By Connor Sadler, February 26 2015 —
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is a re-release of the popular adventure game that debuted in October 2000.
The game focuses on Link, a young boy in pursuit of the Skull Kid, a forest imp who stole an ancient and powerful artifact called Majora’s Mask. Using the mask’s power, the Skull Kid pulls the moon out of the sky, causing it to fall into the land of Termina over three days, triggering the end of the world. Link has to relive the three days before the apocalypse over and over in an attempt to stop the Skull Kid and right all the wrongs the mask has caused.
To do this Link must find and rescue four giants who are locked away in dungeons in each region of Termina. This is the typical format of most Zelda games, but Majora’s Mask adds pressure to clear dungeons quickly due to the imminent doom of the approaching moon. If the player runs out of time, the dungeons reset and have to be started from scratch. This makes any misstep in the dungeon more dangerous.
Between exploring dungeons, Link has to travel around Termina. The more you see of the world, the more depressing and disheartening it becomes — the swamp has become poisoned and the mountains have surrendered to a never-ending winter. Almost every character you encounter has a problem of some sort. Solving them grants you valuable rewards, but the next time you fail all your hard work is undone.
Even after you clear a dungeon, you keep proof of your heroic deeds, but the ailments of the area return after a three-day cycle. After a few hours of playing, this can be
discouraging as you slowly realize there’s no possible way to save everyone in Termina.
In addition to the usual items that Link gathers on his quests — such as a bow, hookshot and bombs — Link also gathers transformation masks. These items let him take the form of fallen heroes of Termina, allowing him to breathe underwater or walk through lava. Whenever Link changes form, a quick cutscene shows him in agony, adding to the game’s dark tone.
Majora’s Mask is an adventure game that borders on psychological horror. The game is engaging enough that players can immerse themselves in the story, but not creepy enough to drive away more casual players.
The pressure of the three-day countdown on the bottom of the screen makes you feel like the world is actually going to end. This intense atmosphere is Majora’s Mask’s strongest point, and it creates a story-centric game that stands out when compared to hack-and-slash adventures.