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Get the Most Underrated Metroid Game Ever Before the Nintendo eShop Closes

You cannot play this Metroid game elsewhere.

Metroid: Samus Returns

On March 27, 2023, the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops will close, making certain games inaccessible — a huge blow to game preservation. And while many of those titles are available physically, retail copies are now more expensive than their digital counterparts. One example is the fantastic Metroid: Samus Returns, a 3DS remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus for Game Boy. This game not only perfectly recreates the original 1991 classic, but it also adds a slew of new features that make it more approachable. Since the 3DS eShop will close so soon, we recommend buying this game right away, because the physical version will only become more expensive as time goes on. But what makes this game so special?

The Definitive Version

There’s little reason to go back to the Game Boy version of Metroid II: Return of Samus.


Metroid: Samus Returns sends the titular bounty hunter Samus to SR388, the Metroid’s home planet. Samus’ mission is to find out what happened to a group of Galactic Federation teams that disappeared on the planet while also destroying the Metroid species for good.

The original Metroid II: Return of Samus is good, but many aspects don’t hold up very well. It can feel a bit clunky by today’s standards and is obtuse in some ways. Its black-and-white color scheme is a bit grating on the eyes; Recall that it was originally released on the Game Boy. In many ways, Return of Samus had a rock-solid foundation that desperately needed a remake.

But that’s where Metroid: Samus Returns comes in, preserving the heart of the original while implementing a slew of changes.

First and foremost, the remake is absolutely stunning from a visual standpoint. It’s presented from a 2.5D perspective with gorgeous backgrounds and equally as impressive character designs. They’re much more menacing in the remake, giving more weight to each battle. The game feels moody, atmospheric, and isolating — just as it would if you actually visited a foreign planet in space.

In addition, Samus moves more smoothly and realistically, which makes the game harder to put down. Navigating the planet of SR388 never gets old thanks in part to the way it feels to control the main character.

Revamped Gameplay

Samus Returns is littered with improvements from the original.


While the improvements in Samus Returns are plentiful, two specific additions make it even more enjoyable.

The first, and probably most noteworthy, is the implementation of a 360-degree Free Aim Mode. This, in conjunction with the laser pointer, makes it easier to actually hit your shots, as enemies can (and will) come at you from any angle. It cannot be overstated just how much of a difference this makes. The original often felt difficult because you were simply fighting with the game’s control design, rather than expertly designed enemies. The remake features more sophisticated AI since Samus can aim more precisely.

Samus Returns also includes a satisfying parry mechanic that allows her to counter enemies that attack her up close. Doing so causes Samus to stand still, but if executed properly, causes enemies to drop healing items and become temporarily stunned. This parry mechanic isn’t just restricted to standard enemies. Bosses include them as well, rewarding players for learning the ins and outs of this new combat ability.

Metroid: Samus Returns is the precursor to the phenomenal Metroid Dread. Many of the 3DS game’s design decisions were reused in Dread, including the aforementioned parry system. While Dread certainly is superior in a lot of ways, Samus Returns is worth playing, as well, especially if you have an itch for more Metroid.

Remember to pick up a digital copy of Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3DS eShop before it closes on March 27, 2023.

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