Week #1: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

The lazyhandheldman’s weekly handheld game recommendation is inspired by subreddit SBCGaming’s “Game of the Month”. Today, my recommendation is The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Release: 2004

Original console: Game Boy Advance

Developer(s): Capcom, Flagship

Publisher(s): Nintendo

Genre(s): Action-adventure

Series: The Legend of Zelda

Recommended handhelds to play: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 2DS, Miyoo Mini Plus

Best for

  • People who love Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, and want another Zelda experience

People who dived into the huge universe of The Legend of Zelda, and want another Zelda experience should try The Minish Cap. It has good story to hold its own in the Zelda universe, and the combination of captivating graphics and music will bring you hours of enjoyment. I’m in exact the same position, and luckily The Minish Cap isn’t a boring Zelda experience on my side.

  • People who grew up with Zelda games

The Minish Cap is a 2D Zelda game, meaning it is similar to the first and original The Legend of Zelda, thus making it a classic Zelda game. Maybe Nintendo shifted the direction into making more 3D Zelda games recently, true Zelda fans usually love the dungeon’s design (which is a very important part of Zelda games) in 2D Zelda style like The Minish Cap. Plus, The Minish Cap show off much better graphics in the whole series, so you will enjoy playing it.

Also, the concept of shrinking is unique to The Minish Cap, opening more complex puzzles need to be solved.

  • People who don’t have much time playing

Adult people who are using retro handheld emulators for playing retro games will like this game for a quick and fairly easy dungeon and boss fight. Most dungeons consist of only 3 floors with 5-6 maps each floor, so if you’re looking to play for short time, you should try The Minish Cap.

  • People who love Game Boy Advance system

I grew up playing Game Boy Advance as my most played gaming console, so I enjoy the nostalgia of playing popular GBA games, and The Minish Cap is certainly one. I can easily skip the original NES version, but I’m more willing to try any GBC and GBA Zelda version.

The Minish Cap is actually the most lively and colorful world among GBA games

Worst for

  • People who don’t click with any other 2D Zelda games

The Legend of Zelda stands out to have its series’ own gameplay, involving lots of exploration, puzzle solving and dungeon crawling. Even boss fights are unique to the Zelda series, and I should say The Minish Cap offer some challenging boss fights. If you’re more into 3D Zelda games like Tears of the Kingdom, and you don’t like the remade Link the Awakening, you can skip The Minish Cap. For your information, The Minish Cap is set in the weakest (generally believed) Zelda timeline.

  • True Zelda fans who dislike Capcom for making a Zelda game

I find a lot of true Zelda fans who dislike The Minish Cap just because it is developed by a studio not belonged to Nintendo. In fact, the studio which made The Minish Cap (Flagship) doesn’t involve into creating any other Zelda games, so I understand the point.

When you hate the game for such reason, you will find the whole shrinking concept as a gimmick that adds only for predetermined circumstances. You won’t like kinstone collectibles, how rupees and shells work in this game.

Collectibles are annoying that I almost skipped

I only want to remind you that the director of The Minish Cap actually directed Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom.

Recommended handhelds to play

I always recommend using the native handheld for its own system, unless you want convenient features like save states or fast forwarding. A Game Boy Advance and EZ-Flash Omega combination can give you the convenient save states, and I always consider using them as the top-tier handheld selection for a GBA game.

Otherwise, I recommend to try the Miyoo Mini Plus, because of convenient save states and great display. However, if you happen to own a more expensive retro handheld emulator, you don’t need to replace with the Miyoo Mini Plus. GBA is a fairly easy system to emulate, so you can even spend for a cheaper device. However, the trade off in display and Miyoo custom firmware is usually not worth it.

You can also try The Minish Cap on a Nintendo 2DS, but you must get an Ambassador program to convert the game file, then you need homebrew system on your 2DS. A Nintendo 2DS is my favorite handheld experience for GBA, thanks to both its form factor and C-Pad utility. You can also play The Minish Cap on a Nintendo Switch using NSO, and enjoy more convenient features the same as a retro handheld emulator.