Embark on a diminutive yet extraordinary adventure as we delve into the timeless world of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. This iconic entry in the Zelda franchise, developed by Capcom, proves that greatness can come in small packages. In this comprehensive review, we'll dissect the game's standout features, from its captivating combat system that ranks among the best in 2D Zelda titles to the enchanting pixel art and graphics that make it a visual masterpiece. Join me in exploring the musical tapestry that pays homage to the series' legacy, the ingenious item design that adds layers of fun to the gameplay, and the meticulously crafted dungeons that may be fewer in number but stand tall in quality. As we unravel the narrative threads, discover the subtle yet impactful storytelling elements, and meet the charming characters that define this adventure, we'll navigate through the vibrant sidequests that enhance the overall experience. With a unique theming that revolves around perspective-shifting and size-changing mechanics, The Minish Cap is severely underrated, boasting a level of consistency and charm that places it among the upper echelons of the Zelda pantheon. So, don your green hat, ready your sword, and let's embark on a journey that showcases the undeniable brilliance of this 2D Zelda gem—truly a masterpiece in its own right. Now, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Review: My favorite game in the series.
Combat - 9
With a total of eight special sword techniques learned from Tiger Scrolls, multiple equipment and technique upgrades, and combat items like Bombs, the Bow, the Boomerang, and the other items, which all have situational use? This game has enjoyable and fluid combat—in my opinion, the second-best combat of the 2D Zelda games. Like most Zelda games, this entry also has awesome boss and enemy design, primarily when said bosses utilize the mechanics of the Four Sword or the Cane of Pacci or the excellent size-changing mechanic. This game takes a more action-oriented approach than any 2D game save Zelda II! In the end, this game has some of the most engaging combat in the series, even if it isn't quite as good as Zelda II, Tears of the Kingdom, Twilight Princess, and The Wind Waker.
Music - 8
This game had excellent music, and it felt like a love letter to previous entries in the series! While it doesn't stand up to my favorite soundtracks in the series, such as A Link Between Worlds, Wind Waker, or Breath of the Wild, it is still a Zelda soundtrack—a series renowned for their soundtracks. The music in this game is phenomenal, with the Minish Village Theme, Melari's Cave, and Vaati's Theme being some of my favorites. Ultimately, this is a great soundtrack!
Items - 9
While this game may not have as many items as some previous entries in the series, it does a fantastic job of making its items unique and fun to use. While there are the typical items, there are also tons of new ones! The Gust Jar can suck certain enemies and maneuver by sucking in mushrooms or sailing on lilypads; the Cane of Pacci can flip items over and launch you into the sky with its energy; the Roc's Cape, which, while a thing in the Oracle games, is incredibly upgraded in this entry; and Mole Mitts can dig through surfaces, which is tons of fun! And, of course, there are the Kinstones, interesting items exclusive to this entry, and Link's Cap, which lets you change sizes, the main gimmick of the game. Ultimately, this game has some extraordinary items.
Art & Graphics - 10
The Wind Waker, Breath of the Wild, and Skyward Sword all look amazing, but to me? This is the most beautiful game in the series—no contest. The pixel art in this game is impeccable, with beautiful colors and pixel design bringing the game to life. Switching between Link's normal size and the Minish is an art form in and of itself, with it taking on a whole new, stunning perspective. This game is a testament to how pixel art can hold up wonderfully years later—Capcom... please make another 2D Zelda, I beg of you!
Dungeons - 8.5
The dungeons in this game are utterly phenomenal... but there are six of them, which is almost an all-time low for the series. As somebody who absolutely adores this game and often claims it as my favorite Zelda game of all time, you better believe I love these dungeons. Nevertheless, it is difficult to give the dungeons a higher score when other Zelda games have just as good of dungeons and more of them. My favorites are the Palace of Winds and the Temple of Droplets, two of my favorite dungeons in the series! However, as incredible (and long) as these dungeons are, it has fewer dungeons than every game before and after it save Majora's Mask, Breath of the Wild, and Tears of the Kingdom... all of which are purposefully centered around things other than dungeons. It's not quantity over quality—it's quality quantity over quantity. Let that sink in. Alright, before I make you lose more brain cells, I'll move on.
Story - 7
Zelda's never been a standout series for me in terms of its plots, but each game in the series has a fantastic atmosphere, lore, and world-building, and this game is no exception. Its plot may be incredibly thin, but that doesn't mean it is awful. My favorite part of the story is Vaati, a standout villain that I prefer to a lot of iterations of Ganon! However, in the end, it is just Link saving Zelda after collecting some things as always, even if this time, the player gets a partner in the form of Link's buddy, Ezlo. I still like this way better than Breath of the Wild and its sequel with their questionable non-linear storytelling and the almost non-existent stories of the NES titles and Four Swords, but this game can't hold up to RPGs with their powerful storytelling, so I've got to give this a just-above-average score.
Sidequests - 9
With tons of Heart Containers, Secret Seashells, and Tiger Scrolls to collect, a beautiful world to explore, tons of NPCs to help, and a plethora of Kinstones to acquire. While this game has a couple of awful sidequests, the rest are fantastic, and this world is just so beautiful to explore. It isn't quite the S+ Tier of sidequests like Majora's Mask or Breath of the Wild, but this game still does the Zelda sidequest stuff very well, so this game deserves a near-perfect score.
Theming - 10
This game might be my favorite themed Zelda game of all time. The perspective switching is perfection down to its last details, with it giving tons of beautiful environments to explore from multiple perspectives. The Four Sword and unique items are also huge parts of the theme, as they contribute tons of charm to the game. The duplication of the Four Sword is almost as excellent as the size-shifting—it's just that epic. This game is just fantastic across the board.
Quality of Life - 8.5
Okay, that stupid figurine quest knocks a point and a half off of this score. It's the most awful Zelda sidequest I've ever participated in. However, everything else in this game was incredibly well-polished, more so than most of the other 2D Zelda games. All in all, this game has its bad moments. Not many of them, but it does have them.
Fun Factor: 10
Overall Score: 89%
Letter Rating: S
This is my favorite 2D Zelda game and perhaps my favorite game in the series. It may not have as high of highs as other entries, but its consistency and charm are undoubtedly commendable. This is truly a testament to how a Zelda game should be, and I'd adore it if Capcom made another entry in the series after making three of my favorite titles in the series, even though I doubt that'll ever come to pass. This is the game by which I compare all 2D action-adventure RPGs—it's just that much fun. This game is a sleeper hit, and I recommend it to any fans of the series or just gaming in general. It's truly a masterpiece.
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Primary Version: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA)