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Somehow, the Game Boy entries were so exceptional that NOTHING in the series has since surpassed them. Part of this is due to the lack of handholding. Areas may be blocked off with "broken bridges", but you're not often told exactly what to do by an annoying companion. Not only that, the dungeon design for these games is exquisite.
I had incredibly high hopes for Skyward Sword because Fujibayashi (Skyward Sword's director) had directed Oracles and Minish Cap in the past. The problem is he appears to have lost his creative shinespark. :(