Metroid II: Return of Samus has been reimagined for Nintendo’s 3DS family of systems as Metroid: Samus Returns, and we played an hour or so last week.
Metroid: Samus Returns sees bounty hunter Samus Aran voyage to the Metroid’s home planet, SR388, and eliminate the alien threat before it can cause any more damage.
The game is being dubbed a ‘reimagining’ of the 1991 Game Boy title; it has a similar plot and moveset to the original, but with added abilities and 3D functionality. Honestly, even if you don’t normally play with the 3D enabled on your other games, it’s worth turning on for Samus Returns, if just for the opening comic. The 3D adds a depth (obviously) that you just don’t get with the GB, and really immerses you in the vast world of SR388.
If you didn’t play the original, Samus Returns is a 2D sidescrolling platformer, where you take on the role of Samus Aran and shoot anything that comes too close. It’s quite maze-like in its map layout, with some areas only becoming accessible once you’ve unlocked or gained access to a certain ability – e.g. the morph ball (which is still super fun).
The first thing you notice about Metroid: Samus Returns is that there is very little hand holding. You land on the mysterious planet and are simply let to wander free, nobody telling you where to go or, for that matter, how to get there. There are a couple of little tutorials on shooting and jumping, and the rest is up to you. While it initially feels daunting, it becomes rewarding when you manage to get past one area or conquer one boss without actually being told how to (after you die a few times, of course).
It’s not just a graphical upgrade on offer either; M:SR Samus has some new abilities as part of her arsenal. A new counter melee attack lets you parry enemies just as they attack and deal critical damage, and our heroine can also make use of new Aeion abilities that rely on charge; an example is a scanner that shows you breakable blocks in the environment that grant access to hidden pathways. You’d be best off not using this one too much as it takes a long time to recharge.
Visuals-wise, Metroid: Samus Returns looks fantastic. The 3D graphics don’t distract, they enhance, and the colours are as stunning as ever. Samus has never looked so good. Oh, and there are two new amiibos too – a new Samus and a Metroid.
The main takeaway from Metroid: Samus Returns is that it’s a hell of a lot of fun. While we only had a small taste of the game at our preview last week, from our time with it it’s certainly shaping up to be a true homage to the original Metroid sidescrollers, and will surely be a blast from the past for veteran fans.
Metroid: Samus Returns launches September 15 for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.