To create a perfect remake there are two general guidelines to follow. The first is to update the game to make it feel modern, but not to change too much to make the game unrecognizable. The second is to mix things up and add some extra content, so the player can’t simply run through the game with their mind on cruise control. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is just about as perfect as it gets.
If you’re not familiar with The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, the game picks up shortly after the events from The Ocarina of Time, with young Link and Epona searching for their old pal Navi. Things quickly take a turn for the worst (you can watch the first 3 minutes here), and the hero of Hyrule finds himself in a strange land that almost resembles a parallel universe. Majora’s Mask is definitely a different breed of Zelda game, as its two major focuses are on collecting masks and time management. You have a 72 hour time frame to stop Skull Kid, and every time you rewind the clock you lose all of your temporary items such as arrows, bombs, and even rupees. It also only has four dungeons to complete, which may sound like a short game, but Majora’s Mask 3D isn’t just about stopping a creepy-faced moon from plummeting into an innocent village. The amount of side quests and extras add several hours to the gameplay experience. Much like the original, there are twenty four masks to collect throughout your journey, some are required to progress through the story, some are used to collect heart pieces and other perks. There are fifteen stray fairies to collect in each dungeon, as well as two Skulluta Houses containing thirty gold skullutas to be slain. There are also all new fishing holes to kill some time.
Speaking of side quests, if you’re familiar with the original Majora’s Mask you may notice some things that aren’t exactly how you remember them. Puzzles don’t always have the same answers they once did, stray fairies are not always located in their old hiding places, and even some boss battles have a slightly different strategy (or strategies). Each boss has a new weakness: an eye somewhere on their bodies that can be targeted for extra damage.
The first thing you may notice when entering Clocktown is how every little graphical detail has been drastically improved. Link, as well as the other characters wandering the town have improved facial features and a less blocky overall appearance. Clocktown itself has been slightly rearranged for more convenient access to things like the bank. Subtle improvements to background objects such as door frames, barrels, and balloons are constant throughout every inch of the world map and while may not be noticed on first glance, are certainly appreciated.
One of the great things about remaking Majora’s Mask onto a dual screen handheld is the amount of freed up real estate on the main screen. The Ocarina can be quickly accessed on the bottom left of the touchscreen. Another useful item in Majora’s Mask 3D, the Pictograph, is now accessible on the top left of the touchscreen. The masks, maps, and items are all easily reached on the bottom of the touchscreen, essentially eliminating the annoyance of fumbling around several screens for items. The sun dial that is used to track your remaining days and hours has been upgraded to a much simpler and easy to read gauge.
Puzzles don’t always have the same answers they once did, stray fairies are not always located in their old hiding places, and even some boss battles have a slightly different strategy
The most important item in the game is the Ocarina. This allows you to rewind, slow down, manuever your way through the 72 hours you have to save Clocktown. Along the way you’ll learn 13 catchy little tunes, some old and some new. These songs also sound a little different depending on which of the three main masks you wear: Deku, Goron, and Zora. When you’re not providing the music yourself, you’ll enjoy the festive background music of Clocktown, and the adventurous music of the dungeons and other villages.
The controls of Majora’s Mask have also been drastically improved from the original. Having the second stick, whether it’s using a New Nintendo 3DS or Circle Pad Pro, makes camera movements a breeze, which is extremely helpful when hovering around as Deku Link or rolling around tight paths as Goron Link. The only minor blemish to Majora’s Mask 3D is controlling Zora Link can be difficult to master compared to the others. The fast swimming control, diving in and out of water, has been combined with the magic shield, making maneuvering a little erratic and tough to get used to. Having the extra item space on the touch screen comes in handy when having to frequently switch masks.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is a near perfect remake that does extremely well at modernizing the original and adding extra content, all while keeping the feeling of nostalgia. It is an excellent opportunity for fans of the franchise who missed out on Majora’s Mask to experience it, and also has updated puzzles and extra content to challenge returning players.
- Compelling Story
- Loads of side quests and extra content
- Beautiful updated graphics, sound, and controls
- Zora Link controls take time to get used to
Josh spent several hours hunting down every stray fairy, gold skulluta, and finished the game with 21 masks. A review copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was provided by Nintendo, and the game was reviewed using a 3DS XL equipped with a Circle Pad Pro.