[Note: This was my first run through the game, before I figured out that you can jump. Thanks to Mike Futter of Ripten for hanging out with me.]
There is no denying that Other M didn't live up to the standards of many Metroid fans, and you can count me among the people that felt let down by the game. Though I didn't find Other M's writing to be as bad as some made out to be (it make sense that an orphan raised by alien people who spends most of her time inside a giant robotic suit might not have the best social skills), the way the game handled combat often left me cold. Auto-aiming in a Metroid game just felt wrong.
That's part of why Nintendo Land: Metroid Blast felt so right. It offers an arcade-style take on how a third-person Metroid game could play, and despite the fact that it's just part of a "mini-game collection," it still plays more like the other Metroid titles than Other M did.
When playing as the character on the ground, you have all of Samus' standard powers at your disposal; arm cannon (which can be aimed in any direction), morph ball, grapple beam, and jump. The jump distance is really short, however. It's best used to dodge enemy fire than to traverse the landscape.
Dodge moves can be a risky element design-wise, as players may take to spamming them. Metroid Blast prevents that from happening by making every third consecutive jump end in a goofy "victory pose," like an Olympic gymnast who just pulled off a triple flip. You're frozen in place during this pose, totally vulnerable, which will gently teach players not to abuse the game's dodge mechanic while also being adorable.
With the basics established, the game throws waves of enemies at you. It's your task to find the best position in the environment to take them out. In my short time with the game, I saw traditional Metroid enemies like Geemers, Space Pirates, and Wavers, all depicted in a cute, super-deformed style that ties all the "attractions" in Nintendo Land together. Wavers attack from overhead, so you'll have to keep your eyes up to keep track of them. Another option is to grapple to higher ground or teleport to platforms above in order to get a better shot. It felt like there were multiple ways to cope with most situations, and plenty of room to expand your strategy.
Geemers are the same defenseless little porcupine crabs you remember from prior Metroid titles, though they could be pretty intimidating in large numbers. Space Pirates are another thing entirely. They are quick to take cover and fire back, turning the game into more of a shootout and less of a target practice. It only takes three hits to die in Metroid Blast (you keep track with a Dead Space-style in game HUD on the player's back), so you can't be careless while taking on a horde of enemies who can give as good as they get.
If you're playing co-op with someone using the Wii U GamePad, they can provide cover fire from the skies in a cute miniature version of Samus' ship. While the added mobility of the ship makes it a lot easier to dodge enemy fire, it also makes it harder to land a shot or to grab power-ups. When my co-op friend in the ship (Mike Futter) was finally blown out of the sky, he crash landed in a dramatic fashion that had us both freaked out.
The game wasn't over yet, though. Unlike in other Nintendo Land attractions like Zelda: Battle Quest and Pikmin Adventure, you don't share health with your crew in Metroid Blast. Instead of game over, my pilot pal emerged from his destroyed vehicle, and began running around the battlefield half naked, unarmed and under dressed. I quickly shot up some enemies in hopes that they may drop some health for him, as one more hit would have presumably been the end of him. A couple of dead Space Pirates later and I scored him a heart. As soon as he grabbed it, his armor was back, and a new ship instantly formed for him to fly off on. Before long, we'd blown all their asses away and it was on to the next level.
That was my experience from level five of Metroid Blast's co-op campaign mode. I saw at least seven more levels after that, and who knows what else from there. We know that eventually you'll be taking on Ridley, and with any luck, more Metroid icons like Kraid and Mother Brain.
All Metroid Blast needs is the inclusion of a real, Metroid style floaty jump, and I'd be ready to see a full-fledged Metroid title that plays just like this. In the meantime, I'll be playing the crap out of the game when it drops on November 18th. It's among my favorite in the Nintendo Land package. Metroid fans, and fans of local co-op shooters, should definitely give it a shot. It's come a long way since 2011.
|1:00 PM on 02.02.2013|
Storm's Adventure with Wii U and Nintendo Land
Next in line for "Playing Catch Up to the Catch Up" is my Wii U premiere video. True be told, it isn't the really the premiere video, that honor belongs to this live stream (I brand them as "Live Boredom"). Click that to wat...more
|4:00 PM on 01.24.2013|
An aural tour with the composer of Nintendo Land, part 3
This is our third and final entry in our series featuring composer Ryo Nagamatsu as he walks us through the attractions in Nintendo Land one-by-one, giving us an inside look at what he was thinking about when he wrote the gam...more
|4:00 PM on 01.23.2013|
An aural tour with the composer of Nintendo Land, part 2
We're back with part two of our audio walkthrough of Nintendo Land with composer Ryo Nagamatsu. This time we visit Luigi's Ghost Mansion, Mario Chase, Metroid Blast, and Octopus Dance. And be sure to read part one of our feature which covered four other Nintendo Land attractions.more
|4:00 PM on 01.22.2013|
An aural tour with the composer of Nintendo Land, part 1
I have to admit that I was secretly looking forward to Nintendo Land a great deal. While I wasn't sold after Nintendo's E3 press conference last year, seeing the title in action really got the nostalgia flowing for me in all ...more
|8:00 PM on 11.20.2012|
Nintendo Land pack-ins will be eligible for Club Nintendo
If you are like me and furiously register your new Nintendo games for the Club Nintendo coins as soon as you open the package, you were probably surprised to discover that the copy of Nintendo Land bundled with the Wii U Delu...more
|10:00 PM on 11.17.2012|
Review: Nintendo Land
The Wii U GamePad is a lot more versatile than it looks. Some potential consumers have not been quite as inspired by the system as they were by the immediate uniqueness of the Wii and its remote controller. After all, tablets...more
|6:00 PM on 10.29.2012|
Nintendo Land: Last three attractions detailed
Nintendo has decided to fully detail the last three Nintendo Land attractions that we told you about earlier this month. These last three round out the list of 12 attractions coming to the Wii U launch title, both of which dr...more
|11:00 AM on 10.18.2012|
Nintendo Land: details on Octopus Dance and 2 other games
GoNintendo has an image of a list of details for some of the Nintendo Land minigames, giving us details on Yoshi's Fruit Cart, Captain Falcon's Twister Race, and Octopus Dance. Octopus Dance is the greatest name ever g...more
|12:00 PM on 10.17.2012|
Quick hands-on with Nintendo Land's Metroid Blast
With only a few more months to go for the Wii U launch, we recently got a chance to check out the latest addition to the Nintendo Land lineup. A basic arena shooter, Metroid Blast doesn't really capture the fun in simplicity ...more
|10:00 AM on 10.17.2012|
Quick hands-on with Nintendo Land's Mario Chase
Since its announcement, we seen a small trickling of the new game types in Nintendo Land. The latest is Mario Chase, a Mario themed game of tag where players have to chase after Mario. Player one is Mario, and with a ten seco...more
|1:00 PM on 05.21.2013|
Next-gen arrives with Call of Duty: Ghosts
I have seen the future, and I'm here to tell you that it's a bit different from what you're probably expecting. Actually, I've seen two different futures. One is Infinity Ward's version of our country's future, in which Ameri...more
|12:41 PM on 05.21.2013|
Forza Motorsport 5 announced for Xbox One launch
During Microsoft's Xbox One reveal event, Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer announced Forza Motorsport 5. Developed by Turn 10 Studios, this latest installment in the long-running franchise will be available as a launch ti...more
|12:21 PM on 05.21.2013|
First look at the Xbox One controller
While Microsoft is busy talking up its impressive-looking entertainment features for the Xbox One, let's look at something more relevant to gaming: the controller. Here it is! I'm glad to see that the form is similar to the X...more