It's been a long wait for an original side-scrolling Metroid game, but Metroid Dread for the Nintendo Switch proves to be just what the doctor ordered. Dread brings back lots of the power-ups and abilities of previous games, while also adding new ones, such as sliding and Flash Shift. If you like the Castlevania/Metroid side-scrollers of old, you really don't want to miss this.
- Old-school side scroller fun
- Boss fights are plentiful, but fun and rewarding
- Collecting 100% of items can be challenging
Metroid Dread has all the elements that you'll love. It starts you off depowered — as usual — but it isn't too long before you gain your first power up as you explore, and it just snowballs from there. You'll soon be morphing into a tiny ball, running super fast, shooting multiple missiles, and more. These are all familiar powers for Metroid fans. Mixing it up are new abilities such as Flash Shift, which lets you quickly blink right or left consecutively. It doesn't quite avoid all damage, but helps you to get out of a danger spot faster. You can also counter attack enemies to one-shot them, a mechanic introduced in the Samus Returns remake from 2017.
As with all Metroidvania games (including my favorite for this year, Returnal), you'll have to do a lot of exploration and backtracking. There are plenty of different room types, environments, puzzles, and somewhat new stealth elements. This new mode has you dodging a giant killer EMMI robot, which you hide from by using your invisible ability. These areas tend to be quite tense, because you don't want to be discovered. When spotted, you can choose to run away really quick, or get caught and try to escape. Unfortunately, the escape timing, which you have to successfully press the counter button, is really hard to get right. You'll find yourself restarting the area when you die.
There are plenty of bosses to fight — but they are all beatable once you figure out the patterns. It's also easy to retry, since the game puts you right back near the boss, and sometimes, you only have to skip a cutscene. Honestly, the bosses are the best part of the game, because you'll have quite the fun time figuring them out. My only complaint for the game is the long loading times between areas. That's due to the Switch's hardware, of course. But it's a good chance get a drink, rest those fingers, and get going again.
Metroid Droid is definitely one of those games you shouldn't miss. Even if you're terrible at platformers like me, you'll soon get the hang of it. Be sure to play with the Surge Switchpad Pro, which allows you to rebind keys. The game has many buttons to press and hold, and being able to use buttons at the back frees up your right hand a bit more. Officially retailing at around S$80, you can get Metroid Dread on Amazon, Shopee, or Lazada for less.
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