Metroid: Samus Returns

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Metroid: Samus Returns Game Poster Image
Great sci-fi remake reinvents itself for a new generation.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive messages

Most of the game's plot involves simply shooting everything that moves while following through on a mission to eradicate an alien species threatening humanity.

Positive role models & representations

Samus isn't just a strong female character -- she's a strong, heroic character, period. She can hold her own against any threat as well as any stereotypically male hero can. A key moment expands on her character; she proves she's more than just a hired gun, shows mercy, compassion.

Ease of play

Simple controls, easy to learn; difficulty ramps up over time, but it's a gradual increase that should feel natural to most players.

Violence

Players shoot lasers, missiles, bombs at enemy creatures, also use slashing melee attacks. Defeated aliens fall down, disappear. Some areas where alien corpses can be seen on the ground, in the background.

Sex

If players beat the game quickly, they're given the option to play Samus without her helmet or in her leotard like "Zero Suit," but neither should qualify as suggestive in any way.

Language
Consumerism

Metroid franchise is a Nintendo staple, with Samus, other characters showing up in other games, merchandise, other media. Also features amiibo support, with certain optional features requiring specific amiibo characters, sold separately, to unlock.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Metroid: Samus Returns is a science fiction-based action/adventure game for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is an enhanced and expanded remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, originally released in 1991 for the Game Boy. The new game features updated controls, which are easy to pick up and play, and expanded content, including support for certain specific amiibo figures, available as separate purchases. The game features a fair bit of arcade-style violence, with players using sci-fi weapons against alien creatures, though there's very little in the way of blood or gore.

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What's it about?

METROID: SAMUS RETURNS puts players back in the Power Suit of the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter, Samus Aran, in a revamped retelling of one of her all-time classic adventures. During her first encounter with Mother Brain and her band of Space Pirates, Samus discovered the parasitic lifeforms known as Metroids. Although Mother Brain was defeated, the threat the Metroids posed to the universe remained. Now an elite military squad sent to the creatures' home planet has gone missing, and the Galactic Federation has reached out to Samus with a new mission: Go to the planet and eliminate all traces of the Metroid species once and for all. With a brand-new look, updated controls, an arsenal of new weapons and abilities, and a host of other new features, Metroid: Samus Returns is a classic Metroid experience for a whole new generation.

Is it any good?

This sci-fi experience manages to craft an adventure that nearly redefines what a remake should be. Great care needs to be taken any time you decide to remake a classic. You have to walk a fine line between staying true to the original while also offering something new to keep things fresh. Metroid: Samus Returns does both. This isn't simply a shiny new coat of paint tossed onto an old classic. Aside from the new, fluid controls, the game also adds features like Samus' Grapple Beam, which wasn't around in the original Game Boy release. And yet the designers don't just incorporate it, they incorporate it in a way that feels like it always belonged. In fact, the entire experience has been rebuilt from the ground up, welcoming newcomers to the series while still offering up a nostalgic bit of déjà vu for longtime fans.

There are only a couple of minor gripes to be had with Metroid: Samus Returns. The first involves the game's amiibo support. Players who've managed to get their hands on the highly sought after figures not only get treated to in-game life boosts and art galleries, but also get access to a Fusion Mode, a new, more difficult mode that also gives players access to Samus' Fusion Suit outfit. Second, although the new controls add a new level of depth to Samus, they do take a little getting used to before you're able to pull off counterattacks and newer moves smoothly. Even so, Metroid: Samus Returns is a fantastic addition to the Metroid series, and a great example of how a remake should be done.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Does a fantasy/sci-fi theme, with players fighting against alien creatures, change the impact of violence on younger kids?

  • Talk about consumerism in gaming. What are some of the ways that players might end up spending money outside of a game's initial release? Are extra features like special items or cosmetic changes important if you have to make a separate purchase for them (like Nintendo's amiibo figures)?

Game details

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