A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While game initially starts out as a quest to save the galaxy from destruction, it quickly turns into a fight for survival on a hostile planet. For players, it's a test of perseverance and puzzle-solving against challenging odds.
Positive Role Models
Samus is a galactic bounty hunter tasked with eliminating dangerous alien creatures. She's skilled and powerful and pursues her targets effectively. Very little character development, apart from acquiring new skills and twists at the end, which set up possible sequels.
Samus is one of the first female heroes of video games. She's practically the only character included, apart from a few aliens and an AI construct within a computer.
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Ease of Play
While controls are easy to learn, with plenty of accessible tutorials and information, it's still challenging. Gamers will face attacks from all sides, will be hunted by increasingly challenging enemy robots. Boss fights can be challenging and have multiple stages, requiring precision movements and skilled attacks. Figuring out where to go can also be challenging, with some areas blocked by objects that you need specific gear to open, while other paths are closed off and hidden from view.
Violence & Scariness
Players constantly use lasers, bombs, missiles, other attacks against alien creatures and robotic opponents. A substance that would seem to be alien blood appears in one scene, but otherwise, no blood or gore, and enemies disappear when defeated.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Samus can be seen in a leotard during some scenes.
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Products & Purchases
Latest (2021) chapter in long-running Metroid franchise. Game supports amiibo, which are sold separately and unlock additional features during play. It's a direct follow-up to the 2002 game Metroid Fusion.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Metroid Dread is an action adventure game exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. This chapter in the long-running Metroid franchise is a direct sequel to 2002's Metroid Fusion. It features series hero Samus Aran fighting against an alien threat that could once again destroy all life within the galaxy. This is a challenging game: Players will be hunted in some areas by relentless robots while fending off alien attacks from all sides. Players will also have to contend with puzzling out how to navigate an alien world that restricts access based on the equipment they have available at that time, and hides pathways to others behind hidden blocks or walls. Fighting through some opponents, particularly during boss fights, requires precision moves and accurate shooting to be successful, and will frequently take multiple attempts to conquer. Players will use missiles, lasers, bombs, and other attacks against a variety of aliens and, with the exception of some green liquid that looks like alien blood in some scenes, no blood or gore is shown. Enemies vanish when they're defeated in battle, leaving behind resources for Samus to use. The game supports amiibo figures (sold separately), which can be used once a day to replenish energy or missiles.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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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.