Exploring the connections between Minish Cap and Skyward Sword
*pant* *pant* … Sorry guys, I was a bit late, but better late than never. You asked me to look into the similarities of those two Zelda games, right? Minish Cap and Skyward Sword? Yeah, I did. And guess what? The guy was right, for two games that are not direct sequels of each other (i.e. not the same Link, ala Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass) there are an awful lot of similarities between these two Zelda games. Many people noticed the numerous inspirations Ocarina of Time drew from Link to the Past – a similar thing has occurred for people who have played both of these games. Heck, a simple google search even brought up an article at IGN talking about it!
First, let’s go with the obvious similarities…
The “new” items in Skyward Sword
In Skyward Sword, there were a couple of items many players may not have been familiar with. The first is the Gust Bellows, a large jar that Link carried around that could blow dust and sand. The other is the Digging Mitts, which allowed Link to burrow underground for switches and treasures.
There are other unusual items in this game that are truly new, but it turns out these two are pretty much exact replicas of items found in Minish Cap. I know, many Zelda games share items, right? Well, it is a little peculiar that these are the only ones to date that feature either of these items, and they both feature both of them.
Back when I picked up Minish Cap for the first time, I actually felt that the Gust Jar was a bit hokey, which is why I never came back to the game until I got it for being a 3DS ambassador. This might also be a reason why Shaun thought the game sucked (literally, in this case – the Gust Jar had the added mechanic of sucking as well as gusting).
Tempering the Sword
From here on out, things might get a bit like spoilers, so if you don’t want ’em, quit reading. You could read about Kid Icarus: Uprising instead, if you want to!
Part of the adventure in Skyward Sword called for tempering the Goddess Sword in the fires of the three goddesses of Hyrule to create the legendary Master Sword, which becomes a crucial weapon in many following Zelda games. I was seriously worried that Nintendo was going to reuse dungeons for this, but it turned out alright.
The thing about accomplishing this in this game is that I had a nagging feeling of deja vu while doing it. This is because the main plot of Minish Cap also does this – Link must gather elements to temper the Picori Blade into the legendary Four Sword, which also became a crucial weapon for some following Zelda games.
As best as I can recall, the closest any other Zelda game comes to this is in Wind Waker, where the power to repel evil must be restored to the Master Sword. It is a similar game mechanic, but only Skyward Sword and Minish Cap change the name and appearance of the blade.
Skyloft and the Wind Tribe
The first Zelda game to feature a race of people living in the sky was the Minish Cap. I actually thought the idea was quite intriguing, and apparently the developers of the series did as well. In Twilight Princess, there was a city in the sky that had been long abandoned by its creators, and in Skyward Sword there was Skyloft, the home of the hero. While they do share this in common with another game, it is still another similarity the two games share.
As pointed out by the commenter, the way that Link travels to these villages is also similar – Link rides gusts upward, using the Sailcloth in Skyward Sword and the Minish Cap in… well, Minish Cap.
And now, for the less obvious connections…
The Relationship Between Link and Zelda
This is actually commonly overlooked. In most Zelda games, the relationship between the hero and the series’ namesake is often that of hero and damsel in distress. From there, some games take some departures. For example, it could be said of them in Ocarina of Time that the two were playing hero a bit, and I really like how the relationship developed between them in Wind Waker. It is important to note, however, that in exactly two Zelda games the two start out as long time childhood friends. Which ones? You guessed it, Skyward Sword and Minish Cap.
The “Stretching” Connections
Additionally, there are connections that are kinda iffy. For example, one player thought the loftwings looked a tad like the Minish Cap:
Also, some people like to tout the similarities between Vaati and Ghirahim. It is true that the first time I saw him without knowing his name I asked, “Is that Vaati?” but that is about as far as the connection went for me. They both try to use Zelda in some kind of ritual – but their motives are quite distinct.
The world map is also the same, featuring forest to the east, mountains to the north, and ruins to the west. However, the same could be roughly said of Ocarina of Time, and likely a few others in the series. The author of the article at IGN notes that the overworld is actually well used for content in both games.
The Most Important Connection
The most important connection between these two games is such because it offers a decent explanation for all of them – they were both directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi. Actually, he was the director for Four Swords (the add-on multiplayer adventure to the GBA release of Link to the Past), so he turns out to be the director for the first three games of the official Nintendo timeline for the Legend of Zelda.
So anyway, apologies to the commenter for late research. Keep listening to At the Buzzer!