Modojo @ Shacknews Nintendo 3DS Game of the Year 2017: Metroid: Samus Returns

Our favorite Nintendo 3DS release of the year is a brilliant return to one of the greatest portable platformers of all time.


Nintendo has previously promised that the 3DS would continue being supported through 2018 and beyond, but it's easy to see that the company's new Switch hardware is the way of the future. As such, many of the biggest 3DS properties are jumping ship, with Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being the last generation of little pocket monsters planned to grace Big N's dual-screened system. And though the aforementioned titles were certainly in the running for our favorite 3DS game of the year, they simply lost out due to the rich and nostalgia-inducing flavor of our favorite reimagined title, the lovingly-crafted platformer known as Metroid: Samus Returns.

Nintendo 3DS Game of the Year 2017 - Metroid: Samus Returns

There was a huge response when Nintendo busted into this year's E3 to announce the return of Metroid Prime. Little did fans know that the big Metroid reveal would come immediately afterward, when Nintendo announced a partnership with developer MercurySteam to develop a fully-reworked version of Game Boy classic title Metroid 2. The new title was called Metroid: Samus Returns, and it represented a floor-to-ceiling overhaul of the fan favorite platformer custom-tailored to the 3DS hardware.

Beyond the hype, Samus Returns delivered gameplay in spades. The return of the famous bounty hunter did more than just remind us how good of a game Metroid 2 always was, it also proved that Samus is just as potent now as she ever was. The graphics were completely overhauled in side-scrolling 2D style, the controls were updated to include free-form aiming and melee attacks, several new power-ups were added, and crucial features like fast travel and abilities from later games in the series were also included.

On top of all this, Metroid: Samus Returns provided a return to the glory days of side-scrolling action, breaking through typical rose-tinted nostalgia and delivering a thoroughly modern game with distinct old-school feel. In looking at the future of portable Metroid games, Nintendo and MercurySteam not only managed to capture the best of the past, but also managed to pave Samus' path into future generations.

Honorable Mentions:

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

The Pokemon series has long been married to Nintendo portables, which makes the migration of the series over to the Nintendo Switch a little sad. However, before bowing out of the purely portable scene altogether, both Sun and Moon were reworked into Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Both titles represent the best of what modern Pokemon games have to offer: they're stuffed to the brim with battles, characters, scenic vistas, and, naturally, collectible pocket monsters. As far as Pokemon games go, these two are as good as we've seen yet.

Bye-Bye BoxBoy

Sometimes we choose our favorite games based not on technical achievement, but rather on how they make us feel. Bye-Bye BoxBoy is just such a title: it's clean, it's fun, it's loaded with content, and it's a charming way to kill some time. Little Qbby is a rockstar in his own right, with impressive cube-spawning powers leading to the inexorable demise of countless brain-bending puzzles, and the entire series can be picked up cheaply and enjoyed by the whole family.

Be sure to keep up with the rest of The Shacknews Awards as we celebrate the Year of the Games: 2017.

Guides Editor

Kevin Tucker is a core component of Shacknews' powerful guide development team. For questions, concerns, tips, or to share constructive criticism, he can be reached on Twitter @dukeofgnar or through e-mail at

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