With the Metroid Dread release date arriving, players around the world will be jumping back into Samus Aran's impressively packed back-catalogue of games, which dates all the way back to 1986's Metroid on the NES. But what's the best order in which to play the Metroid games?


There are two main orders in which you could play the Metroid games - you can either play them in the order they were originally released, or you could play them in the chronological story order in which they canonically slot together in the official timeline.

Metroid Dread, if you were wondering, is a sequel to Metroid Fusion from 2002. But Nintendo worked on Metroid Dread with the developers at MercurySteam, who previously made 2017's Metroid: Samus Returns. Both of those would be strong choices if you're looking for something to play before or after Metroid Dread.

But if you're dedicated to playing through the Metroid games in some sort of sensible order, below we'll break down your two main options - the release date order and the chronological story order.

Metroid games in order of release

If you want to play through the exact experience that Metroid fans have enjoyed over the last few decades, you might want to play the Metroid games in order of their original release dates. If that's what you fancy doing, this is the order you'll need to work to:

  • Metroid (1986, NES)
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991, Game Boy)
  • Super Metroid (1994, SNES)
  • Metroid Fusion (2002, Game Boy Advance)
  • Metroid Prime (2002, GameCube)
  • Metroid: Zero Mission (2004, Game Boy Advance)
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2002, GameCube)
  • Metroid Prime Pinball (2005, Nintendo DS)
  • Metroid Prime Hunters (2006, Nintendo DS)
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (2007, Wii)
  • Metroid Prime: Trilogy (2009, Wii - compiles Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2 and Metroid Prime 3)
  • Metroid: Other M (2010, Wii)
  • Metroid Prime: Federation Force (2016, Nintendo 3DS)
  • Metroid: Samus Returns (2017, Nintendo 3DS)
  • Metroid Dread (2021, Nintendo Switch)
  • Metroid Prime 4 (release date TBC, Nintendo Switch)
Metroid Dread continues Samus' story.
Metroid Dread continues Samus' story. Nintendo

Metroid games in chronological story order

The list looks a bit different when you put the Metroid Games in story order, according to the overarching narrative of the games and how they all slot together. The first-person Metroid Prime subfranchise is actually quite early in Samus' story, for example, despite those games being relatively recent releases.

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Plus, if you're playing for the story alone, you don't need to worry about spin-off titles like Metroid Prime Pinball. And you can also pick and choose between a couple of games at certain points, because some of the more recent games are remakes of the old ones. Starting at the beginning of Samus' journey, this is the Metroid story order we'd recommend:

  • Metroid (or its Game Boy Advance remake, Metroid: Zero Mission)
  • Metroid Prime
  • Metroid Prime Hunters
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Metroid Prime: Federation Force
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus (or its 3DS remake, Metroid: Samus Returns)
  • Super Metroid
  • Metroid: Other M
  • Metroid Fusion
  • Metroid Dread

Note: we'd assume that the in-development Metroid Prime 4 will slot into the story between Corruption and Federation Force, but not much has actually been said about the game as of yet. We'll add it to this order when we find out more.

Where to buy all the Metroid games

Sadly, a lot of the classic Metroid games are not available on the Nintendo Switch, so you might struggle to find the game you want to play before or after Metroid Dread.

Nintendo's various digital services provide some help, but you'll need to dust off some older hardware if you really want to play through everything.

At the time of writing, these are the main options to think about when it comes to buying/playing all the Metroid games:

Metroid has come a long way since 1986.
Metroid has come a long way since 1986. Nintendo

Best Metroid games ranked

Whichever order you choose to play the Metroid games in, you might find yourself wanting to skip to the best games in the franchise rather than wading through every single title on the list. With that in mind, we've gone looking for data on which Metroid games are the best.

According to data from Metacritic and GameRankings.com (two review aggregator sites that merged in 2019), this is how the critical scores for the Metroid games have averaged out over the years, starting with the best rated and working our way down the list:

  1. Metroid Prime on GameCube (97%)
  2. Super Metroid on SNES (96%)
  3. Metroid Prime 2 on GameCube (92%)
  4. Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance (92%)
  5. Metroid Prime Trilogy on Wii (91%)
  6. Metroid Prime 3 on Wii (90%)
  7. Metroid: Zero Mission on Game Boy Advance (89%)
  8. Metroid Dread on Switch (88%)
  9. Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS (85%)
  10. Metroid Prime Hunters on DS (85%)
  11. Metroid Prime Pinball on DS (79%)
  12. Metroid 2: Return of Samus on Game Boy (79%)
  13. Metroid: Other M on Wii (79%)
  14. Metroid Prime: Federation Force on 3DS (64%)
  15. Metroid (58%)

It's worth noting that the 58% score just there was actually awarded to the Game Boy Advance re-release of the original Metroid - Metacritic's data doesn't date back far enough for the NES original.

With all of this knowledge at your disposal, you should now be able to play through whichever Metroid games take your fancy in the order of your choosing. Have fun!

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