I recently completed ‘Zelda: Majora’s Mask’ for 3DS. I briefly played the N64 version at a friend’s house when I was a kid, but I don’t really remember it. So I’m going to review the game as it stands now, without comparing it to the original version. Overall, I really enjoyed the game.There’s a lot to do and explore, and heaps of sidequests. There’s plenty of masks to collect, most of which are optional, but will help with the main quest. The 3-day limitation made the game feel different to other Zelda games. It did affect how I played the game and how willing I was to explore. Given that, I would suggest considering how you react to real or perceived time pressure before playing it.

The game starts with Link wandering through a forest and being knocked off his horse by the Skull Kid wearing a creepy mask (Majora’s Mask). Link soon gets turned into a Deku Scrub and ends up in Clock Town. You’re given 3 days to get back Link’s ocarina and the mask that the Skull Kid stole from the mask salesman. At the end of the 3 days the moon will fall, destroying the town. You’ll spend your first 3-day cycle around Clock Town. At the end of it you won’t have the mask back, but you will have the ocarina. This lets you re-set the 3 day cycle.

Over the course of the game you’ll be continually travelling back in time, repeating 3 days over and over as you try to prevent the moon from falling. As the days pass the moon will get closer and closer, and the people in Clock Town will start noticing. It was an interesting mechanic that really changed the feel of the game. The townspeople have different schedules each day, and certain events in the world outside the town also change depending on the schedule. Quests will have particular times they start. You’ll learn various songs to change the flow of time that will make getting to a particular time easy, so you don’t have to spend ages waiting for quests to start. When you reset the clock all of the quests will be reset as well. This is important as completing certain quests will prevent others from starting, or be requirements to complete others. It was interesting to see how your actions throughout the 3-days altered the world around you.

Overall I enjoyed the time mechanic, however it did change how I played the game. I wouldn’t explore as much as previous games, and I felt under more pressure when I was completing dungeons. When you reset the 3 day cycle you’ll lose all your items, but not your equipment (i.e., you’ll lose your arrows, but not your bow, and you’ll lose items in your bottles, but not your bottles), and dungeons and quests will reset. So this means if you run out of time in a dungeon the whole dungeon will reset when you go back in time. You’ll keep the dungeon map and compass, but you’ll lose all your keys. The only time I ever had to reset a dungeon was the first one; I entered on the second day and didn’t slow down time. If you plan properly and enter the dungeon on the first day and use the song you learn to slow down time you shouldn’t have any issues completing the dungeons in one 3-day cycle. Even so, I did feel more pressure.

Because the dungeons re-set this also gives you the opportunity to fight bosses again. I only found this necessary for one dungeon, where defeating the boss was necessary to make changes to the surrounding land and unlock some quests. I didn’t often have to re-fight dungeon bosses though.

As in other Zelda games, Link will collect a lot of equipment on his quest. As well as the standard items, like bows and bombs, he can also collect masks. There are over 20 masks in the game. Some of these are necessary for the main quest, like the transformation masks. These transform Link into other creatures and give him different abilities and weaknesses. The Deku mask transforms Link into a Deku Scrub and lets him hop on water a few times and make use of Deku flowers to shoot up into the air. Many masks aren’t required for the main quest but can be very helpful, like the Bunny mask and the Stone mask.

Overall, I really enjoyed this game. There’s lots to explore and do, and its fun going back to previous places with new masks and abilities to see what you can unlock. I liked seeing how events in Clock Town unrolled differently depending on which quests you completed, or how you completed them. I enjoyed the time mechanic, but it did lead me to explore less, even when I realistically had plenty of time to complete dungeons. Given this, I would suggest thinking about how you react to perceived time pressure, as it will affect how much you enjoy the time mechanic.

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