Game Design

Thoughts on Wind Waker’s Miniblins

Remember when I said I’m playing Wind Waker for the first time? I still am.

Well, not still. I put it down for almost two months. My last save was in September. I finally played it again.

I’ve been busy.

But I was playing it again, and I was in Forsaken Fortress trying to sneak up to the top of the middle tower to find my sister.

That’s when I encountered the Miniblins again, and I have to remark on how amazing they are as enemies.

There are a variety of moblins in this game. Some sniff around and search with lanterns, and if they see you, they’ll throw the lantern and cause a fire hazard to appear before attacking. Smaller moblins might stand guard with menacing weapons, but they tend to fall asleep if you wait long enough.

But miniblins are obnoxious.

You can hear them before you see them. And you never hear just one, but you can’t be sure. It’s this cute sounding “deh dank, deh dank.”

And then you see them. There’s usually more than one. And they are small. You think, “Ok, these guys look adorable. I’m sure I can defeat them easily.”

And it’s true.

But then you find out one is walking on the wall above you, and one had walked up the wall below you, and suddenly you realize that you’re surrounded.

And when you swing your sword at one, another one hits you with its pitchfork, knocking you down to the ground.

And he laughs. As you lie there while the others “deh dank, deh dank” around you, he laughs at how he made you fall.

From a mechanics perspective, miniblins are simply weak enemies who are quick, capable of moving in places the player can’t, and tend to show up in groups.

They are dangerous because there is going to be more than one, and they knock you down rather than merely hurt you, and you tend to encounter them in places where being knocked down can mean falling to a lower level and needing to traverse the dungeon to get to the same area again. And again. And Again.

But that’s just the mechanics. The sounds they make and the giggling after they hit you?

So obnoxious.

And that piece of aesthetics make them one of my favorite enemies in this game. Without that taunting, miniblins could have been a boring new variety of moblin.

With it, they become bullies who seem to enjoy bothering you for sport.