Look I’m going to be honest, I had planned to review a completely different game that was on the pc, but when I got to an ice level (yes one of the well known most hated bits) I found to use a VITAL object I needed to use the F keys, you know the ones above your numbers and well… I have a laptop, and the game was old so didn’t have a change controls feature… well I had to hurriedly find a replacement. So I looked through what I had on my 3Ds downloads and found this one. Not that it’s bad it’s very good, I’ve played it many times, just annoyed that I had less prep time.
So anyway last time we looked into Zelda we saw its origins (and we looked at Breath of the Wild ) , and I mentioned you probably should just skip that and go elsewhere, so now lets look at a good 2D Zelda game.
Time to explain a bit about the franchise. There are usually 2 kinds of Zelda games, 2D which style after the phenomenal Link to the Past and 3D which take after the excellent Ocarina of Time. Now I like both but there is a divide in the fandom often between the 3D and the 2D. 2D Zeldas are a top down game often with heightened focus on exploration and this is the kind of game The Minish Cap is.
You start the game showing round your childhood friend the Princess Zelda. As you go to the award ceremony to give the sword your blacksmith grandfather made to the winner of the contest, the winner Vaati ( the most recurring villain in the franchise after Ganondorf) reveals he’s a dick and unleashes monsters upon the land and turns Zelda to stone. Waking up you find a magical talking hat with a bird beak at the top (and it’s green, imagine that) who reveals that Vaati was once his student and one of a tiny race of people who stole his magical hat, and now he wants again the super magic of the royal family.
Now it’s up to you and your magical shrinking hat (allows you to shrink the hat doesn’t suddenly become tiny on your head) as you must journey to reforge the sacred 4 swords by gaining the 4 elemental powers to infuse into it and save Zelda smite Vaati and seal the monsters back up (then some point in the time line over a century later Ganondorf shows up and you wished it was Vaati, yeah Ganon is a whole other beast, but that is for another game).
Now this as said plays much like your classic 2D Zelda, you search the land, finding power ups that allow you to search in new areas, get to the dungeons to get the elements and get stronger as you do. The game has 2 main unique features though.
First up is the Minish Cap itself. By going on magical rocks you can shrink yourself down to the size of the Minish people. This means you can go to unexporable places because before you were too big. It does mean that the now normal sized enemies are goliaths, and now boss strength. In fact the first boss is one of the most basic enemies in the game but now you’re small.
The other unique feature (well other that the tools you get, some of which are quite fun) are the Kinstones. These items are found throughout the game and by matching the right one with someone it affects the game worlds in multiple ways (as said, 2D Zeldas are explorer games).
Link will acquire a number of tools throughout the game which though required to complete the dungeons (usually the ones they are found in but often after too, just not to the length of the one they are found in) also allow Link to further explore the Land of Hyrule (cause it’s almost always Hyrule, they just find a new land and name it Hyrule). A lot of these only appear in this game. While the Roc’s Cape returns from other handhelds new entries include the Gust Jar and the Mole Mitts and they were both great fun to use.
While the first Zelda game is very anti intuitive this game rewards you for exploring without feeling like it punishes you and is also just vastly more fun to play, but the game does feature a lot of nods and references to other Zelda characters (which oddly are from games later in the oh so confusing timeline) so while it’s a better entry and a one that’s ok for a first Zelda game, some things may pass you by.