Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Nintendo
Release Year: 2005
ESRB Rating: Everyone for Mild Fantasy Violence
For: Gameboy Advance

The latest release from the Legend of Zelda franchise is The Minish Cap. The story begins when the evil wizard Vaati wins a sword tournament. This earns him the right to touch an ancient box containing both monsters and a legendary sword. Vaati does more than touch the proverbial Pandora?s Box; he opens it. Looking within the box for the ?Light Force,? the wizard cannot find it. Disappointed, he turns Princess Zelda into a stone statue. The legendary sword is the only thing that can save Princess Zelda, so the king asks you to look for the only ones who can repair the sword - the Picori, the race of people who made the sword. The problem is that no one has seen the Picori for a long time. Every Zelda game has a guide, and Minish Cap is no exception. While you are looking for the Picori you run across a cap with a bird?s head on it. The cap, you discover, is a wizard who was cursed by Vaati, and this cap (err, cursed wizard) becomes your guide. He also gives you the ability to shrink, and return to normal size with the aid of certain pots, tree stumps, etc.


The gameplay is flawlessly-executed Legend of Zelda gameplay. You fight off monsters with your sword, shield, boomerang, and other familiar tools. Link handles well throughout the game no matter what size he is. The level of design in this game is amazing, a fact particularly apparent once you acquire the ability to shrink in size. I found myself in the main town marvelling at how intricate the level of design was for both sizes of Link.


The graphics are nicely done and have a Wind Waker theme to them. There are areas you can only see once you have shrunk. Leaves towering over Link are nicely rendered. Some of the boss characters are pixelated a little bit here and there, and although it is nothing too bad is is definitely noticeable. Character models are nicely done and look good, especially when you consider many of the characters are from the 3D games.


The sound effects are classic Zelda, as is the music. The music is pleasant, and many of the tunes are ones I found myself humming days and hours later. Boss battles have more of a frenzied pitch, and towns have a much more relaxed feel to them.


The control is spot on. It is hard to find anything wrong with the control. The only issue I ever had was some minor confusion at first when I was shrunk. That really stemmed from not being sure where I was. Once I learned that I had no problems.


This is one part of the game I feel is lacking. Most decent gamers should be able to beat this game in around ten to twenty hours. There are kinstone medal fusions to do, and figurines to collect after you beat the game if you did not get them all before beating the game. However, these extras, in all honesty, did not draw me back. Part of the fun of a Zelda game is figuring out the rooms, puzzles, and dungeons. Once you do that, the mystery is gone.


There is a lot of cartoon style violence in this game. Your arrows will stick out of the bodies of enemies you shoot, and you spend most of your time fighting with your sword (hacking and slashing at the monsters). Like previous Zelda games, a defeated enemy poofs away, and there is no blood or gore.


Nintendo has been very friendly to families in this regard. Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap is no exception. There is no language I found that would embarrass you.

Occult Themes:

There have always been some occultic/supernatural aspects to the Legend of Zelda. Normally it has to do with the Triforce, and some have argued that is a reference to the Trinity. However, the Triforce is not a part of this game. There are other considerations, though. An elderly man is sick in bed from an evil spirit. You use a magical jar to free that man from the evil spirit. Link also talks to spirits of dead people who aid him in his quest. But the strangest, by far, are the swordmasters. Each swordmaster possesses your body to show you the new sword technique. Thankfully that is a small part of the game, but it is troublesome nonetheless. There are a few more instances of magic in the game. Most notable is the magical nature of the shrinking and returning to normal size that is central to the game. Second, certain blocks allow you split yourself into multiple copies to move large rocks. Finally, some of your tools are magical in nature (i.e. a Magical Cane).


Sexuality is not a part of this game. Nintendo proves a good game can be developed without any references to sex.

Moral/Ethical Issues:

There is the aspect of good versus evil. There is also the aspect of you helping people out. Throughout the game you are on all kinds of quests to not only save the world, but to help the other characters in the game. I really did not find any moral problems with the game.

Closing Comments:

This game snuck up on me. The first two dungeons were a breeze, and I thought I would be done in a few hours of gameplay. Then the puzzles got more complex to the point I was racking my brain for a solution to a room. The real key to unlocking secrets in this game is the Kinstone fusion system, which allows you combine Kinstone pieces to unlock a wide range of rewards and power-ups. Even though this game may not be one of the longest Zelda games, it is a good one. A few parts of the game felt like \'been there, done that,\' but the ability to change sizes freshened it up. I feel this is a solid game worth a buy. Plus, you can register it with Nintendo, and registering enough select products with Nintendo grants you free stuff.

Final Ratings:

Game Play: 10/10 Graphics: 9/10 Sound: 10/10 Control: 10/10 Longevity: 6/10 GAMING TOTAL: 45/50
Violence: 8/10 Language: 10/10 Occult Themes: 6/10 Sexuality: 10/10 Moral/Ethical Issues: 10/10 APPROPRIATENESS TOTAL: 44/50

Overall Score: 89%

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