Forget Mario and link. Nintendo’s flagship game this holiday gives its leading lady, Samus Aran, another chance to shine. The gorgeous Metroid Dread launches alongside the Nintendo Switch OLED Model on October 8, taking you into the haunting, extraterrestrial labyrinth that is Planet ZDR.
The first original, 2D Metroid game in nearly two decades, Dread should feel familiar to any fans of Metroid Fusion, Super Metroid, Metroid: Samus Returns, or literally any game that falls into the “Metroidvania” genre. Gain new powers as you slowly uncover the massive map through clever searching and satisfying backtracking. Gun down monsters that get in your way. Battle hulking bosses.
Metroid fans are used to waiting. Metroid Prime 4, the upcoming first-person shooter, is still nowhere in sight, and the name “Metroid Dread” was first teased 15 years ago. That said, the wait for Metroid on Nintendo Switch is now over. Before you dive into its depths, read our Metroid Dread tips to give Samus the best chance to survive Planet ZDR's dangers.1. Always Be Countering
Metroid Dread retains the melee counter mechanic from developer MercurySteam’s last Metroid game Metroid: Samus Returns. In Dread, the technique is more important than ever. Enemies hit hard, and don’t leave many health pickups if you simply blast them. However, if you counter just as your foe flashes white, you’ll repel the attack and earn far more rewards. You can counter while running and climbing, so it won’t slow down your exploration. With precise timing, you can even counter the otherwise unstoppable EMMI robots that kill you with one hit.2. Plan Your EMMI Encounters
If you’re wondering who exactly you’re supposed to dread in Metroid Dread, the EMMI robots make sure you remember. These mechanical menaces stalk you with Terminator-esque ferocity within their designated zones. At first, all you can do is run away. To minimize the danger you'll face before entering an EMMI zone, think about where you want to go, and how to get there as fast as you can by blasting doors open ahead of time and sliding through gaps. Eventually, you’ll gain new tools like an invisibility cloak and aerial dash, giving you more control over the chase. When you finally find each zone’s Omega Cannon upgrade, put enough distance between yourself and an EMMI to charge the one weapon capable of destroying them.3. The Map Is Your Friend
This tip applies to any Metroidvania, but especially Metroid Dread. You make progress by exploring the map, so be sure to keep referring to it. Metroid Dread’s maps are huge and dense, but they also offer helpful navigational tools. Certain upgrades, such as missile expansions and energy tanks, appear on the map, and areas glow if they have unearthed secrets. You’ll frequently go back and forth between different regions, so liberally use map markers to remind yourself where you want to return to in the future.4. Aim Carefully
As you move, Samus generally aims in whatever direction you push the analog stick. However, if you hold down the left shoulder button, Samus plants her feet so you can aim in all directions with far more accuracy. Use this technique to shoot objects off at weird angles, or to keep steady as you unload missiles at weak points on swaying enemies.5. Blast Every Block
Here’s another general Metroidvania tip. Not sure how to get into or out of a nearby room? Blast every block. Shoot everything with your gun or drop some Morph Ball bombs. Chances are you’ll blow open a hidden hole and create a new secret path forward. If not, at least you got to make some cool explosions.6. Focus on What You Can, Not What You Can’t
Metroid Dread opens up so quickly that you can easily become overwhelmed and confused about what to do and where to go next. It gets frustrating when every hallway seems to lead to a dead end. When this happens, just focus on what you can do with your current abilities. Any obstacles you can’t currently overcome show up as question marks on your map, so don’t worry about them. Whenever you get a new power, like the Wide Beam or Shinespark, focus on finding where to put those powers to use and you’ll make significant progress.Recommended by Our Editors7 Cool Pokemon Unite Tips for Mastering the MOBA Action8 Resident Evil Village Tips & Tricks That Will Help You Survive the Horror5 Biomutant Tips & Tricks That Will Help You Survive the Wasteland7. Wall Jump to New Heights
It’s not the flashiest power you’ll acquire in Metroid Dread, but remember that Samus can nimbly jump off walls to reach higher ground. The game doesn’t loudly announce this to you, but right from the beginning you can bounce vertically up shafts if they’re narrow enough, and grip onto ledges to pull yourself up. The timing window is far more forgiving compared to previous Metroid games.8. Read Up on Metroid Lore
Nintendo insists that series newcomers can start fresh with Metroid Dread, but this game is Metroid 5 and promises to resolve key parts of the Metroid storyline. So consider learning about that storyline ahead of time. At least figure out what these ancient bird people are all about. For Metroid Dread, the games that matter are the original Metroid, Metroid II (or its remake Samus Returns), Super Metroid, and Metroid Fusion. The American-made Metroid Prime series exists in a different continuity, so you can play those games without taking their plots into account.
For more gaming tips, check out 7 Cool Pokemon Unite Tips for Mastering the MOBA Action and How to Use Bluetooth Headphones With the Nintendo Switch.
Latest Breaking How-To News and Tutorials News Headlines & more