A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zelda games have always been heavier on plot than violence. Having said that, Link must use swords, bows, bombs, and boomerangs to defend himself, although the gore factor is virtually nonexistent.
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What's it about?
As an annual festival is set to commence in THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE MINISH CAP, an evil sorcerer named Vaati destroys the Picori sword, which has protected humans from evil. When Zelda confronts Vaati, he turns her into stone. To save her, Link must seek the aid of the Picori, elves who only reveal themselves to innocent children, and accomplish tasks: finding artifacts, opening secret passageways, playing the lottery for figurines with powers that will help him. And, of course, he must face off against Vaati.
The Minish -- or Picori elf -- Ezlo, who looks like a green cap, serves as Link's guide. Link encounters enemies such as beetles, moldworms, and slugs, and fights them in the traditional hack-and-slash, slide-scrolling way. In addition to familiar tools, Link has new gadgets at his disposal including a Gust Jar, which sucks up the air and enemies around Link, and the Cane of Pacci, which can flip objects. He also has new, improved sword and rolling moves.
Is it any good?
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE MINISH CAP is a worthy heir to the Zelda legacy, and packs in quite a punch for its pocket-size GBA form. The game demands problem-solving skills: Link must master when to shrink down to Minish size to complete a task and when to return to normal form. In one mission, he must find artifacts of the same color that fuse together to reveal treasures or secrets. The game requires players to concentrate and memorize -- and they won't be able to finish it in one sitting.
It's not just the gameplay that's sophisticated. The story reinvents the mythical student-turning-on-teacher scenario (which kids may recognize from Star Wars) through Vaati and Ezlo's conflict. That Vaati succumbed to the dark side, in part due to his disgust with human egotism, adds a surprising layer of soul and depth to these 2-D characters. This will surely keep inquisitive kids occupied and wanting more Zelda games.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the transformation of the evil character featured in this game. Vaati, Link's main nemesis, was once a good guy who eventually turned on his teacher and his people by giving in to the power of evil. This could spark an important discussion with your kids about good and evil. A conversation could start with questions such as: What do you think could make a good person turn bad? How can you stay true to your beliefs? How do our actions in life define us?
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