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You can play Metroid Prime Blast Ball for free right now

Federation Force defence force.

I was going to tell you all about how much fun Blast Ball, a multiplayer mode that's a part of Next Level Games' Metroid Prime Federation Force, can be, but that doesn't seem pertinent now when you can go and download it yourself. All of it. For free. Now. On your Nintendo 3DS handheld system.

Go on. Get it.

It's quite good, and is almost enough to put all the negativity that's surrounded Federation Force since it was announced. The easiest comparison to draw is Rocket League - like that game, it's a chaotic, physics-led spin on football that has two teams trying to punt a ball into a goal over a three-minute match - but it differs in some key ways too. This time out you're playing with blasters, so it's best to keep a bit more distance between yourself and the ball. Especially considering that if an opposing member fires a charge shot into the ball and it hits you square in the face you're likely to be ejected from your mechsuit, rendering you momentarily useless on the field.

There are pick-ups, too, that give it something of a Mario Kart flavour - including Blast Ball's own blue shell which ejects all opposing members out of their mechsuits. At that point, your best bet is running back to the goal in the short amount of time you're spared, blocking it with your lifeless mech while you scramble to get back into it. It's a tactic that works wonders - and one I've seen the computer AI employ with great effect in the fifth and final match that's part of Blast Ball's challenge mode.

So, basically, it's Rocket League with a little Mario Kart and a side-order of mechs. Who doesn't want to play that? Possibly those who were after a more traditional Metroid experience, but get past that and you've got what looks like a mighty fine game - a story that's true of Federation Force's main campaign, which I also got to trial recently.

Cover image for YouTube video8 minutes of Metroid Prime: Federation Force Gameplay