Metroid Prime: Blast Ball

Though Metroid Prime: Federation Force is still a little while away on 3DS, Nintendo has surprised owners of the portable with the sudden release of Metroid Prime: Blast Ball as a free download on the eShop, giving players an early chance to try out the controls of the new entries and to engage in some futuristic sci-fi sports.

The eShop arrival in Europe is the full game, so that includes local and online multiplayer options. Two teams of three scrap it out and shoot away at the enormous orb referenced in the title, aiming to score the most points not only through shooting the ball but also each other; buffs and items are also intended to disrupt the action.

In North America, however, the equivalent download is branded as a 'demo', because the online multiplayer servers will be switched over to the retail version when it launches. So while the download seems to be a gift of sorts in Europe, in North America it's more of a free early-access option ahead of the full retail release of Federation Force. The following is from Nintendo of America's press release:

Even better, as of right now Nintendo 3DS owners who visit Nintendo eShop can download Blast Ball, the game's friendly competitive multiplayer mode! Fans can battle it out complete with online support, and even compete with players who own the full game once it launches. In early September, the multiplayer servers will switch over to support the full game only.

Are you planning to check this one out? Let us know, and be sure to check out our hands on impressions of Metroid Prime: Federation Force.