The release of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and the New Nintendo 3DS is fast approaching, alongside the limited edition Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL that has sparked insanity among collectors. This comes after years of speculation that we would see the classic Nintendo 64 title ported to handheld, following the road that Ocarina of Time paved before it to near perfection. Nintendo finally unveiled that it would be coming back in their November Nintendo Direct, with most expecting it to be released later in the spring, but we were glad to learn that it instead would be coming much sooner on February 13.
Ports to handhelds have been around since even the days of the Game Boy, though typically offering much lesser versions back then. However, today remakes for handhelds are not only living up to the standards of the original, but often surpassing them. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D was a magnificent example of a very well made remake, both graphically and in features. While Majora’s Mask will certainly not have a full separate quest like that of Ocarina of Time 3D’s Master Quest, which was available beforehand through a special edition GameCube disc as well, there is still plenty of reason to be excited for Majora’s Mask 3D.
The usage of the bottom screen for the item inventory and map in Ocarina of Time 3D was a massive help. This was especially true by making the Iron Boots able to be equipped there, rather than having to attach one to a C button. That should ring true here again, as I know that I personally found it to be a major improvement from the original and with the whole mask inventory system, it should be even more helpful.
Just like Ocarina of Time 3D, this game’s graphics are a great improvement over the Nintendo 64 original. The graphics certainly aren’t at a HD level or anything expected on consoles, but they still look much more polished and refined here. Similar to how the original Majora’s Mask was built using assets from Ocarina of Time 3D, the development team had existing designs to work with, allowing the extra time to be allotted elsewhere.
In addition to the graphics, we’ve already heard about some other changes in the game that will feel very new to fans of the game. The first boss Odalwa has almost been completely redone, making him much more complicated to defeat than the basic hack ‘n’ slash battle we saw back in 2000. The much maligned owl statues have even gotten a makeover, though just how exactly they work hasn’t been fully revealed yet.
While there are changes abound in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, the game itself was built exceptionally well for a handheld system, like the 3DS, in the first place. The central element of the game is obviously the mask collecting, with many of the masks being acquired in completely optional sidequests. This means that the game itself offers many more sidequests than just about any other entry in the Legend of Zelda series. By doing so, you can pick up the game on the go, whether on a break at work, on the subway, or many other places, and do a mask sidequest here and then another later.
The standby ability of the 3DS is a godsend for Majora’s Mask 3D, even with the owl statue changes. With only four overall dungeons to navigate, the puzzles and surrounding areas can get pretty complicated at times. Even when not near the more prevalent owl statues, such as inside a temple, you can simply close the 3DS and continue playing later, as long as they do not let the battery die in standby, which does take quite awhile. This is a big deal for someone like me, so I know this has to ring true for many other games as well.
One of the more controversial additions, a more exact Song of Double Time, also manages to mesh well with the portable aspect of the game as well. Rather than only being able to shift forward to dawn or nightfall, as in the N64 version, Majora’s Mask 3D allows one to use it to move forward to an exact hour. Some believe this makes the game too easy, but it is perfect for an on the go version of the game. For example, the Blast Mask sidequest requires Link to stop the thief Sakon from robbing an old lady at 10:00 on the first night. Rather than moving forward to only nightfall and then having to wait around, you can be much more exact. This allows someone in a hurry to save precious time, when time may be of the essence for a busy gamer on the go.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is certainly one of the darker and most underrated entries in the long running franchise and that is why is it one of my very favorite Zelda games. Hopefully this more accessible handheld version will allow even the most casual or busy gamers to experience this true classic.