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Metroid: Samus Returns - Review

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Metroid: Samus Returns is Nintendo’s newest Metroid game! It’s really good to have a new 2D Metroid game because it’s been a while since Nintendo released the excellent Metroid: Zero Mission. But while Metroid: Samus Returns is enjoyable, it has plenty of faults that detracted from my enjoyment of it.

My biggest beef with the game is that it strongly emphasizes the new melee counter. It’s fun to swat bugs out of the sky with Samus’s Hand of Doom, but it leads to some non-fun situations. The Metroid encounters (which there are plenty of) are designed around parrying their close-range attacks and hitting their weak spot. However, they rarely use close-range attacks that you can counter. This means that these miniboss fights either go by really quickly (when the Metroid randomly decides to be dumb and use an attack that leaves them open) or excruciatingly slow (which is typically the case).

You can use the melee counter to stun many enemies. And, sure, the enemies with melee attacks moves tend to them as frequently as the Metroids don’t. But if you wait to shoot a stunned enemy, Samus’s blaster reverts back to normal damage, so you’re stuck shooting an immobile enemy for far longer than it should take.

So, in addition to this cool, but kinda busted, mechanic you also get:

  • Chase segments featuring an instant death wall
  • Hitscan enemies
  • Boss fights that go on forever
  • Gimmick enemies that drain power-up juice (Aeion gauge) that you need to defeat them
  • A scanning feature that tells you where power-ups are

I’m serious all of those; even the last one! But at least most of the upgrades are in cool spots that require backtracking and puzzle-solving to get to. And there’s a whole lot of game to explore - my first playthrough took around 10 hours and 40 minutes of in-game time to get 54% completion. So there’s obviously a lot of stuff to do in Metroid: Samus Returns.

But I didn’t really enjoy myself while playing the game. The boss fights, in particular, were quite a chore to get through. I’m glad that I beat it, but I’m not going to get 100% any time soon.

But perhaps I expected too much. It has favorable reviews on Metacritic, so someone out there likes it! It’s a new Metroid game from Nintendo, so you do you!

Score: 3/5