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=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Characters_The_Minish_Cap-208x300.png” 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=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/goldsp-150x150.jpg” 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=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/the-legend-of-zelda-the-minish-cap-20041102101810610_640w-250x185.jpg” 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=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/tumblr_ly77ezd44c1qje21xo1_500-250x192.jpg” 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.