‘Metroid: Samus Returns’ Locks Some Game Content Behind Amiibo Pay Wall

Continuing its push to get amiibo in the hands of as many customers as possible, Nintendo announced that some significant content in the upcoming Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS will only be accessible with specific amiibo.

In order to unlock the game’s Fusion difficulty mode — a more challenging experience — players will have to purchase the upcoming Metroid amiibo. Extra difficulty levels have traditionally been unlocked by playing the game, or are available from the start, and so some gamers are viewing this as a cynical cash grab.

There are four amiibo compatible with Metroid: Samus Returns: the new crouching Samus and Metroid figures join the already-released Samus and Zero Suit Samus amiibo. Each amiibo will unlock bonus content in the game, though only the Metroid figure is required to access the Fusion difficulty mode.

Amiibo are collectible figurines that contain NFC chips, which can be read by 3DS, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch to add new content to games. Most of the time, this content is not central to the gameplay experience — it’s simply bonus items. That does appear to be the case with three out of the four Metroid amiibo: additional missile and health packs, some concept art, but nothing that seems fundamental to the experience of playing the game.

The concern is that Nintendo will continue to include different modes in games and require gamers to spend even more money to purchase amiibo in order to unlock them.

For now, we’ll get a chance to see how significant the Fusion difficulty mode is when the amiibo and Metroid: Samus Returns launches on September 15.