Review by InuYashaYoukai

"Little guy, big game"

I've played many of the past Zelda games and was interested when Minish Cap was released. Not only that, but it was getting great reviews. So I decided to check it out myself. That in itself was quite a task. Everywhere I went the game was sold out. Finally I got ahold of it. This is what I thought...

Story - 9/10

It's basically the same Link saves the Princess type deal. It gets extra points though for the added twist. In order to save her, you need to join forces with the Minish, a race of tiny people. The whole shrink/grow idea makes the story a million times more unique. It's not just randomly thrown in either. You need to become small to solve many of the puzzles. It has a reason for being there. Jolly good.

Graphics - 9/10

These are some of the best graphics I've seen on the GBA. It doesn't look all that great next to the nintendo DS or anything, but keeping in mind this is a GBA game it's one of the best-looking. Link has a new look in this game, and it's hard to explain. He's very detailed, and looks cute like an anime chibi character. He's got big blue eyes and his hair bounces. I dunno, it just looks good. The characters' expressions and movements also look nice. Some of the cartoony effects from Wind Waker have been used here too. Bomb explosions and dirt look all colorful and swirly. Nice stuff.

Sound - 9/10

I thought it was cute that they used the yelling sounds from Ocarina of Time here when Link rolls or falls. The music is also nice, with some remixes of the Zelda Theme and some other catchy dungeon songs. There's also little sounds that add a nice touch, like the metal clinking sound when you try to swing your sword at the metal jelly creatures. Repeatedly swinging Link's sword can be funny if not annoying, with him screaming with each thrust.

Gameplay - 10/10

The gameplay in this game is excellent. Finally a game that actually takes some work to beat. The puzzles may be by no means impossible, but at least this isn't a Sonic the Hedgehog game where you can spin dash and then hold down on the d pad for 20 minutes and beat the game. Some parts of this game truly made me scratch my head and really think. Many of the puzzles in the game involve seeing something and not being able to get it yet, or seeing a block or a door that you can't get past without first finding a new item or ability. So as in most of the past Zelda's, there's a lot of backtracking through dungeons, pushing blocks, fighting enemies, gaining new abilities, and figuring out how/where/when to use them. Rather than running up to a boss and mashing the attack button, these bosses each have a weakness you must discover through observing and trial. The sense of accomplishment after beating each dungeon is truly rewarding. I would see some sort of switch I couldn't reach, and would spend the next half an hour trying every item and ability I had, trying to prove to myself I was smarter than the thing I was trying to operate. When I would finally figure it out, I would proudly advance to the next area, and really enjoyed having to think in a game for once. Such a tasty treat.

Controls - 8/10

Controlling Link is easy and fluid enough. What annoyed me more was only being able to have 2 items equipped at once. In alot of the dungeon puzzles, you need to repeatedly alternate between 3 different items, and having to pause and goto the menu and equip them for 2 seconds only to switch back and then do this again... It didn't make the puzzles any more challenging, just more annoying. The main controls are pretty much the same as past Zelda games. You can roll with R too.

Lasting Value - 9/10

The main game itself is not too long. This is usually how it is though. Good games are usually short because they focus more on giving you quality in the short time you play instead of dragging the game on without much actual fun. However once you beat it, you'll probably want to keep playing. This is because they added Kinstones. Kinstones are halves of a stone that fit together with other peoples' halves like a puzzle piece. Each time you match one with someone, it gives you something special. Collecting them is fun and addicting, kind of like Pokemon or something. The main game and the kinstones are pretty much all the game gives you, but it's all quality so I don't think anyone will complain.

Overall - 9/10

This is a great game. Definitely one of my favorites, Zelda or otherwise. The addition of the shrink ability and the Gust Jar that sucks up things really made the game fresh and new. Some stuff wasn't too original, like a boss that was an Egyptian head with stone hands with eyes on them (a mixture of Bongo Bongo and the pyramid boss from Mario 64's shifting sand land... come on Nintendo!) But overall the game was fun, challenging, and a great new experience.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/07/05

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