3DS Review: Metroid: Samus Returns

The classic Game Boy game gets a full remake…

After so many years not hearing about a true Metroid game (Federation Force was a spin-off) I never thought we’d get an E3 where we get announcements of not one, but two Metroid games! Metroid Prime 4 is in development and last week saw the release of Metroid: Samus Returns, which is a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus for the original Game Boy.

The 3DS remake starts off with a retelling of the original Metroid game before announcing that Samus Aran is to head for the Metroid home-world SR388 to wipe out the Metroids once and for all. As with the original game, there are a number of Metroids to locate and destroy throughout the planet. This remake is a little different though, it even gives Samus a new counter-attack move which is very handy against the onslaught of enemies you’ll face.

Samus also gets a new scanning tool that fills in the map on the lower screen with the lay of the land, as well as where upgrades are hiding and if there are any hidden blocks that can be destroyed to access hidden areas. She also gets a shield she can use to absorb damage for a short period and you’ll get plenty of other upgrades as you progress through the deep caverns of SR388.

There is Amiibo functionality as well for specific Metroid figures, but I was unable to test these out personally…but they do give certain bonuses like extra difficulty levels with the suit from Metroid Fusion, bonus energy/missile tanks, scanning for Metroids, as well as a OST and art galleries. It’s a shame that these goodies are locked behind Amiibos, especially with how hard it is to get them, let alone the additional cost if you are forced to go to scalpers for them. This issue aside however, shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the bulk of the experience in the main game without using them.

The visual upgrade from Metroid II to Samus Returns is nothing short of amazing. Gone are the black-and-white pixels, replaced with great 3D models and nods to Metroid Prime through it’s visual style, plus sound effects and even some areas have music nicely borrowed from Prime. It also runs at a steady framerate and actually has 3D support, something that has been somewhat absent of the first-party 3DS games lately.

The Verdict

Metroid: Samus Returns is an amazing remake of a classic entry in the Metroid series. It feels fresh and even though a few items are locked without access to Amiibos, the bulk of the game is still accessible and great fun. This will more than keep me occupied during that long, long wait for Metroid Prime 4…

Score: 9.0