Since the release of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the 3DS in 2011, fans have been asking and pleading for its sequel Majora's Mask to be released for the 3DS. 15 years after the game's original release on the Nintendo 64, fans can now pick up Majora's Mask for the 3DS and relive the strange and sad land of Termina as you have been "met with a terrible fate".
Since the Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is a sequel to Ocarina of Time, the game starts off with the same Link as he is riding Epona through a forest searching for Navi, his fairy companion from Ocarina of Time. After having his Ocarina stolen, Link chases after a Skull Kid wearing the Majora's Mask, finding himself in the parallel world of Termina. Once arriving in Termina, Link learns that the moon is going to crash into Termina in 3 days time, and if he wants to stop it, then he will need to free the four guardians of Termina and stop the evil Majora's Mask. Saving Termina can only be accomplished by collecting masks with varying abilities as well as Link's Ocarina of Time to keep repeating the 3-day cycle to ensure you have enough time.
Majora's Mask is a Legend of Zelda game all of it's own, previous titles in the series were used to having structures that were familiar and made sense with the three small collectibles, such as pendants, the acquiring of the Master Sword and then seven more dungeons such as in Ocarina of Time and Link to the Past, or just a series of eight different dungeons like the original Legend of Zelda or Link's Awakening. Majora's Mask only has four main dungeons but plenty of sidequests and collectibles that are all relatively short, aside from one or two, that makes you want to finish them all. There are a variety of different rewards for completing these side quests such as rupees, empty bottles, heart containers and most importantly new masks.
The importance and variety of these masks is something that had never been done in a Zelda game before and have never been done since, aside from the mask of truth, allowing Link to gain new abilities or even change shape to continue his adventure. There are four masks that are required for completing the different dungeons that allow Link to transform into a Deku Scrub, Goron, Zora and a giant, as well as other masks that can give you the ability to explode, talk to animals or even to dance; in total you can collect 24 different masks in the game.
The controls for this game are extremely smooth with a map always present on the lower screen with your instrument and four other selectable items. That means you will have to rearrange your button combinations less, and with a fast menu system dragging and dropping items and masks around, any time you do spend in the menu is extremely limited. One great improvement over the original game is the upgraded bombers notebook; this is an item you get at the start of the game that is used to keep track of side quests, characters and rewards as you repeat the 3 day cycle over and over again. In the original it was an item but it was never encouraged to use, in the 3DS version you will get notifications when it is updated, when quests are completed and see all characters and their schedules. Some other big changes are the locations of the stone and giant mask as well as some of the ways that you fight the bosses. One change that has been made that fans might not like as much is that the Zora fast swimming is powered by magic; this change seems unnecessary and slows down a lot of the swimming portion of the game.
While Majora's Mask is a smaller game in size compared to other Legend of Zelda games, it makes sure that you interact and learn about all of the inhabitants of the world. Using the 3-day system and all of the side quests, you will find yourself interacting with everyone and learning their schedules. Not only that but you'll learn what happens if you don't interact with them on the first day as opposed to interacting with them on all three days. This makes you want to interact and help each of the characters because more often than not if you only talk to NPC's on the final day none of them have been having a very good couple of days. In an effort to make the game more accessible to a pick up and play handheld style of game you can now save from any owl or save statue, as opposed to only being able to save after playing the song of time, and the song of double time now allows you to pick which hour of the day you want to move forward to so you can complete some of the time specific quests.
If you were to have someone play the original release of Majora's Mask for the Nintendo 64 and then Majora's Mask for 3DS they would be able to instantly tell you how much better Majora's Mask for 3DS looked. Much like the original, nearly all of Majora's Mask's assets are pulled straight from Ocarina of Time due to its short development time, meaning that this game looks a lot like the improved Ocarina of Time with a more detailed look for young Link, as well as all of Links different forms. There were some noticeable frame rate issues at times especially during Snowhead Temple when destroying multiple snow boulders, but nothing that would last for more than a couple of seconds at a time.
The soundtrack for Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is filled with memorable songs and sounds whether they be the background music of Clock Town, the various songs that the player learns during their adventure or the gentle rustling of bugs underneath a newly broken pot. Every sound has its purpose and place that it fits into perfectly. There is no time that you have to question what you are hearing or why you are meant to be hearing it. For a much sadder Zelda game, at least if you pay attention to all of the characters, a lot of the music carries this emotional weight as well, a great example of this would be the Oath to Order.
This game was purchased by the reviewer and was played on a New Nintendo 3DS XL.
If you wish to purchase The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for 3DS you can get it from Amazon for $39.99