You start out weak, gain new equipment, level up equipment through various means (Every Zelda has tiered Weapons and Armor), Hearts = HP, Magic = MP
The only thing that would make it not qualify as an "RPG" is the fact that you don't gain Experience points. But that isn't a necessity for an RPG actually.
I am willing to go in the middle with you though on this debate. It's an RPG Lite which is a real genre in case you're wondering. Games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R, Bioshock and Metro 2033 are in this category. --- For a good time head over to the 3DS board.