8 September 2017 - 12:47

Metroid: Samus Returns hits Sept. 15, here's what we know

Samus Aran is back, and she's out to exterminate the Metroids.
Gaming Writer
Screengrab via Nintendo/YouTube Fair Use

It's been way too long since Nintendo released a proper Metroid game. Luckily, Metroid: Samus Returns is bounty hunter Samus Aran's true return to form.

The game, a remake of the original Metroid 2: Return of Samus for Game Boy, adds new gameplay features, levels, and a 3D look expanding on the original 2D release. Not to mention, for many Samus Aran fans, Samus Returns marks the first release in the main Metroid series in nearly a decade. The last Metroid game, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, was developed as a spin-off to the series and was received with mixed reviews.

So as Metroid: Samus Returns gradually approaches, here's everything fans should know before picking up the game.

Release date

Metroid: Samus Returns releases on Sept. 15 worldwide in both retail and digital stores.


Metroid: Samus Returns is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive. The game can be played on all 3DS platforms, from the original 3DS to the 2DS.


Samus' upcoming game follows the same story from the original Metroid 2. In Samus Returns, the Galactic Federation dispatches famous bounty hunter Samus Aran to SR388, the Metroid species' homeworld. Samus has one objective while she's there: Destroy the parasitic Metroids once and for all to prevent the species from endangering the galaxy.


Not unlike the original Metroid games, Samus Returns is a side-scrolling platformer and shooter with an exploratory focus. Players venture through SR388, advancing the game at their own pace as they collect power-ups, fight enemies, and search through the planet's cavernous labyrinth.

Screengrab via Nintendo/YouTube [Fair Use](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy_eFEC8tJ8)

Several new abilities are coming to Metroid: Samus Returns. One includes a melee counter, which allows Samus to parry attacks. The game also features Aeion abilities, powerful actions that draw on a limited Aeion energy source to give Samus aid in fights or while exploring. Those four new abilities include:

  • Scan Pulse, which reveals hidden paths on the in-game map
  • Lightning Armor, an upgrade that serves as a protective force field around Samus
  • Beam Burst, a rapid cannon attack
  • Phase Drift, which slows down time

Thanks in part to the 3DS' graphical capabilities, Samus Returns is a 3D game that functions as a 2.5D side-scroller. While the game itself is rendered in 3D, and has 3D cutscenes, play is relegated to moving left or right. This means the game plays similarly to Metroid Fusion or Super Metroid, as opposed to the first-person shooter focus throughout Metroid Prime.


A number of factors went into Samus Returns' creation. Nintendo Entertainment Planning and Development executive officer Yoshio Sakamoto realized that a 2D Metroid title hadn't been released for over a decade since Metroid: Zero Mission in 2004. Development began with Nintendo working alongside Spanish developer MercurySteam in 2015, culminating in the game's 2017 release.

Samus Returns is unique for the series in that it's a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer, neither fully 2D nor 3D. According to an interview with GameSpot, Sakamoto went for this approach to bring "a lot of varied animation" into the game, something that can be reached with polygons but not necessarily 2D pixel artwork.

"I think another merit of using polygons was that, because the games in 3D, we wanted to be able to look at things from a variety of different angles and we wanted to create what we think are these very dramatic and cool cut scenes," Sakamoto said.

Amiibo Bonuses

Alongside Metroid: Samus Returns' release, two Metroid Amiibos are slated for release by Nintendo. In total, four Amiibo can be used in conjunction with the game, unlocking new features and abilities for players just by using the items.

Screengrab via Nintendo/YouTube [Fair Use](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy_eFEC8tJ8)

The Samus Aeion Amiibo gives players a spare Aeion reserve tank to up Samus' Aeion energy pool during play. After beating the game, the Samus Aeion Amiibo also unlocks an art gallery for the original Metroid 2. The second new figure, the Metroid Amiibo, searches for nearby Metroids for the player to exterminate when used. It also unlocks the game's ultra hard difficulty, Fusion mode, after completing the game.

The Metroid figures from the Super Smash Bros. Amiibo line also work with Metroid: Samus Returns, unlocking special abilities and bonus features during in-game play. The Samus Amiibo grants the player a spare missile reserve tank, while the Zero Suit Samus Amiibo gives the player an extra energy tank. Tapping both Amiibo after completing Samus Returns unlocks an art gallery and a sound test for the player to check out.

This story is updated regularly to reflect new information.

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