Nintendo has struck gold by rereleasing the N64 Classic, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask for their handheld. Fans and critics alike are justifiably impressed by the quality of the port, but how does this game measure up for gamers with fine-motor, auditory, and visual impairments?
To begin with, gamers with visual disabilities will be able to get most of the enjoyment out of this game. This is due to the preserved cartoon-y art style of Majora’s Mask, that makes all detail large and easy to see. While there is some color coding, I have yet to see an instance where it proves an impassable barrier. For example, different denominations of rupees, are different colors, but since as Zelda fans know, one can never have too many of the little gems. The one area in which players may encounter barriers is in navigating the inventory menus on the 3DS’s second screen. Even with the increased size of the New 3DSXL, it can be hard to distinguish between each of the items on the small display. But because each of these items and masks has a distinct look and effect, it is easy to determine what things are by what they look like when link actually uses them. Beyond this, at least side one quest relies on the ability to see color, but these are the only barriers that visually impaired gamers face, and they do not impede the general enjoyment of Majora’s Mask on 3DS.
The gamers that will struggle the most are those with fine-motor impairments. This is because they’re trying to play a Zelda game on a handheld. With it comes certain realities. There is no controller customization which can make things difficult when playing one of the game’s many magical melodies, as players will be required to use face buttons and the shoulder buttons in order to turn back time or travel to the nearest owl. Combine that with the well known Zelda barriers of timed puzzles, or puzzles requiring precise control and Majora’s Mask isn’t completely inaccessible, but it should be purchased only by players who have a clear understanding of their physical abilities. This title is not recommended for players who only have use of one hand.
Players with auditory disabilities will have no problem playing Majora’s Mask for the 3DS. Nintendo’s tried and true formula of using text to communicate character dialogue means that players will not even need to turn on subtitles, because all of the spoken dialogue is gibberish. Beyond this, nothing in this game relies on the ability to hear or distinguish between sounds, which means it is highly recommended for players with hearing problems.
On the whole, Majora’s Mask for the 3DS is an excellent game that represents a mixed bag for players with disabilities. Those with fine-motor disabilities should be aware that they will face challenges that are aggravated by their limitations, while those with visual and hearing disabilities will have mostly smooth sailing in and around clock town.