A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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)?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: September 15, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
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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.