As I impatiently await the arrival of Breath of the Wild and the NX, I have found myself turning to other Zelda games in a bid to fulfil my craving for the new title. I recently replayed Skyward Sword, and I was reminded why I love and loathe that game in almost equal measure. Shortly after completing it, I found my Gameboy Advance, my copy of The Minish Cap, and set off on a new adventure.
The Minish Cap didn’t (to my recollection) receive an abundance of fanfare when it launched, which is a shame because it’s actually a very good game that deserves more credit than it received. The story takes us outside the ‘traditional’ Zelda franchise, with a different origin for the Master Sword and a new villain. The mechanic of being able to shrink in order to access new areas (and being able to explore a different take on existing areas) is another unique element to the series, whilst at the same time sort of maintain the ‘two worlds’ approach that has been a staple of most Zelda games since A Link to the Past. Another new mechanic that you gradually unlock is multiple Links. Using special blocks and a charged sword, you can create up to three copies of Link to help move large blocks and fight certain enemies.
Another similarity between The Minish Cap and A Link to the Past is the top-down perspective. The Minish Cap therefore feels like A Link to the Past (and other top-down Zelda games), and even shares much of the same music as the SNES title. Much of the gameplay is also quite similar, and this may well explain why I am thoroughly enjoying revisiting the game – it reminds me a great deal of A Link to the Past.
Unlike the ‘big’ titles (Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, etc), The Minish Cap is a little less linear in approach. This isn’t to say it doesn’t funnel you in certain directions sometimes, but it leaves a little more room to freely explore the world around you. This makes the game more compelling in this meerkat’s humble view. There’s a variety of puzzles and traps that don’t require MENSA level intellect but will do require the injection of some thought, and the game is quite bright and colourful.
All in all, this is rather under-rated title that deserves more recognition. 8/10