You’re Probably Not Actually Stuck In Metroid Dread

You’re Probably Not Actually Stuck In Metroid Dread
Maybe you can tell me where to go? Not this way? OK. (Image: Nintendo)

Maybe you’ve been playing Metroid Dread since it hit Nintendo Switch on October 8, but put it down out of frustration from being stuck in the dang game. Or is that just me? Good news: you’re not actually stuck. It’s just easy to not realise what blocks are destroyable while you’re exploring.

Across the internet are complaints of players getting stuck, or “softlocked,” and unable to make progress due to gameplay reasons. Perhaps you lack a designated power-up, or you went the wrong way. In Metroid Dread, you have these two possibilities and the added layer of shooting the environment to find your way around. So when you’re “softlocked,” it’s not a permanent block, it’s just the game’s way of letting you know you probably missed something and need to go back to check your surroundings.

This occurs in a variety of levels, from the starting area to Ghavoran and just about everywhere in between. This perceived softlock is annoying some players so much they’re restarting Metroid Dread because they assume there’s no way to progress further. There are even copious YouTube videos being uploaded, both of players getting softlocked and showing how to resolve the errant progress issue.

Metroid Dread tells you early on — in the first level, actually — that some destructible blocks are hidden, but that’s the whole problem. Sometimes, these blocks look identical to non-destructible blocks. This can lead to confusion, as there’s no way of knowing which blocks in any given level are destroyable because they all look the same. I mean, you can spend hours just running between different zones, thinking you’re stuck when all you really need to do is just shoot at the stupid floor.

Read More: Dear Metroid Dread: Samus Doesn’t Need To Be An Emotionless Robot To Be Badass

This is part of Metroid Dread’s design, what with it being a Metroidvania and all. Uncovering new routes is inherent to the genre. But as someone with severely impacted vision, it’s difficult for me to notice minute details and differences, including when I’m exploring in Metroid Dread. And let me tell you, it’s not fun when a video game reminds you of your disability.

Kotaku staffer Ari Notis had a similar experience, especially after hitting the Cataris area. After exiting the elevator most players head to the right, but to make actual progress, you’re supposed to shoot the wall to the left. Notis said the blocks aren’t telegraphed enough.

“You can’t look up a guide for this stuff because everyone goes through Metroid Dread at their own pace,” Notis said of his experience with the game. “How’d I figure it out? I don’t know, I just randomly shot at something and that opened something else and I was like, ‘Oh, my dumbass.’”

So what do you do? This is going to sound funny, but…just shoot at random shit. Shoot at the floor, the ceiling, the walls in front of and behind you, anything and everything. Eventually, you’ll destroy some block in some corner and progress again.

This softlock isn’t connected to a recent bug Nintendo found in Metroid Dread that blocks progress under certain conditions. The company said a fix is coming by the end of October to address the issue and published a quick guide on what to do if you encounter the bug. (Update the game.)


  • Shooting random walls has kind of been a part of the Metroid DNA forever. Guess I’m just used to it but I can see why it might frustrate newcomers.

  • It’s actually kinda funny, I’ve been playing metroid games for so long that when I first reached Cataris, I ignored the door on the right and immediately shot the wall and went left. There was really only one point in the game where it took me a while to figure out what I needed to do, which was reasonably late in the game.

    Never assume anything on Metroid, and remember there’s always a way out. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you’ve been soft locked or the game is bugged or something just because you can’t figure out what to do immediately. Observe the environment and narrow down your options by figuring out what you can’t do. In the early game Dread is very good at pointing you in the right direction without explicitly telling you, so pay attention.

  • It’s note so much the exploring that is an issue, it’s more the combat (extremely quick sub-boss’s with rangged and run attacks), and lack of current story location.

    • Are you using Flash Shift in combat? A lot of people don’t realise it because there’s a bit of a gap between when you last use it and the next proper fight, but it’s a combat ability in addition to being an exploration ability. It’s more or less mandatory in later fights.

      Basically whenever anything is going to charge at you jump then double shift over it. You still need to be quick to take advantage of it but it’s how you get through fights without taking significant damage. Good rule of thumb is if you’ve taken more than half a tank in damage you’ve been hit by something you’re meant to avoid and flash shifting is usually the way to avoid it.

      When you’re first starting a fight/new phase just play around with flash dodges for a bit to learn what the safest responses to the bosses attacks are. Forget about doing damage and focus on not getting hurt. Then once you’ve got that down start getting greedy with your attacks and counters.

  • Just to be clear the last two tweets are from people who sequence broke to get there and neither of them were actually stuck. Nothing wrong with getting stuck in Metroid games, they’re equal parts maze/puzzle/obstacle course so they’re designed to get stuck in, but both those players are reasonably high skill so it’s a bit weird putting them in an article with this headline without additional context.

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