The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, known as Zelda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Bōshi (ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎのぼうし Zeruda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Bōshi?, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Hat") in Japan, is the twelfth game in The Legend of Zelda series of video games, developed by Flagship, with Nintendo overseeing the development process. It was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2004 in Japan and Europe and 2005 in North America.[1] The Minish Cap is the first original single-player The Legend of Zelda adventure to be released for a handheld platform since The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages in 2001.

The Minish Cap is the third Zelda game that involves the legend of the Four Sword, expanding on the story of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. A magical, talking cap named Ezlo can shrink Link to the size of the Picori, a thumb-sized race that live in Hyrule. The game retains some common themes of previous Zelda installments, such as the presence of Gorons,[2] while introducing Kinstones and other new gameplay features.

The Minish Cap was generally well received among critics.[3] It was named the 20th best Game Boy Advance game in an IGN feature,[4] and was selected as the 2005 Game Boy Advance Game of the Year by GameSpot.[5]


The plot of The Minish Cap revolves around the backstory of Vaati and the birth of the Four Sword, which were important elements of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures.[6] The Picori, also called Minish, are a race of tiny creatures that bestowed a young boy with a green garment, a sword, and a shining golden light many years before the game is set.[7] There are three types of Minish: Town, Forest, and Mountain.[8]

The quests begins when Link is chosen by the king of Hyrule to seek the help of the Picori after Vaati had petrified Princess Zelda. Link was chosen because only children can see the Picori.[9][10] On the voyage he rescues Ezlo, a strange being resembling a green cap with a bird-like head, who joins him and can make Link shrink to the size of the Minish. Although it is not revealed at first, he and Vaati were once Minish (Picori)—Ezlo a renowned sage and craftsman and Vaati his apprentice. Vaati became corrupted by the madness and hatred of men and took a magic hat Ezlo had made for the humans in Hyrule.[11][12] The hat grants any wish made by the bearer, and Vaati wished to become a powerful sorcerer. He then turned his old master, who had tried to stop him, into a hat. With the help of Ezlo, Link retrieves the four elemental artifacts and uses them to restore the Picori Blade to the Four Sword,[13] capable of defeating Vaati.[14]

After Link restores the Four Sword, Vaati turns Hyrule Castle into Dark Hyrule Castle—the final dungeon in the game. Link fights Vaati just before he can drain Zelda of all her Light Force. Link defeats Vaati after engaging in a fight that consists of Vaati changing forms. When Link and Zelda flee from the collapsing castle, they meet Vaati as he again changes form for the final battle of the game. After the battle, Ezlo returns to his original form.[15] He finds the cap of wishes he created and gives it to Zelda, granting her a wish. The cursed people are cured and the castle is turned back to normal. The hat overflows with the power of life and disappears. Ezlo gives Link a new hat and tells him that he enjoyed traveling with him, then leaves just as the Minish world closes.[16]



The Minish Cap retains the general gameplay features that were present in previous Zelda installments.[17] The main protagonist, Link, must navigate several dungeons to obtain an item or enhancement at the end of each dungeon that is pivotal towards the quest. Each of the game's "bosses" are defeated using the item acquired in the boss's dungeon. The game also includes multiple "side quests"—optional tasks that are not part of the main quest but rewards for completion are beneficial to the gamer.[18] Recurring characters in the Zelda series make appearances and some form part of side quests; for example, Tingle and his brothers must all be contacted by the player to earn a reward.[19]

The Minish Cap features a number of enhancements that benefit from the more powerful Game Boy Advance platform.[20] The game's camera angle is much closer to the ground, allowing more detail. In the overworld and in dungeons, the game replaces the traditional item interface of the handheld Zelda games with pictures associating items or actions with buttons,[21] similar to the item interface in 3D titles like Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. Enemies include familiar creatures from the Zelda universe, such as the Keatons.[22] Link can also perform special actions present in the 3D Zelda games, such as rolling while running.[23] The game introduces three new items: the Mole Mitts, the Gust Jar, and the Cane of Pacci. The Mole Mitts allow Link to burrow through particular materials that serve as obstacles, the Gust Jar is used to suck in nearby items and substances, and the Cane of Pacci overturns whatever it hits.[24] The game advances the combat system from previous handheld installments by allowing Link to learn new sword techniques throughout the game, some of which are techniques from previous games and some of which are new.[25]


File:The Legend of Zelda The Minish Cap Kinstone Fusion.jpg

Kinstones are special artifacts which Link can find throughout his quest. Kinstone pieces are fragments of a medallion. In order to successfully form a complete Kinstone, two pieces of the same color and with complementary notches must be used.[26]

Kinstones are ordered by color to signal their rarity and the type of reward gained by fusing—the rarest kinstones offer the best rewards. All fusions are optional and serve as side quests, except the golden kinstones which are used to advance the story.[27] Link can attempt to fuse Kinstones with any character or object that holds a Kinstone piece, indicated by a thought bubble.[28]


The Minish Cap also features a figurine-based sidequest, similar to that in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.[29] The player can collect "Mysterious Shells" like those found in hidden areas in Link's Awakening, which sometimes appear when defeating enemies and can also be found or bought in different locations throughout the world. These can then be used in a gashapon-like machine in Hyrule Town to obtain figurines of characters, enemies or locations that Link has encountered in the course of the main quest. New figurines only become available once Link has met or killed the subject of that figurine. Each figurine has a short description revealing information about the game, that particular enemy's weaknesses, or the series in general.[30] The chance of winning a previously uncollected figurine from the machine can be increased by spending more shells at once, with an increase of 1% per shell. Collecting every figurine unlocks a house in Hyrule Town that contains treasure, a Heart Piece, and the Sound Test.

Development and promotion

File:Eiji Aonuma - 453606822.jpg

After Capcom and Flagship had finished developing Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages for the Game Boy Color, they began work on a new Zelda game for the Game Boy Advance.[31] Work on the title was suspended to allow the teams to focus on Four Swords, but in February 2003 Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma announced that development of what would later be called The Minish Cap was "well underway".[31] Nintendo launched a Minish Cap website in September 2004, showing concepts of Link's shrinking ability.[32]

Unique in the Zelda series, the game was released in European territories before North America. The main cited reason for this was the Nintendo DS: with the European DS Launch scheduled for Spring 2005, Nintendo Europe pushed to make Minish Cap its handheld Christmas "killer app". Conversely, Nintendo America held back on its release so not to "cannibalize" the DS market.[33]

Legend of Zelda Triforce Game Boy Advance SP

In Europe, the game was available either as a standalone packaged game, or as part of a special pack, which included one of only 25,000 limited edition, Zelda-themed Game Boy Advance SP. The Triforce SP is matte gold in color, with a Triforce logo stamped on the lid, and the Hyrule royal family crest printed on the lower right face.[34]

Aside from these Zelda Limited Edition Paks available in store, Nintendo created the Limited Edition Collector's Box, which contained The Minish Cap, the golden Triforce SP, a long-sleeved shirt and a hat.[citation needed] Only 300 boxes were made worldwide and each one is certificated.[citation needed] These Collector's Boxes were not for sale in stores anywhere, but could only be won or bought in the Nintendo Stars Catalogue for 15,000 stars.[citation needed] Also, one of these is in the Nintendo World Store signed by Shigeru Miyamoto himself.[citation needed] As a launch promotion, Nintendo Europe also produced seven 24-carat gold plated Game Boy Advance SP consoles, with six given away to people who found a golden ticket inside their Triforce SP package, and a seventh as a magazine promotion.[35]

Reception and awards

Reviews and awards
Publication Score A[36]
EGM A+[36]
GamePro 4.6 out of 5[26]
GameSpot 9.1 out of 10[17]
IGN 9.0 out of 10[20]
X-Play 5 out of 5[3]
IGN 20th best GBA game.[4]
GameSpot Best of 2005–GBA Game of the Year[5]
GameSpy Editors' Choice
2005 GBA Game of the Year.
2005 GBA Adventure of the Year.[37]
Nintendo Power 2005 GBA Game of the Year.[38]
24th best game on a Nintendo console.[39]

</div> In general, the game received positive reviews from acclaimed sites and publications. IGN praised the game for continuing the legacy of the successful series, while GameSpot also praised the game for this aspect, saying "Classic Zelda gameplay and flavor will please fans".[17] The graphical style especially—which continues the whimsical style of Wind Waker—was welcomed by most reviewers. The music of the game was commended by most sites; GameSpy stated that "Even the music is outstanding, featuring some of the highest quality tunes to ever come out of the GBA's little speakers".[40] Despite the criticism of the dungeon lengths, praised the dungeon design, proclaiming it as superior to that of other Zelda games.[41]

The main criticism of the game among reviewers is the length of the game. Eurogamer says that "It's too short",[42] while RPGamer state that "The typical player can fly through the game's six relatively short dungeons in about ten hours".[43] There are also various other complaints from reviewers: IGN claims that the kinstone system is overly repetitive; Nintendo World Report criticises the game's visuals on a Game Boy Player,[44] and RPGamer details the game's low difficulty level as a disadvantage.[43] Despite this, IGN's Craig Harris liked the way that the ability to become tiny had been incorporated to create fresh puzzles in the Zelda series. He continued to comment that "It's an idea that's so well-conceived that I'd love to see worked in the series' 3D designs somewhere down the line".[4]

The Minish Cap won the Best Game Boy Advance of 2005 by GameSpot over such finalists as Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones and WarioWare: Twisted!; GameSpot labelled it as "the Game Boy Advance game we remember the most".[5] In March 2007, the game was ranked as the 20th best Game Boy Advance game by IGN. In the acknowledgement, IGN commented that "The inclusion of the ability to shrink and grow was explored to some really good results."[4] The game was ranked 47th in Official Nintendo Magazine's "100 Greatest Nintendo Games" feature.[45] Minish Cap received an average score of 92 percent from Gamerankings, a site that compiles media ratings from several publishers to give an average score.[3]

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Zelda: Minish Cap: Release Dates". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  2. "Zelda: Minish Cap :Goron Quest". Zelda Shrine. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap reviews". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harris, Craig (2007-03-16). "Top 25 Game Boy Advance Games of All Time". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Gamespot's Best of 2005–Platforms". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  6. "Zelda: The interview!". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. 17 Nov 2004. Retrieved 30 May 2010. NoE: How does the Minish Cap fit into the Zelda chronology? Is it a prequel to the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures on GameCube? Aonuma: Yes, this title takes place prior to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, and tells the secret of the birth of the Four Sword. 
  7. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instruction booklet, p. 2.
  8. "Races of Hyrule–Zelda Universe". Zelda Universe. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  9. "Characters–Zelda Universe". Zelda Universe. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  10. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. King: No, soldiers will not do. The Picori do not show themselves to anyone but children. Our soldiers could search for days and still no sign of them. / Smith: I see... If that's the case, then why not send Link? / King: If Link has recovered, then yes, I would like to ask this of him. Please, turn my precious Zelda back to normal. The Picori should know how to create a new sacred sword. It will be a dangerous journey, now that those monsters have been freed. Please, take this sword with you, along with the broken Picori Blade.
  11. "The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap: Characters". Lufia World. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  12. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Ezlo: That foul Vaati! What could he be scheming now? Link... I feel I own you an explanation of what has happened. You see, Vaati and I are both Minish. I was once a famous sage and a renowned Minish craftsman. Vaati was only a boy when I took him on as my apprentice. But...he became enchanted by the wickedness in the hearts of men. One day, Vaati took a hat I made for the humans -- my pride and joy. It granted wishes of its wearer. He put it on without my permission...
  13. "Nintendojo ~ Review". Nintendojo. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  14. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. With the power of the four elements, your blade has become the Four Sword. Focus power in your blade and release to fire a beam. Use it to break Vaati's curse and restore the people of Hyrule.
  15. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Ezlo: What's this? The curse... Defeating Vaati seems to have broken the curse he cast upon me!
  16. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Ezlo: Well, Link, my journey with you has been exciting, to say the least. In fact, I'm...more than just a little sad that we must part ways now. Please, accept this... Heh... You know, I've never actually seen you wearing a cap until now! It suits you, little hero. Take care...
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Shoemaker, Brad (2005-01-11). "The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  18. Theobald, Phil (2005-10-01). "The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap review". GameSpy. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  19. "Yahoo: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap". Yahoo Games. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Harris, Craig (2005-01-10). "IGN: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap review". IGN. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  21. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instruction booklet, p. 10.
  22. "Enemies–Zelda Universe". Zelda Universe. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  23. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instruction booklet, p. 7.
  24. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instruction booklet, pp. 16–17.
  25. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instruction booklet, p. 27.
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Review: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap". GamePro. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  27. Rorie, Matthew. "The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Game Guide". Yahoo Games. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  28. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instruction booklet, p. 23.
  29. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instruction booklet, p. 26.
  30. "The Minish Cap Figurine List". Zelda Dungeon. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 "Miyamoto Confirms New Zelda". IGN. 2003-02-24. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  32. Harris, Craig (2004-09-13). "Minish Cap Site Launches". IGN. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  33. Kohler, Chris (September 3, 2004). "Zelda: Minish Cap to hit Europe before US". GameSpot. 
  34. "Zelda Limited Edition Pak". Nintendo of Europe. 
  35. Yeung, Karlie (2004-11-12). "Will your quest lead to gold?". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  36. 36.0 36.1 "Review: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap". Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  37. "Gamespy's Best of 2005". Gamespy. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  38. "2005 Nintendo Power Awards". Nintendo Power 203. p. 53. .
  39. "NP Top 200". Nintendo Power 200. p. 61. .
  40. Theobald, Phil (2005-01-10). "The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap review". GameSpy. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  41. Bettenhausen, Shane (2005-01-27). "Reviews: Zelda: The Minish Cap". Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  42. Bramwell, Tom (2004-11-18). "Review: The Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap (Euro gamer)". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  43. 43.0 43.1 Ferris, Nick. "RPGamer: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap review". RPGamer. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  44. Shirley, Jeff (2005-01-17). "Nintendo World Report: GBA review: Minish Cap". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  45. "60-41 ONM". ONM. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 

Further reading

External links

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