2016/06/14

Getting an education: Followup

TL;DR Minish Cap is cute and fun, but not nearly as well designed as Link to the Past

So I finally completed Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and despite its many qualities, I do have some major gripes about it.

Playing A Link To The Past back to back with The Minish Cap does give some interesting perspective on the design of both games, the major point being how well designed A Link To The Past is.

Without getting into too much detail, the major concern is regarding game flow, both in the implementation of game mechanics, as well as the game progression, The Minish Cap feels clunky, unintuitive, and at times over complicated.

Graphics are very cute though
Game controls, for example, do not feel as well mapped. The game works on the basis that certain actions, like jumping or sprinting, are triggered by assigning an special item to either the A or B buttons.
In theory this allows for more movements than the control layout might allow, but in practice means that very useful abilities, like sprinting (which greatly reduces travel time) require using one action slot, instead of binding it to a shoulder button as the older game did.

Then there are horrible elements like the matching game, a minigame used to unlock secrets or advance the plot, but that quite often has you running around completely lost trying to find the character you need to match pieces with.

Or, worse yet, the collectible figurines you obtain through a dispenser with an increasing change of failure, which results in massive amounts of time spent grinding the currency needed to get them all.
Protip: There's a red rupee buried just left of Link's home entrance, use the Mole Mitts to dig it up, enter and exit the house, and repeat until full, then go buy shells at the town store to use for figurines.

Not to mention that the best shield in the game, as well as the last figurine, are only available after you complete the game (defeating the final boss), thus making the shield particularly pointless.

All in all, though, I enjoyed both greatly, and The Minish Cap does improve on many things, and had some very imaginative ideas.