda to stone and knocked Link unconscious, before disappearing from the castle. <img class="alignright wp-image-912 size-medium" src="" alt="Ezlo_(Cap_Form)" width="207" height="300" />Upon awakening, Link was tasked by King Daltus to seek out the Picori to ask them to reforge the Picori Blade. The Picori were located in the Minish Woods, and upon arriving, Link chanced upon meeting a hat under attack by monsters. The hat’s name was Ezlo and he revealed that he was a Picori himself, along with Vaati. Ezlo had invented a magical cap with the power to grant the wearer any wish, but it was stolen by Vaati and he used it to become a powerful sorcerer. He transformed Ezlo into a hat himself, then schemed to grab the Light Force. After being saved by Link, Ezlo offers to help Link on his quest and sits on his head offering advice and by giving the Link the ability to shrink down in size — a must for meeting the Picori. Link meets with the elder of the Minish Village, and is told that to reforge the Picori sword Link would need four Elements, embodiments of the sacred powers earth, wind, fire and water. Once Link had gathered all of the Elements, he took the sword — now named the White Sword by the Minish swordsmith Melari - to the Elemental Sanctuary within Hyrule Castle. Once there, Link infused the sword with the four Elements, fully restoring the sword to its legendary status — the Four Sword. While Link was restoring the Four Sword, Vaati brainwashed Kind Daltus and in doing so, shrouded Hyrule Castle in darkness and discovered that the Light Force had been passed down through Hyrule’s princesses, and prepared to extract the power from Princess Zelda. Link defeated Vaati in Dark Hyrule Castle, and used the power of the Four Sword to restore Princess Zelda to her human state. Upon his defeat, Princess Zelda used the magical cap to reverse the evil that Vaati had unleashed, and in conjunction with the Light Force within her, made Hyrule a prosperous once again. With Hyrule safe again, and the Picori Blade safe, Ezlo returned to the world of the Minish, and the doorway closed for another hundred years. ### The Minish Cap Legacy Peace returned to Hyrule, however, this was only to be temporary. Vaati, presumed dead, suddenly reappeared to terrorise the land and its people again. Forgetful of his Picori past and his lust for the Light Force, Vaati found himself a home in the Palace of Winds and named himself Great Sorcerer of the Wind. With the power to bend the wind to his will, Vaati went on a rampage, using his power to terrorise and ruin many villages across Hyrule. In his attacks on the villages, Vaati would also kidnap any beautiful girls who caught his eye. Many knights and brave men from the land of Hyrule set out to defeat the sorcerer, but all were vanquished by Vaati’s power. Just as the people were losing hope, a young boy travelling with only a sword at his side appeared. When hearing of Hyrule’s plight, his only words were, “I will defeat this sorcerer.” He entered Vaati’s palace, magically trapped the sorcerer in the blade of this sword and returned the girls to their villages. The boy then disappeared. When asked, the girls were bemused at how such a small boy with only a sword could defeat such a powerful sorcerer, and could only describe what they saw in the battle. They explained that with just a wave of his sword, the boy’s body split into four whole beings, which then worked together to destroy Vaati. In disbelief, the people denied that this could have happened, but named the sword the Four Sword anyway. As rumours of the blade’s power began to spread, the people of Hyrule built a shrine to protect it.