Metroid Returns (Sorta) in The Wii U's Nintendo LandS

There are still no full-fledged Metroid games on the horizon, but Nintendo's top sci-fi series will at least be featured in one the main attractions of Wii U launch game Nintendo Land.

The newest issue of Game Informer reveals that the collection of HD Nintendo-themed mini-games will include Metroid Blast, a fleshed out version of the superb E3 2011 Wii U tech demo Battle Mii.

Like the other games in Nintendo Land, Metroid Blast. is designed to demonstrate gameplay that uses distinct features of the upcoming Wii U hardware. For this one, one player holds the Wii U GamePad (the big controller with the 6" screen) and pilots Metroid heroine Samus' spaceship, tilting the controller to fly. As many as four rival players control Miis wearing Samus' armor and use Wii Remotes to run around and try to shoot the spaceship player down. The on-foot players watch the action on the TV in splitscreen; the spaceship player observes the same battlefield on the GamePad's screen and can even physically move away from the TV to play their part. For the on-foot players, Metroid Blast is a third-person arena shooter. For the spaceship player, this is an aerial combat game.

As complex as it all of this reads, it played marvelously in June of 2011 and presumably is only more polished now. Game Informer's writer mentions a very cool detail for Metroid fans: one of the mode's maps "the lava-filled Norfair map ... [has] a massive, mechanical Kraid that players can ascend using their grapple beams."

The magazine also reveals a new Nintendo Land mini-game based on Nintendo classic Balloon Fight. This one pushes players to use the GamePad's stylus to guide floating Miis through dangerous mazes.

Nintendo Land will feature a dozen mini-games, all of them themed to well known Nintendo titles. We at Kotaku have played a bunch, including modes that riff on Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing, Zelda and Donkey Kong. The game is connected by a theme park hub that players can populate with lots of Nintendo-themed unlockables (including Samus' ship).

Nintendo Land is supposed to be a showpiece for the Wii U and may even be packed in with the console. We will probably find out for sure on September 13, when Nintendo hosts an all-day Wii U event. We will be there and tell you all the news.

Game Informer—October 2012 [Game Informer]