Metroid Dread: Blue Butterflies
Image: Nintendo Life

If you've been battling your way through the twisted labyrinth that is Metroid Dread's ZDR, you're sure to have noticed the glowing blue butterflies huddled together in groups around certain doorways and corridors in the game.

These curious bugs feature throughout Samus Aran's dread-ful adventure, but what exactly are they for? Do they signify anything in particular or are they just set dressing? Well, the truth is that, even after multiple playthroughs of Metroid Dread, we're still not entirely sure.

Metroid Dread: Blue Butterflies 1
Image: Nintendo Life

There definitely seems to be some sort of correlation between where these little blue guys appear and us having made a little progress, we often find they've congregated in front of a door leading to an item, the general vicinity of a Central Unit or path forward through an area, but other times they can be found in rooms that we've already visited and emptied of all useful items.

A quick search of Reddit brings up threads dedicated to these creatures and the general consensus in these conversations is that nobody is really quite sure. Some think they are just for atmosphere, while others argue they are pointing the way towards important paths, items or even more specifically, your current region's Central Unit, which you'll need to find and destroy in order to kill the nearby E.M.M.I.

Metroid Dread: Blue Butterflies 3
Image: Nintendo Life

We reckon MercurySteam is doing some pretty clever subconscious guiding here, some subtle breadcrumbing that very gently gets the player's attention and leads them on a certain path at select points in the game. Yes, there are times when they appear at dead ends and in empty rooms but, more often than not, taking note of these little blue critters and having a walk in the direction they seem to beckon results in some sort of progress, and on ZDR any form of help you can get is something worth investigating at the very least.

We'll update this guide the moment we get more concrete information or evidence, of course.

This guide is part of our Metroid Dread walkthrough and guide series, which includes all ability locations, all missile tank locations, all energy tank locations, all energy parts, all suit upgrades, all power bomb tanks, plus every compatible amiibo unlock, E.M.M.I. and boss battle tips, and other helpful tips to help you get through the game and get those post-game unlocks.