The best Metroid games ranked

The Metroid saga is one of Nintendo's oldest series, along with its original Metroid It debuted in 1986 (in Japan). Since then, numerous Metroid games, spin-offs, and remakes have been released on various Nintendo consoles and handhelds.

Metroid is famous for being atmospheric, with satisfying gameplay that encourages exploration. Although the series is primarily presented from a 2D perspective, the Prime sub-series consists of first-person shooters, which was a big change at the time. Either way, it's one of Nintendo's most beloved franchises, and most games receive positive reviews from critics and fans. Metroid Horror The original game received great overall scores when it launched in 2021 Metroid Prime It's headed to Switch, and fans are eagerly awaiting details on the game's development Metroid Prime 4.

So which Metroid games are the best? Here is the definitive ranking of the Metroid series, in order.

13. Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Galactic Federation Marines pose for the cover of Metroid Prime: Federation Force.

As can be predicted, Metroid Prime: Federation Force Our pick for worst Metroid game. Truth be told, it's not terrible, but it prioritizes online co-op on the 3DS, a system not known for being a multiplayer device. This game left a bad taste in many people's mouths because it had been six years since then. Metroid: Other MThe last game of the series. Other M It was considered one of the worst in the series, so Federation Power It was more of a disappointment than anything else. If you can get over the fact that the unnamed Galactic Federation Marines star, not Samus, you might have a good time with this, but otherwise you can definitely skip it.

12. Metroid Prime: Hunters

Samus on the cover of Metroid Prime: Hunters.

Keeping the theme of all the “bad” games in the series, Metroid Prime: Hunters It was disliked because it was not similar to Metroid. Instead, it's a first-person shooter, but much more watered down than the Prime series. Impressively, the game looks and runs well enough on the Nintendo DS, but the premise of what's there feels very different from what Metroid fans have fallen in love with. hunters it's also leaning into PvP online play, possibly trying to capitalize on trends popularized by the likes of Call of Duty. It's not bad, it's nothing like the original games.

11. Metroid: Other M

Metroid Cover: Other M.

This is interesting because the reviews Metroid: Other M doesn't seem to fit well with how fans feel about it. Critically, Other M It was a “good” but flawed game, but is generally regarded as one of the scariest things ever released. Although we don't think its reputation is as bad as it seems, Other M It's definitely not great. Its biggest problem is how linear it is, which is a far cry from what made the original episodes so entertaining. The sense of discovery has been virtually eliminated Other M, in favor of a more limited experience. It also prioritized narrative much more than other entries. This may be appealing to some, but long-time Metroid fans will be disappointed Other M. To make matters worse, the game required you to hold the Wii Remote horizontally to control Samus, rather than a more traditional control scheme.

10. Metroid II: Return of Samus

Samus next to the statue in Metroid II: The Return of Samus.

Metroid II: Return of Samus It was released for the Game Boy in 1991 and is very much a product of its time. It was well received in 1991, but time hasn't been as kind to it as you'd hope. Levels that get bogged down by the limitations of the hardware tend to blend together. The return of Samus, and everything looks the same. By today's standards, it is stiff and cumbersome to play, though it is improved upon the original in some respects. It's an important game in the Metroid series due to its narrative, but luckily, you can skip playing it and opt for the 3DS remake (which we'll cover below).

9. Metroid

Samus on the cover of Metroid.
Image used with permission of the copyright owner

It's hard not to have a soft spot for the original Metroid for NES. It's arguably one of the most important games of all time, with timeless visuals that still look great today. Even better is the way it encourages exploration by rewarding players with items and power-ups that allow new areas to be explored. However, even though 35 years have passed, it is not so valid anymore. It's thick, heavy and fussy at times, making it hard to recommend in 2021. Without map, original Metroid It feels almost impossible to pass. But it gets points for being so effective and being one of the first great examples of a strong female protagonist in video games.

8. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

Cover of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

Our next pick as we move on to the Prime trilogy Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. This fantastic GameCube sequel Metroid PrimeIt showcases the Dark Samus doppelganger and serves as the first game in the series to feature multiplayer. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Although it is more narrative-focused than the first Prime game, it still maintains the emphasis on top-notch gameplay. Like the first Prime game, it is presented from a first-person perspective and features puzzles, platforming, exploration and shooting. We'd rank this higher, but the relentless increases in difficulty make it less fun than we'd like.

7. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Samus poses for the cover of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption It is the last of the Prime trilogy, released for the Wii in 2007. Although there is often debate as to whether this ranks higher than its predecessor, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption While it wraps up the story nicely (although Metroid Prime 4 will come at some point in the future). It was visually impressive at the time, and although a bit dated it still looks good today. After all, corruption It combines the best features of the series to date, improving the first-person shooting, puzzle-solving and exploration aspects. The only thing that bogs down this game is its controls, which require the use of the Wii Remote.

6. Metroid Fusion

Cover of Metroid: Fusion.

Metroid Fusion is the successor Super MetroidWhile these are big shoes to fill, it does a great job of continuing the beloved formula while adding new ideas. Fusion There's still a large, open-ended map to explore, with power-ups and items scattered around. This game leans more on combat and narrative Super Metroid He did this by focusing more on the linearity that limits exploration. Depending on your taste, this may or may not be a positive thing. What this game does brilliantly is that instead of one big exposition dump at the start, it sprinkles bits of narrative throughout. We won't spoil it here, but it has its share of twists and turns that work in tandem with the excellent gameplay.

5. Metroid: Mission Zero

Samus on the cover of Metroid: Zero Mission.

We are so excited Metroid: Mission Zero exists because it allows players to experience Metroid in a modern way. Zero Mission is a complete remake of the original Metroid, was released for GBA in 2004. After playing the remake, it's surprising how many minor improvements have been made over the original. Controls inside Zero Mission you feel tighter, character movement is faster, jumps are less floaty; All of this is an improvement in almost every way. Visually, it's still stunning 17 years later and will probably last another 17 years. We wish this game (and many others on this list) were easier to get hold of, as it's currently stuck on the GBA and Wii U Virtual Console.

4. Metroid: Samus Returns

Samus on the cover of Metroid: Samus Returns.

The most modern 2D Metroid version of the series Metroid: Samus Returns. This is a 3DS remake Metroid II It was released in 2017 and was a remarkable take on the series. Most importantly, it allowed a modern generation of gamers to experience the second game's story without the full burden of the Game Boy's limited features. But apart from that, Samus Returns It implemented a number of improvements to controls and mechanics, as well as new ideas such as 2.5D camera perspective changes. Horror actually borrows many of the ideas introduced here Samus Returnslike the nifty melee counter and even some perspective changes. If you want to catch up with the series earlier Horror, Samus Returns He's not someone to skip.

3. Metroid Prime

Samus on the cover of Metroid Prime.

A first-person 3D perspective on Metroid? Of course that wouldn't work, right? Well, not only did it work Metroid Prime, but in many ways it felt like a natural evolution from 2D to 3D in the most elegant way. The transition from 2D to 3D would have been disastrous, but hit liner While it integrates all the mechanisms that give Metroid its identity, it also includes new features thanks to the change of perspective. In many ways hit liner It's much more gripping because it's presented through Samus' eyes. This level of immersion raises the stakes of the entire adventure, and we can't praise it enough for that. This could easily have turned into a mindless first-person shooter, but instead it feels more like Metroid than anyone expected.

This Gamecube classic has also been remastered for Switch and He's playing better than ever in 2023.

2. Super Metroid

Samus fights Ridley on the cover of Super Metroid.
Image used with permission of the copyright owner

Unsurprisingly, Super Metroid Originally released for the SNES in 1994, it is one of the best games in the series. The fact that it ranks so high despite being 27 years old is a testament to how well designed this game is. The original games certainly had their fair share of clever mechanics, but Super Metroid they have improved them enough to stand the test of time. Besides the mechanics and level structure, Super Metroid It also stands up aesthetically. It sits right in that sweet spot of having beautiful 2D sprites that look much better than most 3D games of the 1990s. During Super Metroid It's not perfect and has a few outdated aspects, it's amazing how well it plays after all these years. Best of all, it's easy to get your hands on, thanks to it being available on Nintendo Switch Online.

1. Metroid Horror

Cover art for Metroid Dread.
Image used with permission of the copyright owner

Yes like that HE Good. Metroid Horror it turned out, and not only was it perfect, it somehow made the last 19 years seem worth the wait. Few games have lived up to such lofty expectations, but Nintendo and MercurySteam certainly did. The level design adds to the fun by giving you plenty of places to explore with a satisfying progression system. This game will definitely test your skills, so check out our beginner's guide. It's also clever that the game teases you with inaccessible areas. To do There's always a moment of excitement when you revisit these places when you finally get the power-up that will allow you to reach them. The bosses are masterfully designed, the sense of atmosphere is tremendous, and the visuals are definitely the best in the series. Play this game.

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