Metroid: Samus Returns Nintendo 3DS Review

Get ready to return to an absolute classic game from a series that has become the staple for many Nintendo fans today, that is Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS.  Prepare to explore a host of tunnels and caves, dead ends and enemies galore with Metroid: Samus Returns.


Metroid: Samus Returns is a reimagining of the 1991 Game boy game Metroid 2: Return of Samus and follows the story of Samus Aran who has been sent by the Galactic Federation to exterminate the parasitic Metroids on their home planet SR388.  I must say the remake of Metroid 2 on the new 3DS range of consoles was extremely welcomed by fans alike, especially given previous Metroid titles haven’t quite cut the mustard for fans of the series.  Returning to a 2D side scrolling adventure and adding the 3D depth element has been a fantastic choice by developers and has breathed life into Metroid games of the past.


Metroid: Samus Returns doesn’t alter the classic formula much at all which is great news for fans of the series.  In Metroid: Samus Returns you explore a subterranean cavern with an extensive network of tunnels and pathways to explore.  Many areas appear locked or inaccessible at first, however as Samus learns new abilities you are able to find ways to enter smaller passages, blow up obstacles that block your way forward.  All the traversing through tunnels and pathways sometimes ends up in a complete dead end, whilst other times it can be extremely rewarding as you unlock new weapon upgrades and collect various treasure items. These upgrades for example can allow you to open certain special doors and roll up ceilings.


In terms of the gameplay and control mechanics, Metroid: Samus Returns feels solid.  The controls are well laid out and it is easy to navigate through your weapons.  I did struggle at times with the use of the Left Trigger in order to aim my laser beam but with practice I did improve.  At times I found myself having to remain static whilst trying to aim at enemies which felt a little awkward.  However as I progressed through the game I began to unlock more powerful weapons which allowed me to mow through my enemies without the need to stop and aim so to speak.  Samus has also been given a new powerful melee counter attack which can deal impressive amounts of damage onto her enemies as well. Timing the counter with the press of the X button is key and will allow Samus to stun the enemy and destroy it with ease. Samus also has a new range of powers knows as Aeion abilities.  One of these I enjoyed using was the Scan pulse which scans the entire surrounding area in search of hidden pathways and items which was a fantastic addition.


In terms of the enemies, most felt rather repetitive however you do need to kill some 40 Metroid mini bosses to continue to unlock new areas.  However as the bosses do get bigger they also change up their fighting style and attacks causing you to rethink how you approach each fight.  Several times I did find myself dying rather quickly as I struggled with the use of the shoulder buttons on the 3DS given my rather large hands, but for some this may be fine.

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One of the new exciting features is the use of the Amiibo functionality.  The various Amiibo will unlock the Aeion Reserve Tank, as well as identify the location of any Metroid nearby on your map.  They can also replenish your missile supply should you run out.  Each Amiibo will also unlock various concept artwork as well which is nice for fans of the series and most importantly the Metroid Amiibo will unlock Fusion mode, which is the hardest difficulty mode in the game.

Graphics & Sound

Visually Metroid: Samus Returns looked great on the New Nintendo 3DS XL and the 3D features bring that level of depth that simply must be seen to be believed.  The 3D capabilities show off the characters more so than their 2D counterparts, but the lush backgrounds stand out thanks to the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS.  I would almost say that you will have a lesser experience if you are not enjoying this in 3D personally, so if you have the 3D slider be sure to use it here.  The detail on the environments and enemies is also great and you can really spot the attention to detail with Metroid: Samus Returns and its definitely been reworked to a great standard.  The only downfall is I found the menu screens a little flat and boring in terms of their use of colour, but I am really just nit-picking here.



Metroid: Samus Returns is more than just a remake with a fresh coat of paint.  Tremendous effort has been put into Metroid: Samus Returns and has been reimagined for today’s audiences.  Aside from a little repetition with enemies and some cramped controls, it’s all but perfect and is an absolute must have for the Nintendo 3DS.


Written by

Paul Barbara

I've been an avid gamer since I was 5 and owned almost all systems possible in that time. I love podcasting, having produced over 280 episodes over the last 7 years and I get a real buzz out of discussing all this gaming news with other gamers. So tune in!

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