I had an absolute blast playing The Minish Cap! Since it is a traditional top-down 2D Zelda title, playing it was a wonderful return to form after Skyward Sword. While the game is pretty much a conventional 2D Zelda game, it includes what was a new and unique mechanic/item: Elzo, a Minish-turned-magic cap that shrinks Link down to near-microscopic size.
The shrinking mechanic provided a fresh and exciting new perspective on almost every environment in the game. Additionally, I vastly preferred Elzo’s style of help to other Zelda companions like Navi or Fi. After being interrupted continuously with things like, “Master, I calculate a 90% probability of blah blah blah,” from Fi in Skyward Sword, Elzo was a nice change of pace. He managed to provide insight and help on the quest without being annoying. I hope that we see Elzo and his magic shrinking powers resurface in a future top-down Zelda title.
Unfortunately, The Minish Cap is rather short for a Zelda game. On average, it takes people about 15 hours to complete the main story. It only has six dungeons, and a lot of the total 15-hour playtime is split between fetch quests and traveling through Hyrule.
Even with the abundance of fetch quests and the constant back-and-forth, I desperately wanted to spend more time in its charming version of early Hyrule. The art style was adorable, the gameplay mechanics were solid, and the several Kinstone trading sidequests were incredibly addictive. If you haven’t played it in a while (or at all), I highly recommend grabbing it on the Wii U Virtual Console. Act fast, because, like its predecessor, the Wii U eShop will eventually go the way of the dinosaurs.
Where The Minish Cap fits on the Zelda timeline
The Minish Cap takes place between Skyward Sword and Ocarina Of Time. While the game serves as an origin story for the villain Vaati and has a decent story on its own, it doesn’t really feel like it should be part of the official timeline. Sure, it features staple characters like Link, Zelda, and a villain corrupted by what I assume is Malice (the force of evil in the Zelda universe). But other than those few things it felt, to me personally, like it was missing something. Then again, it was developed by Capcom and Flagship long before an official timeline had been established.
Overall, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is an especially bite-sized but still delightful Zelda experience.
Next up in my quest, I will be playing The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords. Hope to see you there!