Metroid fans, our heroine Samus Aran, is back to our future. Originally released in 1991 on the Nintendo Game Boy. The game is a redux of the original game Metroid II: The Return of Samus, and here you can enjoy the wonders of my Metroid Samus Returns review.

The original producer Yoshio Sakamoto is in charge of the redux and its developed by MercurySteam. The Metroid franchise is a popular scrolling, jumping and blasting platform action game. “Metroid: Samus Returns” brings new controls, new gameplay and spiced up coloured 3D graphics with a few changes to the story line.

Samus Aran our heroine bounty hunter must navigate a maze of planetary platform caverns to eradicate the Metroid Threat! Follow my review and find out how she gets on in her latest planetary extermination of aliens.

Review Side Quest

Have you played Metroid before on previous Nintendo consoles? What’s your favourite moments, tell us about your fun and frustrations

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How does it play?

Metroid is a solid platformer with exploring and shooting elements. You play our heroine / protagonist Samus, who’s a weapon toting galactic bounty hunter. She’s armed to the teeth with powered body up armour, arm blasters, lasers and missile weapons.

You progress through underground caverns on a mission to exterminate the Metroid parasitic Aliens before they destroy the planet of SR3888.

Metroid Samus Returns review image 1This sees Samus jumping, running and gunning her way across a platformed environment. Retro fans will at this stage note that the D-pad isn’t used for movement, in fact the thumb stick is dual use.

It’s used for moving Samus and with the combination of shoulder L and R buttons the targeting of weapon systems. This works well and with helpful tutorial prompts you quickly pick up the required button combinations to run and gun successfully.

A good challenge

The movement animations of Samus are truly enjoyable and a massive improvement from the 8bit era of character sprites. She gracefully jumps, rolls and runs with an almost cybernetic grace of a gymnast. The shooting mechanic allows precision firing of your weapons using a Terminator style laser pointer to direct your weapons of destruction. I enjoyed this functionality as I wasted less of my missiles.

The game is challenging from the onset, if you have played 80s platformers you will feel at home with this game. If not, fortunately save points are abundant in the game and you are not punished for your failures as much as in the previous Metroid games. There is also in game methods of utilising Amiibo’s to make the game easier! More on this later…

Getting nostalgic

Having played the Metroid game series before I was immediately hit with the nostalgia of the original games and the candy flavoured topping of the graphical redux of the more powerful 3DS handheld console.

However, if you’re not familiar with 80-90’s style platform games and the series of the game you may be asking yourself “Why should i play this game?” Well, stay tuned and I will tell you how this redux is an opportunity for fans of Metroid series and newcomers to enjoy Metroid: Samus Returns.

Presentation and Graphics

game name review silver gameplay
MGL Silver Presentation Award – Metroid Samus Returns is a massive graphical improvement on the original and feels just right as you explore.

The environment is rich with colour, detail and the parallax / asymmetric scrolling adds a depth that is improved with the 3D functionality. Metroid: Samus Returns has updated graphics that are way beyond the original mono colour 8-bit capability of the Game Boy.

I liked the upgrade, it improves the graphics and adds more detail. Samus, now as a movable character moves with fluidity and her animations are a joy to experience. She feels like she is actually in contact with the platforms; her body moves, jumps and grapples the edge of platform ledges in a realistic way.

The game graphically oozes detail and demands your attention, which most of the time will be focussed sadly elsewhere.

Metroid Samus Returns review image 2The soundtrack adds an eerie atmosphere to the game with the echoes of underground caverns, ticking clocks and the sounds of alien creatures. The sound effects link you to the game well and increase your feeling of involvement. Each jump, each splash into water, each recoil of weaponry and the subsequent blasting explosion sound realistic.

The lower touch screen of the 3DS/ 2DS incorporate the users interface and is used to open maps, add notations and manage your weapons and upgrades. The original game lacked a map, which this version includes and expands as you progress your way through the environment, a much welcomed feature.

The D-pad or stylus is used to navigate the screen which allows easy scrolling the maps and selection of menus and secondary screens. It is from here that Amiibo functionally can be accessed.

Main Features

game name review silver gameplay
MGL Silver Features Award – Metroid Samus Returns really features that classic adventure felling only this types of games provide.

The game feels remarkably faithful in its gameplay, controls and story of the original game. However, the major change is the graphical upgrade from 8bit graphics style and the support of the 3d functionality on the 3DS. Whilst its not essential, owners of the 2DS systems won’t miss out by not having 3d as the game play remains the same.

The game picks up right after the story completion of the original Metroid game. Samus Aran is back in action doing what she does best, extermination of alien species! The game has one mode of play, story mode in a single player campaign style. You have 3 save game slots allowing 3 independent game attempts.

The main elements of the game as discussed earlier are exploration, shooting and unlocking of your suit abilities. The platform layout often has areas that cannot be accessed whilst in suit form and require transforming into a ball to enter smaller spaces. The morph ball is very useful in this respect and there’s a vertical wall climbing ball unlock too.

All of this is delivered very well and the platforms can’t all be explored immediately requiring back tracking after unlocking new abilities. At this point in the review i have clocked up many hours of gameplay and the challenge to explore, destroy and upgrade is still strong.


There is one difficulty level of the game, however gamers new to Metroid will be glad to know that you can use Amiibo figures of Samus to unlock reserve tanks for her suit. These allow Samus to hold more suit and weapon ammo.

Metroid Samus Returns review image 3

For the purpose of this review I only had access to the Super Smash Brothers series Samus and Zero suit Samus amiibo. This is because the Metroid Series of Amiibo was not fully available.

This functionality makes the game easier and less punishing to play. Gamers new to the series may find an element of frustration with some of the level design. Hidden sections are needed to be found and sometimes the temptation to rush a section often results in untimely death of Samus.

As a platform game, Metroid: Samus Returns really shines as a playable experience. For purists who enjoyed the original title, the uplifted redux to the 3DS console may not be as attractive. But it solidly delivers as a Metroid game and as a exploration/shooting platform game.

Additional features

As discussed earlier the use of Amiibo figures to change the game difficulty level is a welcomed inclusion. There are secondary functions of the Amiibo to unlock gallery pictures whilst playing the game.

Rumours are rife that certain new Amiibo will unlock new story game modes after completing the game, but i couldn’t prove this in the review time period. There are often hidden areas and content in Metroid games and the original game had a few areas that you could access that were called hidden worlds.

Could these be in redux version? They might be, let us know in the comments at the end if you found anything whilst playing.

Should I play this?

Most people reading this review will fall into two categories: those who have played the original game and those who have never played a Metroid game before.

This redux is solid version of the original game that brings all the elements of Metroid to the 3DS. Purists may disagree (please add your comments at the end of the review!). For me it was a very enjoyable experience

For those new to Metroid, at some time in your life you must have played a platform style game. Metroid Samus Returns delivers this well and even if you’re intrigued by the hype surrounding it, I’m sure you will enjoy the experience.

Gamers who should…

Fans of the original Metroid series will enjoy this redux. If you enjoy a rewarding but challenging platform game you will enjoy this game. If you like puzzles and hidden content.

Gamers who probably shouldn’t…

Players who dislike platform style games should certainly avoid Metroid. If you sometimes struggle with exploration games with platform puzzles and get frustrated, you may look to avoid.

Similar games…

Obviously the original Metroid games on older Nintendo platforms. On the 3DS you may have played other platform games such SteamWorld Dig and Heist, both of these games delve deeply into this genre. If you’re comfortable with the difficulty level of the Shovel Knight series, you will be at home with this game!

The Good The Bad The Bugs
Platforming Frustrating at times Nothing significant during review
Controls Difficulty level
Well done remake Lack of D-Pad movement

About This Metroid Samus Returns Review

Game Reviewed: Metroid Samus Returns, digital edition provided by publisher.
Review Format: 3DS
PEGI Rating: 7

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