return is a mix of things I’ve seen before, great ideas from a dozen different roguelite and sci-fi games. But one of returnThe simplest label is Metroid. Selene, returnThe main character is a blonde woman in an evolving spacesuit. She is an intergalactic space pilot with her own ship. She is on a solo mission to a dark, creepy, hostile, alien planet where she collects biotechnology from the planet’s original inhabitants in order to survive. If this rings bells, it’s because you’ve been on an adventure with Samus Aran before.
And yet none of this is the reason return Really reminds me of Metroid. The visual and thematic similarities are easy to see, but when I first moved as Selene, I felt like Samus. That’s because return takes to heart one of Metroid’s most underrated gameplay lessons: speed.
A familiar creep
In the opening moments of returnI’m crashing on a strange planet. And as soon as I recover, I start exploring this new world and solving a mystery. I will soon find out that I am stuck in a time warp. I’ve always been here
The game runs like a bullet hell game for third parties. I run around collecting better items and weapons to make my life easier. I fight against the local flora and fauna and avoid waves of colorful energy beams. The rapid, large evasion from the sphere is reminiscent of the days of the developer Housemarque Super Stardust HD and Resogun.
When I die, I’ll keep some currency and some important items. I leave everything else in the past. I wake up at my shipwreck and go on another adventure. That’s where returnYour own version of backtracking comes into play. Unlike Metroid returnThe card layout is random, so I have to rediscover the card every time I am brought back to life.
This need to rediscover made me think about Selene’s super speed of sound.
That second I put my hands on the controller and pulled Selene in returnI said, “Oh, this feels like Metroid,” loud enough for my cats to hear.
Selene moves in quickly return. When I touch the controller, it spurts forward at an unnatural speed, and yet I never feel out of control. The way I float precisely through the air and burn through rooms in seconds feels more like that Great metroid than modern fast games like Downfall
Metroid games, especially the 2D games, are known to require a lot of backtracking. For the first 20 minutes of a 2D Metroid adventure, you will see a door that you will only be able to open in the last 20 minutes. Backtracking can be a huge pain, but it would be worse if Samus didn’t move extremely fast even before she finds any Dash-related upgrades.
As a Samus, you can cover a lot of ground very quickly, especially in wide open spaces where you don’t have to stop often. It’s a series that is defined by movement, complemented by devices that better prepare Samus for their long journey between multiple points.
return has a different approach to backtracking. As Selene, I can teleport between areas where I’ve already been on my current run. I also maintain certain key items and traversal upgrades, like my grappling hook, between fatalities. Once I’ve defeated the boss of the first area, I’ll have everything I need to lead the portal to the second biome. However, since the map is shuffled at the start of each new run, I have to find the portal again.
Rediscovering a map only to find a door I’ve already walked through could have been frustrating return, but Selene’s speed helps relieve some pressure. Minutes after I die, I can be three rooms on my next run, chasing down the portal to the next area, and running past bullets. It creates a frantic shot at the start of each run that helps last return exciting, even the 20th time I run through the same forest environment.
Chasing something that I know is there somewhere close in return It feels like I’m trying to find the Super Missile door in Metroid that I first saw six hours ago. Speed is an aspect that Metroid has toned down even in its slower but still fabulous state Metroid Prime Trilogy that tightened up the long backtracking sections of this game. It’s interesting to see return learn so much from Metroid PrimeThe more immersive environment while at the same time resorting to the 2D era to match the super speed of Samus. It wasn’t the Metroid influence I was expecting when I first saw trailers about Selene’s adventure, but it’s the perfect way to make every run feel like a sprint towards progress.