Majora’s Mask 3D Review
by on February 13, 2015

For a long time, I didn’t think this day would come, but I’ve spent the past week diving into every detail of Majora’s Mask 3D. I was caught completely off guard when Nintendo announced they were remaking one of my favorite Legend of Zelda games, and even more surprised when they told me I’d be playing it in February of 2015. Now that I’ve had a chance to play through most of the game – one week hasn’t given me enough time to complete the entire game – I’m just speechless.

I’ve spoken to a couple of people about my experience with Majora’s Mask 3D so far, but it’s hard to put it into words. Inside, I’m ready to burst with emotion to show how much I love this game. Majora’s Mask was already special, but Majora’s Mask 3D is just… perfect? Perhaps not, but it’s as close to perfect as Majora’s Mask is ever going to be. Nintendo has carefully addressed every major complaint that players had about the original game, and then they’ve tweaked everything else as well.

Stress-free, convenient Zelda

One of the most common complaints I frequently heard about Majora’s Mask is that the three day time limit is stressful, and then it’s coupled with a comment about how saving is very inconvenient. Both of these things are features fans of Majora’s Mask learned to manage a long time ago, but that doesn’t make them any less true. There were multiple occasions where I found myself running out of time in the middle of a boss fight, and even more when I missed a certain time and had to start over from the First Day to complete a sidequest. Saving never bothered me as much as a kid, but I had a ton of time to play video games back then. If I had been a working adult at the time, I would have been irritated at the still-inconvenient quick-save feature and the requirement that I travel back to the Dawn of the First Day to really save.

Majora’s Mask 3D fixes both of these problems. While the three day time limit still exists, it’s much easier to manage this time around. Nintendo has changed the tools you use to manipulate time so that you never feel rushed. The key to this is a revised Song of Double Time. In the original Majora’s Mask, the Song of Double Time allowed you to skip to the following day or night. In Majora’s Mask 3D, the same song allows you to choose exactly which hour of the day you want to skip foward to (you cannot move backward through time with the song). It’s a simple change that has a huge effect.

A simple change that has a huge effect

A simple change that has a huge effect

When I first played Majora’s Mask, I fell in love with the sidequests. My favorite is typical: the famous Kafei and Anju sidequest. I spent hours as a kid standing around Clock Town waiting for events to happen. I’ve never done that in Majora’s Mask 3D. If the event starts at 4:00pm, I just play the Song of Double Time and skip to the right time. The Kafei and Anju sidequest has always been long; even a player who wants to complete only the required portions of the quest could spend nearly an hour completing it in Majora’s Mask. In Majora’s Mask 3D, I can complete the same sidequest in less than 20 minutes.

Saving has also be adjusted to be as convenient as save points can be. The owl statues that acted as quick-save points in Majora’s Mask now act as actual save points. Additional save points have been added throughout the game at the entrance to every dungeon and village. Traveling back to the First Day no longer saves the game at all; it’s done exclusively through save points.

The Bombers’ Notebook: the most important new feature

The Bombers’ Notebook always existed in Majora’s Mask. It was a simple schedule that tracked 20 different characters and helped you complete major sidequests. In Majora’s Mask 3D, the Bombers’ Notebook has received as massive overhaul. It bears little resemblance to the Notebook from the original game. The only term that accurately describes the new Bombers’ Notebook is “quest log”.

The only term that accurately describes the new Bombers' Notebook is "quest log".

The only term that accurately describes the new Bombers’ Notebook is “quest log”.

Majora’s Mask has tons of sidequests, but they weren’t always easy to find. I had a strategy guide when I first played the game that helped me learn where the sidequests were located. Without it, I don’t know how I would have ever found some sidequests without accidentally stumbling upon them. Majora’s Mask 3D has added rumors; small bits of information that the Bombers, a gang of boys whose goal is to help the people of Clock Town, give you about almost every event in the game. The rumors are added to the Bombers’ Notebook to help you remember quests you have not done, and these rumors are very extensive. Pieces of Heart? It’s in the Notebook. Masks? It’s in the Notebook. Rupees? Sometimes, even events that reward rupees are in the Notebook.

I sincerely hope that the new Bombers’ Notebook is the foreshadowing of an extensive quest log in Zelda U later this year.

The Bombers’ Notebook also includes the schedules of characters like the original game, but it’s not the same 20 characters. More characters have been added. You can also set alarms to give you even more assistance managing your time.

The Bombers’ Notebook is without a doubt my favorite part of Majora’s Mask 3D. I could talk all day about how much it has added to my enjoyment of the game. It makes the game world feel alive, and leaves me feeling like there’s always something to do – even if I don’t really want to complete a dungeon. I sincerely hope that the new Bombers’ Notebook is the foreshadowing of an extensive quest log in Zelda U later this year.

Controversial changes… and fishing

While I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of Majora’s Mask 3D, as I played through the game there are two changes that I noted would probably upset some fans. The first has already been seen in multiple trailers and gameplay demos since the game was announced: the dungeon boss fights are different.

The fight with Goht is weaker than the original, but I understand why the changes were made.

The fight with Goht is weaker than the original, but I understand why the changes were made.

I’ve found my experiences with the new bosses to be very appealing. I believe the Odolwa and Gyorg fights are much improved over their predecessors. The fight with Goht is weaker than the original, but I understand why the changes were made. The new fight helps eliminate the feeling from the original that you were, quite literally, chasing Goht around in circles without making progress.

MM3D_Zora_Link_ArtworkThe second controversial change that hasn’t made as many waves yet is that the Zora Link swimming controls are different. The fluid, fast swimming from the original is no longer the default. Instead, swimming is slower and more precise. While I enjoy swimming around Great Bay like a dolphin as much as the next guy, I think the swimming change is for the better. The fluid swimming serves almost no purpose in the game, and actually made it harder for me to maneuver when swimming was required.

The fluid swimming is still present, but it is now activated when you use the electric aura attack, which consumes Magic Power. In my time with the game, this has never been a problem – because the fluid swimming is rarely required.

The last major change to the game that I’m going to mention is the inclusion of two fishing holes. Nintendo has made a point to make sure we’re aware that these fishing holes exist, but I’m not sure why. I’ve never really cared for fishing in Legend of Zelda games, and these new fishing holes have not done anything to improve the formula. Now, instead of catching one large fish for a reward, like in Ocarina of Time, I’m supposed to catch 20 different types of fish… because it’s fun? I’ll be spending more time in the fishing holes, but so far I have found no reason to dedicate significant time struggling with Zelda-style fishing.

No detail left untouched

This time, Link did not meet with a terrible fate.

Majora’s Mask 3D is everything Ocarina of Time 3D was not. It’s a carefully crafted remake of a video game I already respected; no detail has been left untouched. Nintendo has addressed every player complaint from the original Majora’s Mask – even the most minor. I cannot begin to write down all of the changes made to the game, but what I can say is that it is far, far more than I ever expected. This time, the developers went above and beyond and have crafted what I already consider the definitive version of Majora’s Mask. This time, Link did not meet with a terrible fate.

Joshua Lindquist
Joshua is the Guides Director of Zelda Universe, a long-time executive of Zelda Wiki, and former owner of Zelda Relic. His passion for The Legend of Zelda burns endlessly in his quest for increased collaboration in the community.
  • Thomas Andersen

    Great review!:) Even though I disagree with several things, I enjoyed reading it very much!

    I also hear people complain about the boss-fights.. Im not able to understand these complaints(that is, based on my own experience with MM) ..cause I feel that every single boss is Extremely easy, both challange wise and mechanical wise! Never struggled with Gyorg or as you put it here: “Chasing Goth around in circles, without making progress” …I just beat them down, like a breath of fresh air! Losing, at most 1-2hearts in the prossess!

    I was actually hoping, when they announced the “changes to be made to the bosses” that they where adj. the challange up 10notches.. since non of the fights(especially the fight vs Majora) is even close to challanging! ..but I guess I need to realize that Zelda is on the easy side of the scale, and stop complaining about the lack of challange..

    Its hard, hopefully Ill be able to not care for challange before Zelda for Wii U arrives!! Or I can keep hoping they take the fact that there are two audiences, very different audiences, that plays Zelda into consideration..! And that this will get them to create two challange modes from the from the get-go!:) *crossing my fingers*

    Even though I enjoy the review very much, as I mention at the beginning, I disagree with several changes you see as improvements! The Bombers Notebook isnt really a step in the right direction, when it comes to the “guiding”! I would have appreciated it a lot more, these changes, if they didnt remove the quest challanges by adding rumors and hints(guides) into it(not only in the Notebook)! Yes, it feels more alive, perhaps, I dont know.. but I almost feel Fi is back, in between the sheets of the notebook, telling me how dumb I am.. and that I wont be able to do anything, without it being pointed out to me! I would like to figure things out for my self.. not read about where to go and what to do in the Bombers Notebook! Thats not gaming, thats spectating in a sense, active interactive spectating, if that makes any sense what so ever?!:) For me the world feels more alive when I stumble upon things.. randomly find life here and there! Not when I read about these things in the Notebook!

    About the side quests not being easy to find? If one explores, I see it as “impossible” not to find all the side quest!(ok, a couple of side quests needed slight luck to be found, true) There is a very limited space to explore in! (I have never used a guide, I honestly see it as cheating) ..!:) No judgement.. But yes, thats another thing I dont understand, that people arent able to find the side quests! They are literally right there, to be found, as I said, in a very limited space!:) Its all about exploration and adventuring! If this is your approach, and it should be when playing Zelda, the quests will fall at your feet, quite nicely, the longer you get into the game! The Bombers notebook did have a function in the past as well, it did show you When things where accessable! You just had to figure out where for yourself! And That is Gaming the way it should be! Stripping the game for these elements deminishes the Adventure aspect of the game.. and thats not a good thing in my mind! One should allways create a game, for the ones that got the time and lust to play that game! Reducing the game because “people dont got time to play” is nonsens in its purest form, if you ask me!:)

    Everyone shouldnt be able to find everything! 100% completion should be possible, only for the ones that Truly works for it! 100% completion should be a Real Accomplishment! If “everyone” gets 100% in a game like Zelda, that tells the tale of a Game that dont set the bar all that high! But the thing is, not getting 100% shouldnt be seen as a bad things, its a sign of opportunity! A chance to let the game live on, even if you finished it! Perhaps, the next time you play the game, youll get even further.. you will find more things to do, and get more of the rewards present in the game! This is a good thing! Lowering the bar, so that Everyone should and/or could complete with 100% fulfilment.. is nothing but a bad thing, and deminishes the accomlishment down to the fact that 100% completion no longer will be just that; an accomplishment!

    Anyways, Ill return to my save file now.. my new and “improved” hard saved file!!:) And dont get me wrong, I absolutely Love this game!!:)

  • Richard Eastwood

    I just got my copy, and I love the remake so far, but at the same time I feel as though the game is making things a little too easy, which I do understand, but I find that it takes away from some of the fun. The original Majoras Mask is to this day my favourite game, and I do love the remake, it just doesn’t have the same feel to me. But I am over the top glad that the remake was made because it’s an awesome experience to play through again with the new graphics!

  • The Fanatic of Zelda

    Off-topic, and sorry for spamming it, but could somebody tell Jason that
    the new forum doesn’t send emails for password recovery or new
    accounts? I don’t have any other means to contact the staff about this.

  • carlosnombrefalso

    Well, this is my favourite game of all times, I started playing it when I was 11 years old and didn’t know any english at all, I was stuck for 3 months in clock town as deku link and really didn’t care, I enjoyed following the characters and see what they where up to. Imagine the joy I experienced when I was finally out and had all this space to explore, again I was stuck at snowhead for another 3 months or so but in the meantime I found a lot of sidequests and completed them without understanding what I had to do, just because I used my mind and abstract thinking/reasoning. One day a friend handed me a magazine that was also a guide to get all the masks, I regret having used it, it made the game shorter and at the end of the day it just didn’t feel as fun and rewarding as it would’ve been if I had found it all by myself. I’m getting the game next week and I really hope that the bomber’s notebook doesn’t tell me what to do by default, I really hope I can choose if I want or not an alarm and the sorts.