Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

Metroid Dread

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Challenging sci-fi adventure balances action, suspense.

Game Nintendo Switch 2021
Metroid Dread Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 14+

Dread is the name of the game (literally)

This is a masterpiece, and one of the best games I've ever played. It's brutally difficult at times, but in a way that never feels heavy-handed or unfair. The controls are intricate but tightly designed, and the game is structured in such a way that it really teaches you how to play it effectively. If you reach a game over screen and need to restart, the checkpoints are close enough together that you never feel you've lost a ton of progress. The difficulty curve is steady without too many harsh spikes. There's no gore or sexual content, but I do think the game could be more disturbing to young players than it initially appears. The premise is dark, as we see the protagonist Samus Aran stranded on an alien planet full of hazards. Creature designs are relatively tame and none are too spooky save for the E.M.M.I., the unsettlingly agile robots that have been programmed to hunt and kill you. The way the E.M.M.I contort their vaguely humanoid bodies to scale walls and climb obstacles can be upsetting to watch. If you're caught, the kill screens are genuinely distressing, showing a tight angle of Samus being restrained by the robot and then brutally impaled through the neck. No blood or excessive sound effects are present, but the shot is claustrophobic and doesn't leave much to the imagination. All in all, this is a well-crafted and exciting game that is tricky to pick up but so satisfying to master. The ESRB rating feels spot-on, as I think anyone in their teens or older will appreciate the moody environments and the oppressive atmosphere.
age 9+

This game is great

Metroid Dread is really fun, but it can get quite difficult, which can be frustrating. Parents should know that the game has fast paced fights that can get very intense. And The E.M.M.I. Bots that patrol certain areas can be quite frightening.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (15 ):

This game mixes fast-paced action and suspenseful chase sequences into an incredibly engaging tale, but its challenge will keep players on the edge of their seat. Like previous games in the franchise, Metroid Dread takes Samus Aran to a new planet where she faces a new and extremely dangerous threat. It holds onto the classic formula of the series, with Samus needing to explore the world to get new abilities. As a result, you'll frequently backtrack through areas once you've gotten a skill, gaining access to new areas that you were previously walled off from. This places a different spin on the area of the world you're in, because the map tends to change based on the actions you perform to get these items -- for instance, changing the flow of lava that opens some doors and blocks off others, forcing you to take a longer path through some sections. But Dread cranks up the intensity by placing the virtually indestructible E.M.M.I. robots in the game to actively hunt you down in each location. Their inclusion basically turns these sections of the game into a horror movie, with a killer that's relentlessly chasing you down until it catches you or you escape. The only way to survive is to find and acquire powerful energy sources that let you supercharge your arm cannon so that it can melt their protective armor -- and then fire off a charged shot, or run as quickly as you can. These sequences, especially with cutscenes detailing your success or failure, are very striking, especially when viewed on the Switch OLED screen. Their sharp clarity adds to the tension as you eventually try to turn the tables on your pursuer. It's clear why this game was released on the same day as the newly launched system: It showcases the visual fidelity of the machine beautifully, and justifies an upgrade or outright purchase of the new Switch to experience the game the way it's intended to be played.

But the intensity of these sections highlights one of the play elements that can be problematic, which is that Dread is a very challenging game. Whether it's trying to counter an E.M.M.I. when it catches you (you get a narrow chance to escape if you're caught, which isn't easy to do), or defeating the many different boss creatures scattered across the planet, you'll need fantastic aim and precise timing to avoid incoming strikes. This isn't always easy to do, and you'll need to replay sections and fights multiple times before you learn enemy patterns (and that's on normal difficulty -- the hard difficulty is even more intense). This gets even harder when you also realize that there are plenty of sections that hide access behind hidden blocks and exploding walls. You may run past the location you need to get to because you're being chased, or can't immediately see which way to go and will spend loads of time running in circles searching for the right way to go. So while the vibrant colors of the game and the incredible dark shadows pop out on the Switch OLED screen, they can also serve to add to your confusion, especially in a chase sequence when you're looking for a way out and the thing you need to destroy fades into the background. But this adds to a pendulum feeling in gameplay, which is that you can feel incredibly stuck and frustrated, until you figure out what you need to do or where you need to go. Then, once you've acquired the next upgrade, you feel incredibly powerful -- enough to demolish sections you were previously trapped in. This back-and -forth friction keeps play incredibly exciting and helps to drive you forward through the story, which has plenty of twists and turns for a sequel, especially within the closing chapters. Hopefully it doesn't take another 20 years to get one.

Game Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate