Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hyrule Warriors: Majora's Mask Pack (Review)

Tingle floating with a balloon, blowing up Bokoblins

This review was originally published on ZeldaChronicles (formerly known as ZeldaEurope) and got translated for this blog in 2022 by the same author.

The Majora's Mask Pack for Hyrule Warriors was released on Thursday, where this should be the last larger pack with new characters and weapons, as well as a new Adventure Map – Tingle, Young Link, and the Termina Map.

The Hero of Hyrule Pack isn't concluded as of yet, however, where at the end of February we will get one last DLC pack with two new game modes. So, stay tuned. As always, this review is for owners of the main game, who are already familiar with its contents.

Fostering Weapons – Version 1.5

Let's first take a look at the free update that comes with the DLC. Similar to version 1.4, the level cap was raised once more and there are new mixtures in the Apothecary. This goes hand in hand this time, where you can use the new "XP Excelerator" mixture to get your characters to level 200 more quickly, where this isn't as cumbersome as before. In fact, it's about twice as fast.

Still, you may be sick of leveling by now and Hyrule Warriors truly turned into a grind fest thanks to its updates and DLCs. Leveling beyond 100 is just very slow or very expensive, which makes you rely on a couple of Challenge Battles types that give lots of experience points, like "Rack up your KO count!" and "Put an end to the enemy's divisive plan!". Repeating the same missions over and over is naturally very repetitive and boring, but at the same time it's necessary to make real progress on the new Adventure Maps. You just don't get enough EXP from playing normally, despite going through rather difficult battles, where the whole difficulty system is simply flawed.

Tingle going from level 4 to 200 in the Training Dojo, which costs over 18 million Rupees.

Plus, level 200 probably won't be the end of it. The three DLC characters in the Hero of Hyrule Pack don't have all 45 Heart Containers on level 200 yet, which probably means that it will be raised to 250 with the last update (or maybe even 255 as a small reference to the maximum of Rupees in The Legend of Zelda).

Well, your weapons now only contribute to a third of your attack value due to the increased levels. As a compensation there are new sealed weapon skills to find, which take 4000 K.O.s to unlock. Those "Augmentation" abilities are quite powerful and therefore really worth the trouble. For example, "Hasty Attacks" increases the speed of your attacks to Focus Spirit levels, which feels like a must-have for most characters. And unlike the Special skills, which took 3000 K.O.s, the Augmentation skills don't come with major drawbacks. Also, you can actually have two of them on your weapon instead of just one.

If you're already finished with building some optimized weapons, then don't fret, because the Smithy finally received the long-awaited feature to remove skills from weapons. Before the update it was plain luck to find a weapon with only skills that you wanted, but now you can make your own way to finally build that perfect weapon. This comes at a price, however, where removing one skill costs the ridiculous amount of 300,000 Rupees, which in the end cripples this new feature unnecessarily. Even the new "Rupee Festival" mixture doesn't really help much with that.

It's also quite costly to appraise skills, which lets you take a sneak peak at what ability awaits underneath a seal. With this you'll know upfront whether grinding a seal is worth it or not, but this costs you ten Rupees per remaining K.O. – which can get expensive very quickly. For this amount of money it should directly break the seal, but instead it just shows you the ability and leaves you to go through all those K.O.s, should you happen to like the skill. But generally it costs a lot more to appraise a weapon than what you would get from selling it.

Apropos, you now can sell weapons at any time at the Smithy. Previously, this was only possible after a battle whenever you collected more than ten weapons for a weapon type. Now, you can freely sell whatever you please at any time, which certainly was an often requested feature.

Another wanted addition is the "Materials Master" mixture, which increases the likelihood of getting rare materials and noticeably so. For example, should you put an end to Dark Fi's "divisive plan" on the Twilight Map, then you will get a whole stack of Fi's Crystals, while before this was limited to one. This may came too late for some, but it's certainly useful for everyone who still has open badges.

Adventure Mode also got improved a tad when it comes to scoring A-ranks. You will now see how much damage you've taken so far in the pause menu, so that you always know if you're still within limits or not. And should you have taken too much damage, then there's finally an option to restart the battle. In the past you either had to fail the mission or go back to the map, where things are now much more convenient.

However, with all these improvements also came a new problem: since version 1.5.0 the loading times have tripled. It's not clear why this happens, but you will instantly miss the quick loading times from the previous versions. Hopefully, there will be a version 1.5.1 to fix this as soon as possible.

The Preorder Trap

Hyrule Warriors originally focused on a total of four Zelda games: The Legend of Zelda (NES), Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. Despite being a good fit visually, Majora's Mask only got some loose references, like the moon that can be smashed on your enemies, where this left quite the gap in the line-up. Naturally, the announcement of the Majora's Mask Pack gave hope that this gap will finally be closed.

And while there are two new characters, some costumes, and a new Adventure Map all about Majora's Mask in the DLC, this is not full-featured extension. There are no new stages, scenarios, or enemies (save for Captain Keeta) to enrich the game. And the only new music is for the 8-Bit Termina Map.

Of course this was the same with the previous DLC packs, where it feels like only half of the development team remained to work on the Hero of Hyrule Pack for some half-hearted efforts. Especially playing the 14 battlefields over and over again got very old, where it would have been perfect to now add Clocktown and Termina Field as a stage for some more variety.

Young Link smashing some Stalchilds with his Kokiri Sword

The selection of new characters won't also be for everyone, especially Tingle, who is so unpopular that after The Minish Cap he only appeared in the form of figurines and posters. Well, he got his own series of games in Japan, where he was a little more popular. One of those games, Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, even made it to Europe. But his time in the Zelda series was over...

Still, there was no doubt that Tingle would make it into Hyrule Warriors eventually. He's the side character with most appearances and Koei Tecmo has already worked on him during the development of the game. He was just put aside, following Aonuma's advice. So, it was only a matter of time, but the fact that he got into the Majora's Mask Pack instead of one of the major characters from that game, like the Happy Mask Salesman or Skull Kid, won't be to everyone's liking.

Majora's Mask offers a large variety of potential characters and they had to start somewhere... The issue is more or less that Nintendo and Koei Tecmo kept the DLC line-up a secret for all this time. Of course it's more fun that way, because you speculate and look forward to the reveals as a surprise. But surprises can be bad, especially if they contain Tingle. Most Zelda fans certainly had their own expectations about the two new characters in the Majora's Mask Pack, maybe they even had pre-ordered the DLC in good faith and excitement. And now there's the disappointment.

Should Nintendo hold on to the DLC pass model of Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8, where you can preorder multiple packs, then they will need to be more transparent about the contents. If Nintendo had announced Tingle right from the start, then fans wouldn't be disappointed right now after months of speculation. Of course some might not have preordered at all then, but it's better than selling a black box filled with hopes.

At least this time it's not too bad that the new characters aren't required in Adventure Mode. With the Twilight Princess Pack it was a shame that Twili Midna didn't get anything to do on the Twilight Map, where she simply gets her additional Heart Containers from leveling up alone. But if you don't want to play as Tingle, then this will actually be a good thing, because you can just completely ignore the character. And Young Link feels quite special in his own way, which leads us to the next topic...

Link, Big and Small

After downloading the Majora's Mask Pack, Young Link will smile at you from the character select screen, where secretly this is actually Fierce Deity Link as a playable character. Playing as the Fierce Deity once more was probably on the wish list of many Zelda fans, where this wish finally got granted. And by using the young Link as the middleman, Koei Tecmo hits two birds with one stone.

While Young Link is the actual character, the Fierce Deity Mask is his weapon, where the transformation is similar to Ghirahim's dark form, so Young Link turns into Fierce Deity Link during Focus Spirit. But unlike all other characters, this actually changes his attacks, where as Fierce Deity he shoots mighty sword beams with every blow, which cannot be blocked.

Fierce Deity Link about to split the moon in half with his double helix sword

This is even mightier than the Master Sword, but gets limited by magic, which is basically the same as in Majora's Mask, where the sword beams were tied to your magic meter as well. This way Koei Tecmo managed to bring the Fierce Deity transformation into the game without weakening it. You get the same overpowered feeling as in the original, but at the same time it's not a character who breaks all boundaries. Young Link keeps its somewhat balanced and this is really a nice solution.

To make things more interesting, Young Link can turn his Special Meter into magic via the strong attack, where he plays the Ocarina of Time. This mechanic allows you to use Focus Spirit more often and theoretically even stay in Focus Spirit forever, as long as you keep defeating enemies. But for example the "Rack up your KO count!" Challenge Battles basically let you play as Fierce Deity Link for the entirety of the match. And in general it's fun to try to get into Fierce Deity mode as often as possible, which makes this moveset so exciting.

The Fierce Deity transformation also gets activated for finishing blows and Special Attacks, by the way, so you don't just get to see it during Focus Spirit. And Young Link offers a nice contrast for showing off the power of the Fierce Deity. He is without a doubt the most adorable being in the entire game, even though his voice sounds a little bit strange and different from the original. But it's just funny how clumsily he wields this oversized Kokiri sword, which makes it so much more impressive whenever he turns into Fierce Deity with a scary animation.

There is one point of criticism, however, and that's the size of Fierce Deity Link himself, which is the exact same as the normal Link. But Fierce Deity Link in Majora's Mask was much larger, which Koei Tecmo didn't take into consideration. Since Young Link is so small you won't notice this at first, but it's completely obvious once you stand next to the other characters. And it probably would have been a better fit to give Young Link the Great Fairy's Sword, instead of turning the Kokiri Sword into some two-handed weapon.

Tingle, Tingle, Kooloo-Limpah!

Whether you like Tingle or not, Koei Tecmo did a fantastic job to put the character into action. His combat style is delightfully absurd, just how it should be with Tingle. It already starts with him running around, where one every step he wiggles with his butt, makes funny noises, and leaves a trail of confetti. And his quotes are very fitting for the character, where even Tingle haters may have to chuckle a little bit.

His weapon is the Balloon, which he likes to pop and where all three tiers are based on the different Tingle spin-off games for the Nintendo DS. There is one for Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, and one for Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, while the default is just the red one, like in Tingle's Balloon Fight and in the Zelda games.

The attacks are filled with different references as well. Tingle primarily attacks with bombs, which he could also dropped on your enemies in The Wind Waker via the Tingle Tuner. The golden Tingle statue is there as well for one of the combo attacks, but he also hits enemies with a map or a bag full of Rupees. And there's lots of confetti... If Tingle also had color costumes for his four brothers, this would cover everything important.

Tingle being a boss with his golden statue

Gameplay-wise, Tingle is quite airy-fairy, meaning that he's floating in the air for a majority of his attacks. As a special mechanic he has quick escape function, which can be activated via the strong attack. If you then dodge, Tingle will fly away with his balloon and blow some enemies out of the way. The quick escape can also be used to extend his combo attacks, which lets in him beat up enemies in the air.

It takes some getting used to, especially when you want to use the dodge button to run, but which cancels the quick escape for Tingle. Similar to Agitha, Tingle is a character where you need to practice for a bit to truly use him effectively.

Visually, he isn't the best fit for the game, however, primarily because he doesn't have the same realistic proportions as the other human characters. Instead you will have a small and misshapen goof in front of you. But he isn't the only odd character from the Zelda series, where he may be the first step to more curious additions in a future sequel.

Termina Map – 72 Hours Remain

Adventure Mode is without a doubt the core part of Hyrule Warriors, where you can invest hundreds of hours into the different maps. If you can't get enough of that, then the Majora's Mask Pack has the Termina Map to offer, as a nice finish for this time-consuming game mode.

The charming 8-bit version of Termina sets itself apart from the previous maps with a special game mechanic: the moon is about to crash on the map, which will cover all squares again. This gets demonstrated right away, because when you first start on the map there are only three hours left on the clock. One hour passes by with each battle, which means you won't get far before the moon resets everything. Afterwards you'll have the familiar 72 hours to go into battles.

screenshot of the start of the Termina Map with only three hours left

This may sound annoying at first, but it works incredibly well and adds more structure to the Adventure Mode, where you will have to be a lot more goal-oriented and efficient than usual. You will have to plan what missions to play next and what Item Cards you should get to make the most out of your time.

For the first time this also comes with a clear course and goals. The places of the four temples in Majora's Mask have the typical dungeon battles, where you need to find a Boss Key and defeat a giant boss at the end. Before now these were simply some references to the original dungeons, but here you'll get the four Giants as Item Cards, which will give you access to the moon. And if you win the final battle, the countdown will be removed and you can freely clear the rest of the Termina Map without a time limit.

With some planning and the "Inverted Song of Time" Item Card, which adds ten hours to your clock, it's perfectly doable to reach this goal without the moon ever crashing a second time. And even if the catastrophe happens before that, you still get to keep your Item Cards and you will also have access to Owl Statues, which you can use as new entry points. Uncovering any previously conquered squares will also only take a C-rank. And of course you also get to keep any of the already achieved ranks and the acquired rewards, like Pieces of Hearts and costumes. So, it's really not as bad as it might sound at first.

Concerning the difficulty, however, things can still get bad. Especially the missions around the borders are hard, where you will need to bring some of your characters to level 200 first and make use of the new weapon skills, because the enemies can be quite tough, aggressive, and damaging. But leveling really helps and the damage values don't get multiplied, like they did on the Twilight Map, so things never get as ferocious as they were there. Some missions can still be very difficult, but it's certainly more doable than before.

8-Bit Termina

The 8-bit design of the Termina Map is quite nice and offers a catchy remix of the Clocktown music, as well as some new Item Cards in the form of masks. The Deku Masks for example works like the Hookshot on other maps and lets you fly over gaps in a charming 8-bit animation.

Curiously, the Mask of Truth isn't used on Gossip Stones, as you would expect, but doubles your defenses for three minutes, which doesn't help that much and also doesn't make any sense for this particular mask at all. It would have been better if there were a potion mixture to do this job, so that you can also use it on the other maps (especially on the Twilight Map). There is also Majora's Mask for a similar effect, which fills your magic and special gauges. Those are interesting ideas, but really should have been implemented as additional mixtures in the Apothecary.

While the Hyrule of the Twilight Map got weirdly turned, everything is where it should be in 8-bit Termina. There is the clock tower at the center and from there you can proceed in all cardinal directions, where it all stays much closer to the original than it was the case with the Twilight Map. The river from Ikana Canyon even ends up in the Southern Swamp, as an attention to detail.

The usual zones with different difficulties also fit into the progression of Majora's Mask quite well. The easiest battles are found around Clocktown and the Southern Swamp, while the more difficult battles are at Ikana to the east and on the moon. It even makes sense to follow that course, though the map sometimes puts some obstacles in your way, where you need some Item Cards that you don't have yet. But this creates something much more closer to your usual Zelda game, where you first need to get the Goron and Zora Masks to truly proceed. And that's quite interesting.

What the Termina Map doesn't have is actual battlefields in Termina. With the DLC it would have been great to get Clocktown or Woodfall as new stages, but it only made use of the 14 existing battlefields once more, where Hyrule Castle is used to represent Clocktown and so on... It's super disappointing.



At least there are some new mission types, where on the Termina Map there is one thing at the forefront: competing with other troops in different events. There are KO competitions, Rupee competitions, and even keep-capturing competitions. It shows you the current score on the HUD and you will either have to reach a certain score first or have more points than your opponent when the time runs out, similar to multiplayer shooters.

Sieg, 45348 to 20 for Fi against Dark Wizzro

Actually, this would have been perfect for a real multiplayer versus mode, but even against the CPU these missions can be fun and offer some much needed breath of fresh air. The Rupee competitions are even a good way of collecting lots or Rupees in order to pay for the horrendous prices at the Smithy.

It's just too bad that these competitions don't stay exactly fair. Especially in the higher levels of these Challenge Battles giant bosses will spawn to get in your way (which always was annoying in Adventure Mode), while your opponents keep getting buffs, so that you can only shake your head and get some unfair advantages yourself, like the Item Power Up mixture.

Costumes & Extras

Like on the Twilight Map, there are four Pieces of Heart, one Heart Container, and one new costume for every character (who isn't paid DLC) to find on the Termina Map. Though, "costume" may seem like the wrong term, because this time you will get masks for the characters to wear.

Sheik wearing Kafei's mask

While this is a fun idea, the implementation isn't exactly great, because they've simply put the masks onto the standard outfit of the respective character. You can't even use the masks in combination with the recolor costumes, which seems like a missed opportunity. In a sequel it would be nice to have something like "hats" as accessories that you can combine with any costume. That would have already made sense for Cia, who has three variants for each of her standard outfits, one without her mask and one without the hat.

Link is the only character who didn't get a simple mask, but a complete costume of the Fierce Deity, which you can unlock on the Termina Map. Well, it basically just reuses the model of the actual Fierce Deity from Young Link's moveset, but it's certainly one of the better costumes for Link and a worthwhile reward on the Termina Map.

Otherwise there are three full costumes in the Majora's Mask Pack, which are available directly after download. Two of those are the Ocarina of Time variants of Impa and Sheik, analogous to the same costumes for Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, which can be purchased in the eShop for 99 cents. The new ones aren't all that spectacular, but they are nice-to-have in any case. They are well made and without them the selection of costumes would have felt incomplete.

Skull Kid Lana touching the Great Deku Tree

Then there's the Skull Kid costume for Lana, which has stirred up some different reactions. If you're not really a fan of Lana and also wanted the Skull Kid as a playable character, then this will feel like a double slap in the face. But if you like funny costumes, like the Postman and Ilia from the previous DLC pack, then this one will be pretty nice and offer a good fit for Lana's "spear" moveset, which is all about Dekus and Kokiris.

In addition, there are six new 8-bit weapons, which finally completes the collection. With the exception of the Master Sword, all original weapon types now got an 8-bit variant, where the Great Forest Fairy and the 8-Bit Compass are quite elaborate despite the voxel style. But if you didn't like the 8-bit weapons before, then these won't make a difference.

8-Bit Great Forest Fairy appearing before Link with an 8-Bit Wooden Sword

20 new Gold Skulltulas got added as well, which brings us to a total of 160. This completes the Rewards Map with a curious Adventure Battle based on Majora's Mask, even when there are no actual battlefields or characters from the game present. Lana in her newest costume serves as the Skull Kid, while four gigantic Bokoblins act as the giants. And the Sealed Grounds are supposed to be Clocktown... It's one final reminder of how much better the DLC could have been overall.


The Majora's Mask Pack offers one of the most interesting movesets in the entire game with Young Link, but also one of the quirkiest with Tingle. The Termina Map takes an interesting approach with a much more goal-oriented progression, but overall offers just more of the same, where the DLC is truly lacking additional stages, first and foremost.

The Good:
  • Goal-oriented Termina Map
  • Fun competition battles
  • Fierce Deity Link for the win!
  • Some good costumes
The Bad:
  • No new battlefields / stages
  • Tingle is eh...
  • Masks can only be used with the default costumes
  • New features in the Smithy are too expensive
  • Long loading times since the last update

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