A wonderfully eerie journey through the realm of an old friend
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is an action-adventure game of an apocalyptic bent that sees elf-like Link attempting to save the world from a plummeting moon.
Trapped in the parallel world of Termina, players must wake the sleeping Four Giants to slow the moon’s descent. The ultimate goal is to defeat the Skull Kid and the eponymous mask that possesses him. Players must find new masks to unlock new skills and navigate temples and beat their bosses.
There’s also a plethora of sweet side quests, like the one in which you reunite a lovelorn couple. Players must do this within the game’s time limit: 3 days (in game time, considerably shorter than our own). Luckily, with the help of his ocarina, an ancient musical instrument, Link has the ability to slow, reverse and speed up time. It’s a remake of the 2000 classic on the N64 with updated graphics, tweaks on the gameplay, and of course, stereoscopic 3D. What results is a wonderfully eerie adventure as players leap through time to save the world.
Originally released in 2000, Majora’s Mask was a particularly strange beast. Developed in just over one year as a sequel to the bestselling Ocarina of Time, the game featured lots of the same cast of characters but in twisted, distorted ways. It was a visual toybox - a game in which Link must not only find himself (the opening moments see you trapped in the body of a Deku Scrub, a tree-like being) but also help solve other characters' problems. As Link placed the mask on his face to turn into the Goron, the Zora or the Deku, he seemed to scream - as though in actual pain.
If there’s a negative to this remake, it’s perhaps that the game has brushed up the graphics and made it all that bit lighter. The result is a game that isn’t as creepy, though I’m grateful for the changes personally. As for the nitty-gritty of gameplay mechanics, players can now aim with gyroscopic controls; there’s the added polish of the 3D (which, to the most part, works reasonably well) and boss fights have been altered to provide a more streamlined experience. There are other tidbits added throughout, which I won’t spoil for you, but makes for a refreshing journey through the realm of an old friend.
Majora’s Mask was innovative at the time and still is now. The looping groundhog day narrative creates a foreboding atmosphere where you want to help anyone you can. There’s a pressure, a drive to succeed. Rest assured that you will die, and likely in the opening hours, as you struggle to get the required item to travel back in time. You’ll see the moon hit the land, the fire burn through the town and all the inhabitants you have met there. The next time you’ll try that bit harder. The original was unforgettable, it stuck with me even though I only played it once. This new version brings back that swell of emotion, that knot in the throat, that smile when you know you’re playing a classic.