Now let me start of by saying that I am typically not a fan of fan-made games. I can be quite funny about games that don’t have a certain degree of polish. Most fan games I’ve tried will receive about 5 minutes of my time and then receive a swift uninstall lest my pristine “gamer” pedigree be somehow tarnished. This is even more-so the case when it comes to my favorite franchises, and this is why I hold AM2R in such high regard because I played AM2R from start to finishing and enjoyed every moment of it!
If you are unfamiliar with what a Metroid is, AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake) is a fan-made remake of the classic title ‘Metroid 2 – Return of Samus’ on the Gameboy which was released in 1991. It Follows the example of the ‘Metroid – Zero Mission (GBA)’ and modernizes, adapts and updates the original game to a more enjoyable and user friendly experience. ‘Zero Mission’ featured the inclusion of an in-game map system. Gone were the days of having to have a pen and paper nearby to draw out your map as you go. The controls had been overhauled to include tighter movement, more accurate jumping, ledge grabbing and wall jumping. Many of Samus’s upgrades from previous (…future?) titles were included in this game, such as the speed booster, complete with shine sparking. AM2R takes inspiration from that excellent remake of the original to continue the original Metroid sage, and begins right where ‘Zero Mission’ left off.
The game starts off with some surprisingly high quality still frames accompanied with story and plot. This continues throughout the game, providing you with information about new bosses, areas and story developments (and all of these can be viewed again in the games menu, very cool!). As someone who played the original a lot, this is such a welcome change, as I became invested and engrossed in the world. For the most part the game sticks to its original narrative, but it also takes some license to expand the universe and even makes an effort to build on previous and future events, which was very impressive! The quality and care that went into ensuring that the lore and atmosphere was up to par with the Metroid universe was a breathe of fresh air. You could tell that the writers were hardcore Metroid fans, and they wanted this to be canon, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s worthy of it.
The graphics are nothing too special. They recreate the look of the Gameboy Advance era, however they did go to a lot of effort to add detail of every single area. Every zone feels unique and alive with detailed scenery and backgrounds. Samus herself doesn’t look much different from her ‘Zero Mission’ appearance, with the exception of a little extra flashiness in her moves and fire power. The music is outstanding, which is a relief because any Metroid fan knows that music plays a very big role in providing Metroids distinct atmosphere. The music is moving and immersive, and it was nice to hear the inclusions of a few remastered classics as well!
The difficulty level was right on point. It’s always a good sign when a boss kicks your ass and you don’t think it’s the games fault that you lost. Every boss pushed me to learn it’s patterns and try again, hitting the sweet spot without causing frustration. The fights with the Metroids themselves have vastly improved over the original title, each incarnation of the Metroids life cycle felt distinct from the others, and each one more menacing and threatening! (The fight with the Omega Metroid was a fight for survival!) I played on Medium and I felt my skills were tested at the very least, so I’m sure anyone with a desire to feel despair would be comfortable with its Hard setting. The exploration had me looking up a guide once or twice, which was a little disappointing, as the game with lead you by the nose one second, but then require you to think outside the box to progress the next. I also appreciate that a lot of the upgrades are optional and well hidden, rewarding exploration and experimentation. So if you don’t explore and upgrade at least a little, you’re going to have a bad time!
By the time I had finished AM2R I was wondering how it was beyond Nintendo’s ability to produce such a worthy and enjoyable entry to the series! This game is clever, fun, engaging and polished that it simply begs to be licensed and distributed. Lucky for us, it can be played for free! A simple google search is all it takes and I highly recommend it to any Metroid fans or fans of the ‘Metroidvania’ genre!
+ Immersive world and storytelling
+ Challenging and FUN
+ Fantastic music
– Environmental puzzles are a little too abstract at times