Written By: Mitchell Booth
Reviewed on: Nintendo 3DS
Available on: Nintendo 3DS
Metroid: Samus Returns is a re-imagining of Metroid 2: The Return Of Samus which originally launched on the Game boy back in 1991. It has now been updated in every form from sound and graphics to modern quality of life features. While early boss fights can be repetitive, the game itself is a joy to play.
Your goal is very simple, destroy all the Metroids found on SR388 so they no longer pose a threat to the galaxy. The Metroids are the weakest part of the game as they are also the primary bosses. They instantly become less and less exciting as all earlier encounters are the basic Metroid, however you eventually encounter further evolved forms which gain an additional ground phase or a fire spitting ability. You can also encounter some Metroids that retreat when weakened, requiring you to find them again which pauses the battle. Late game bosses are easily the most exciting fights as they have unique mechanics that require more precision, timing and skill to overcome.
The game is split into various sections that often require you to find and eliminate Metroids as you explore this world discovering upgrades along the way. Later areas are unlocked via ancient discs that allow you to descend deeper into the planet. As you explore you will be alerted to the presence of Metroids, however if you can’t find one you can return to the ancient disc and it will place a marker on the map of where a Metroid is hiding.
Samus’s usual suspects return with her charge beam, morph ball and missiles. You also now have full 360 degree aiming as you hold the left bumper, which feels accurate with the circle pad. New features make proceedings feel like a modern game with a few new mechanics such as a parry system and aeon abilities. Parrying is a worthy addition to the game. Most enemies indicate when you can parry by glowing white for a split-second so, when timed right, common enemies are usually defeated in a single shot. Likewise bosses take critical damage as you enter a short dramatic melee with the enemy Metroid.
Aeon abilities are discovered as you play through the game, initially you unlock a scanner which reveals an area in a small radius around you. It can indicate where an item will be but not what, while also indicating save points, teleporters or health and ammo refills. To use these abilities you use up an aeon meter which, like missiles, can be expanded upon. These all have various uses and never feel over-powered or game breaking as you expand the aeon meter.
Metroid: Samus Returns, like most Nintendo games, has a good art style that looks great on the small screen. The 3ds second screen suits Metroid as the map is given the entire screen providing a bigger view of the map around you. Sound design is spot on as you shoot and explore this planet full of mystery backed by a music suite that perfectly enforces this feeling.
Metroid: Samus Returns isn’t necessarily difficult as it is very generous with checkpoints. The difficulty comes with how much you explore, how well you can parry and what you are up against. If you hardly explore, it will obviously be more difficult. Difficulty options do exist such as hard mode which can be unlocked after finishing normal. There is also Fusion mode which features Samus in the fusion suit from Metroid: Fusion that adds another layer of difficulty. However the problem here is it’s locked behind the new Metroid Amiibo which is a mistake not only for hiding the difficulty behind a paywall, but then for making the paywall hard to find.
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a proper Metroid game that follows what the series was known for, a boss filled alien land to adapt and explore as the bounty hunter Samus Aran. Metroid: Samus Returns feels like a modern game, with most of the additions improving upon the game rather than detracting from it. The combat is fun and the exploration is rewarding. Though the earlier bosses are repetitive, the later fights are difficult and exciting with the end leaving you waiting for Samus’s next adventure. MercurySteam’s Metroid: Samus Returns is a title that is exactly what fans have wanted: a return to its roots almost reaching its prime.
8 out of 10 “Excellent”
Credits: Screenshots from Nintendoeverything.com