Release Date: September 15th, 2017
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: MercurySteam, Nintendo EPD
Genre: Action-adventure
ESRB Rating: E10
MSRP: $ 49.99

Beware Space Pirates. Beware Metroids. Samus Aran is back and she is locked & loaded.

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A remake or reimagining if you will of ‘Metroid II: Return of Samus’ made for the Gameboy in 1991, ‘Metroid: Samus Returns’ successfully brings the series back to its roots.

Although the actual storyline could fit on that SD Card in your Nintendo 3DS, Return’s smooth, demanding gameplay and sharp graphics (especially in 3D mode) make up for that.

Story? Who needs a story anyway when you can transform into a ball and blow crap up?

Decked out in her battle armor, Samus is sent to the planet SR388 to exterminate the Metroids, a race of mutating parasitic alien organisms.

Through the winding underground tunnels, caves and portals, Samus discovers shrines which enhance her weapons or provide her with new ones. Samus doesn’t start with the Morphing Ball, the Long Beam, etc. These have to be found at shrines throughout the Metroid labyrinth. Because of this, some areas may be discoverable but not accessible until you have the proper weapons, accessories. Therefore, there is a lot of backtracking in this game.

There are also gigantic statues on each level which must be filled with Metroid DNA before you can move on to the next section and also to gain helpful hints. There is nothing to explain any of this though and that is part of the fun with ‘Returns’  it doesn’t spell out everything for you. It allows you to organically learn things on your own.

In ‘Return’ Samus does have some new abilities in her arsenal. Firstly, because of the analog stick, she can fire in any direction which adds a whole new dimension of strategy to the platformer.

Secondly, Samus has a new defensive move which allows her to block an incoming attack and in the same motion stun the foe making them easy pickings for some swift damage. It takes some patience to get the timing right but once you do, some of those alien baddies won’t seem so bad anymore.

Thirdly, Samus can use a rechargeable energy pulse which can light up the map around her and reveal hidden passageways or pathways, hidden doors and hidden bricks or blocks which can be destroyed. The pulse doesn’t always solve the various directional puzzles but it does come in handy time and time again.

Some other enhancements include the ability to slow time and absorb damage.

Despite all of these upgrades to the gameplay, you cannot just charge ahead hoping to just mow down your extra-terrestrial enemies. If you do, you will be a distant memory in seconds. Prowling around the inside of the planet, you must move carefully to precisely target the Metroids.

Although it is no Metroid Prime Hunters, which still ranks as one of the very best Nintendo DS games ever made, ‘Metroid: Samus Returns’ is the prime example of how to reintroduce a game by not just giving it a new coat of paint but actually altering the gameplay and introducing new elements that advance and enhance the original game. ‘Metroid: Samus Returns’ is a must-have for any Samus fan and anyone who owns a 3DS.

New Game-Changing Abilities
Great Atmospheric Music
Takes full advantage of 3D mode
Keeps what is best about the core Metroid experience
The story is as weak as Bruce Banner

Review Summary

A reboot that successfully brings the series back to its roots. Samus has never looked or played so good.”