Game: Metroid Prime Federation Force
Developer: Next Level Games
Metroid is back, at least in name it is. Metroid Prime Federation Force is by no stretch a continuation of the adventures of our favorite bounty hunter Samus Aran. Rather than the mainline Metroid Prime series, Federation Force plays similarly to Metroid Prime Hunters, an installment that shifted focus to the FPS mechanics of the Metroid Prime series rather than the exploration aspects.
Rather than jumping into the armor of Samus Aran the player character is a Federation Marine in a giant mech suit. Some limited sections offer play outside of your mech, infiltrating a pirate station for example. If you just can’t find yourself in that Metroid mood without Samus, you can tap the Samus Amiibo to your 3Ds to get a Samus color scheme for your mech. It’s the only way to play.
It’s worth noting that Federation Force is intended to be played as a four-player co-0p experience. I played through the campaign missions solo which made things a bit more challenging at times but still pretty damn fun. Throughout playing you’ll unlock multiple mods and weapon load outs for your mech, solo players are given a unique mod that cuts damage in half to make the lonely world a little less brutal.
Now this small detail may be the most important for anyone not playing on a New 3Ds; the control scheme will be excruciatingly painful. I turned on the nub-less control mode in an attempt to see how the other half lives and could hardly make it through the early tutorials. Without a second control stick or the New 3DS’ nub the player is forced to hold certain shoulder buttons to turn on the gyroscopic controls when needed. While some may be alright with this, I found the mechanic tedious and frustrating, not something you would want to deal with while fighting back a room filled with Space Pirates.
Visually the Federation Force is par for the course as 3DS titles go. Nothing will particularly wow you but the colors pop and the level design is reminiscent of games in the Metroid Prime series past. The art style around the characters, in particular, is pretty damn adorable. I want a chibi Samus Amiibo, please!
Federation Force also features a competitive multiplayer mode know as “Blast Ball”.You may remember Blast Ball, as it was originally revealed as a separate game back at the Nintendo World Championships at E3 2015. The reception there was pretty poor and as a standalone game, that’s understandable. As a tacked on game, it’s still far from an enjoyable experience, mostly due to the less than stellar control scheme in Metroid Federation Force.
Blast Ball is played as a three on three, Soccer like sport wear Marines in their mechs attempt to pass and shoot balls into a net. In-universe, Blast Ball is used as a training exercise for Federation Marines. In our universe, it seems like Nintendos attempt at getting in on that Rocket Leauge money. I didn’t spend an immense amount of time with this mode as finding players was a struggle. It does serve as a nice distraction if you’ve got a few friends to play with.
Metroid Federation Force acts as a decent FPS on the 3DS, a full and proper Metroid title it is not. Had Nintendo billed this as a new property outside of the Metroid world it may have faired better. Federation Force is by no means a bad game; it’s simply not the game myself and many others wanted it to be. It also suffers the problem of being a much lesser solo experience. If you’re looking for a fun co-op FPS to play on the go check out Federation Force if you want that old school Metroid exploration go check out Axiom Verge or Song of The Deep for now and hope a proper Metroid arrives on the Nintendo NX.
Score: 5 out of 10