‘Metroid: Samus Returns’ locks its toughest mode behind an amiibo paywall

'Metroid' users can access 'hard' mode, but its hardest mode is behind paywall

Many big titles were revealed during the Nintendo Spotlight at E3 2017 last month, including Metroid Prime 4, but those who stopped watching before the start of Treehouse Live missed out on another big reveal: Metroid: Samus Returns.

The game is a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, a Game Boy sequel. In this 3DS update, the game has been given new visuals, mechanics, and difficulty levels. The caveat here is that the most difficult level, called Fusion Mode, is locked behind an amiibo paywall.

According to official Nintendo Facebook posts about the Samus and Metroid amiibo, each one features different functionality when scanned in the game. For example, the crouching Samus figure unlocks a Metroid II art gallery after the game has been completed, while the Metroid figurine unlocks Fusion Mode after completing the game. This mode puts Samus into the blue-tinted fusion suit and increases the game’s difficulty.

Fans were quick to comment on Nintendo linking the unlocking of game modes to the purchase of amiibo. After all, many games in the past upped the difficulty or offered art galleries as rewards just for playing the game.

“So things that used to be shipped and ready to play with the game now require stupid figurines to be able to enjoy ’em,” reads one comment. “Nice cash grab.”

This isn’t the first time the company has experimented with amiibo in this way. The original Splatoon locked special single-player challenges behind a pay wall. Putting up a pay wall for special costumes is something gamers have grown used to, but putting standard modes behind one is where things get murky.

Fusion mode will be separate from Samus Returns’ “hard” mode, however. Speaking to USGamer, Nintendo clarified that a more difficult mode will become available after beating the game for the first time, but it won’t be as difficult as the Fusion mode.

Metroid: Samus Returns is available for pre-order right now for $40. The game releases in just a few weeks on September 15. For anyone interested in exploring the art gallery or playing at a higher difficulty, the Samus and Metroid amiibo release together in a single package along with the game’s release.

We had a chance to go hands-on with Metroid: Samus Returns, and thought it was fun to explore.

Updated on 8-8-2017 by Gabe Gurwin: Added clarification from Nintendo on separate “hard” mode.