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Nintendo releases 'Metroid Prime: Federation Force' minigame for free via 3DS eShop

A free surprise from Nintendo is in store for 3DS owners this week, as the publisher announced that a fully featured demo version of the Metroid Prime: Federation Force multiplayer minigame Blast Ball is now available for download via the eShop.

Blast Ball arrives on the eShop today with a functional online multiplayer mode, giving players an idea of what they can expect from Federation Force‘s upcoming retail launch. Metroid series fans will want to check out Blast Ball as soon as possible, however, as online support for the standalone downloadable version will be pulled in a matter of weeks.

Related: Nintendo’s final 2D Metroid game out now on Wii U eShop

Announced at E3 in 2015, Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a Nintendo 3DS-exclusive multiplayer first-person shooter. Contrasting the exploration-driven gameplay featured in past Metroid games, Federation Force instead focuses on action, allowing players to team up with friends to take out space pirates and other enemies who infest the game’s dozens of levels.

Blast Ball, meanwhile, is a sports-themed Federation Force mini-game similar to 2015’s Rocket League. Retaining Federation Force‘s first-person perspective and control scheme, Blast Ball challenges players to track an oversized ball across a futuristic playfield while using well-placed shots to launch it into the opposing team’s goal.

In an unusual twist, the free demo version of Blast Ball appears to include all gameplay modes and features found in the upcoming retail version of Federation Force, including its online multiplayer options. Nintendo notes, however, that online support for Blast Ball‘s demo is only available up until Federation Force hits store shelves. Nintendo plans to deactivate the demo in “early September.”

“This demo will be supported by online servers for a limited time beginning 7/21/2016,” a pre-download eShop notice reads. “Once the online servers for the special demo are discontinued, online functions will still be available for this mode in the full Metroid Prime: Federation Force.”

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