Game Review

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  • Platforms: Game Boy Advance
  • ESRB: Everyone
  • Players: 1
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Suggested Retail: $29.99
  • Graphics: A
  • Sound: A-
  • Gameplay: A
  • Replay: B+
  • Fun Factor: A
  • Reviewer’s Wild Card: A


By James Stevenson     February 03, 2005

© Nintendo
While Nintendo has farmed the development of two-dimensional ZELDA games to Capcom, that hasn't meant a loss of quality. ORACLE OF AGES and ORACLE OF SEASONS might've been the best portable ZELDA games ever. Now with graphics rivaling A LINK TO THE PAST, ZELDA returns in the form of MINISH CAP.

The Minish Cap itself is a sorcerer that has been transformed. Link wears him around and this allows our hero to shrink down to miniscule sizes in order to interact with the Minish people. You might be a little startled when you start the game to see that the overworld is probably only a tenth of the size of some of the other games. However, there is a miniscule world going on the whole time which is just under your feet.

What shrinking down allows the game is the ability to present Link with many new situations he has never been in. After using every possible weather element, instrument, time travel and light and dark worlds, it's impressive that they thought this up. The Minish world presents all sorts of problems, such as giant spiders, puddles that are insurmountable, and crevices to hide in.

Even more impressive is the whimsy with which it is all presented. There is a great feel to the Minish areas of the game. Walking into each one does feel like you're walking into another world.

It's amazing how many compact secret areas are crammed into this game. One thing you'll learn quickly is that combining kinstones with the characters you meet in the game will reveal lots of secrets. In addition, the game throws tons of hidden areas at you that you know you don't have the ability to access. I lost track of the secrets finally and kept rediscovering stuff I had seen before.

The actual game isn't that difficult, and unfortunately there are only five dungeons. This is a little weak considering that the last effort from Capcom had many more (over two games though). You'll be disappointed with how quickly you fly through the game, it only took me one good trip to get it taken care of.

However, there is some innovation with new items (the blow jar is pretty nifty) as well as in the dungeon layouts. Shrinking in size is used in the dungeons and adds some nice new puzzle pieces to the game. I didn't really feel like I had seen many of the puzzles before, which was a welcome feeling for a new ZELDA game.

The game's art is excellent, from a technical perspective on the level of A LINK TO THE PAST. However, the artistry of the game is gorgeous, and when you jump into the Minish areas, giant blades of grass tower over the maps. The animation is top notch and each enemy looks bright and colorful.

The score in the game is excellent as well, and requires a good set of headphones to be fully appreciated. The sound effects seem taken from the standard library, nothing really new here.

Fans of the series and of great action-RPGs in general should quickly don THE MINISH CAP. While it's not the longest or most challenging ZELDA ever, it's more than worth a purchase.


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