A much loved curiosity from the Zelda back catalogue is lovingly updated for 2015
The Legend of Zelda - Majora’s Mask 3D
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
WHEN it was released for the Nintendo 64 at the turn of the millennium, Majora’s Mask quickly became recognised as one of the most inventive entries in the Zelda series. Fifteen years on, its status is undiminished and anyone who has yet to play it should regard this remastered and tweaked 3DS version as an opportunity not to be missed.
In addition to familiar Zelda tropes, such as labyrinthine dungeon exploration, combat and fiendish puzzles, Majora’s Mask continues to stand out thanks to the changes it imposed on the formula. The overall tone is darker and the core mechanic - a perpetual 72 hour play cycle that must be reset time and again if you are to prevent a falling moon from destroying the world of Termina - is still a masterstroke.
Majora’s Mask remains taut and menacing, with a few tweaked mechanics
Whereas Ocarina of Time boasted a gentle, airy pace, the structure of Majora’s Mask makes it an altogether more menacing and taut proposition. The 3DS update aims to make it a slightly more forgiving experience and while aficionados of the original have questioned some of the reworked features, there is no doubt that the ability to save your progress at any time is useful. It can be exploited, but that is a matter of self discipline. Link is also able to jump forward in time to a certain point, meaning that there is no longer any need to idle away the hours waiting for a key moment, pleasantly distracting though it is.
Other alterations see the graphics and audio overhauled in a pleasing and sensitive manner that enhances the original, and a few of the boss battles now pose a stiffer challenge, even if they are still one of the game’s weaker points. Link’s notebook has also expanded and is now a veritable encyclopaedia of knowledge and guidance. This is useful for first time players, but we can’t help feel that overreliance on it discourages the sense of discovery so crucial to Zelda games.
It is an enriching experience quite unlike any other Zelda title
Not that this minor quibble should put you off playing the 2015 iteration of Majora’s Mask. As you gradually get used to the unusual three day mechanic and delve ever deeper into the maudlin world of Termina and its rich roster of characters, the experience is deeply enriching and quite unlike any other Zelda game. This is a innovative, immersive title that more than holds its own 15 years later.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Find a scarecrow for some invaluable advice if you’re unsure about what to do next
Scheduling what to do and when to do it is crucial, so make use of the in-game alarm clock to make reminders
If you are nearing the end of the 72 hour cycle, be sure to deposit the money you have gathered in the bank