Promoting itself as a Deep-Space Shootout, the game is one of the 12 Nintendo-themed subgames accessible from the main hub of Nintendo Land. It is a multiplayer competitive and cooperative shooter game for up to five players: four of them controlling controlling Miis dressed as Samus Aran (each player wearing the Varia Suit, Fusion Suit, Green Samus, or Gravity Suit) using Wii Remote+ & Nunchuk, and the remaining player piloting Samus Aran's Gunship with the Wii U GamePad. This attraction is one of the few that also allows solo play, with either the Wii Remote+ & Nunchuk or the GamePad available for the lone player.
The Wii Remote players play on the main TV, with using motion control for aiming and the Nunchuk for movement. The GamePad user plays on their own screen, using a dual analog and gyro configuration to control the ship's altitude, aiming, and movement at once.
The Metroid Blast attraction offers three basic game modes: Assault Mission, Surface-Air Combat (known as Land vs Air in PAL versions), and Ground Battle.
In Assault Mission, 1 to 5 players can engage in various challenges as a team, many of them involving defeating waves of incoming enemies. Completing mission "20. The Final Battle" for the first time will earn the Star Player rank for the Metroid Blast attraction.
Surface-Air Combat and Ground Battle are competitive game modes, where 2 to 5 players (2 to 4 in Ground Battle) battle against each other in a traditional Deathmatch game. On Ground Battle, only Wii Remote players will participate, with the GamePad acting as the "LIVE" camera. Completing levels from Assault Mission unlocks additional set rules for both of these game modes.
- The Morph Ball, allows faster movement while becoming a smaller target but Samus is kicked out if shot.
- The Grapple Beam, deploys from the left arm while being carried around by the Gunship, it launches from the right arm when used on grapple points.
- Zoom, featuring the same HUD used in Other M.
- Dodge, by a shake of the Wii Remote.
- A charge shot that fires a Charge Bomb.
- A quick dash move in the direction the control stick is pointing, has a short recharge time.
- A charge shot that fires a Missile in a straight line.
- A Zoom-in feature using the left trigger.
Five stages are available in the Surface-Air Combat and Ground Battle modes; the majority of Assault Mission levels are also set in these stages.
Assault Mission features an additional unnamed stage that is not playable in Surface-Air Combat or Ground Battle. It features a similar aesthetic to the Training Zone, with dark surfaces highlighted by a neon blue grid pattern. The tutorial takes place here, as well as missions "1. First Contact" and "29. On Familiar Ground".
This Training Zone evokes the appearance of a virtual world, with black structures covered with neon-colored grid patterns. The center of the stage is a large tower displaying an 8-bit Metroid larva sprite from Metroid. An original adventurous theme always plays on this stage.
- "Space Port" redirects here. For the room in Metroid: Other M, see Spaceport.
The Space Port is set in a nighttime setting, appearing as a base full of crates, spotlights, and high-tech towers. Brinstar (Metroid) plays on this stage, unless players are battling Ridley in Assault Mission.
The Volcanic Sector is set around a large pit of lava in the center. In Assault Mission, Kraid is always battled in this stage, where he occupies the lava pool. Magmoor Caverns plays on this stage, unless players are battling Kraid in Assault Mission.
The Sea Tower is a large rig floating on a sea of purple liquid, featuring several color-coded levels rising up to the purple central tower. This may be a Space Pirate base, since Zebesians are always fought here during Assault Mission. An original woodwind theme always plays on this stage.
The Ice Sector is an ice-covered cavern, with additional tunnels below. A Chozo Statue can be found on this stage, usually with an item pickup in front of it. An original winter theme plays on this stage, unless players are battling Ridley in Assault Mission.
Several items appear inside a floating crystal-like container. Shooting the container will drop the item, allowing Samus Miis to collect them. Gunship Miis can simply fly into the container to pick up the item. However, if an item is shot outside of its container, it will disappear.
- Life +1: A healing heart that replenishes one hit point. These may also be dropped from defeated enemies.
- Shield: An invincibility shield that last 10 seconds. Randomly acquired from a Question Mark.
- Rapid-Fire Helmet: A helmet that increases the normal beam firing rate. If the user gets hit while wearing this helmet, they will lose the upgrade but will not take damage from the attack. Randomly acquired from a Question Mark.
- Ice Charge Shot: An upgrade that replaces the default charge shot for a freezing shot that charges and travels faster than the Charge Bomb or Missile, but deals no damage. Unlike all other items, these are not contained in containers and are placed in predetermined locations in the stage during select missions.
- Golden Helmet: If Miis have failed a mission twice, Monita will offer a helmet that doubles the user's hit points and firing rate. However, a mission cannot be Mastered if this assist item is used.
The game presents a variety of classic and original Metroid enemies to defeat in Assault Mission mode. Every attraction in Nintendo Land has a distinct aesthetic theme; in Metroid Blast, being a Sci-Fi game, all the enemies are animatronic versions of the real creatures. Each enemy has a weak spot in its chest, represented by a "On-Off" power button: red buttons must be shot once, yellow buttons must be shot twice, and blue buttons must be shot thrice.
Geemers are ground enemies that can walk over walls and chase Miis. They come in three types: green (1 hit point), purple (3 hit points, can fire homing Rockets), and red (1 hit point, will explode with a large blast radius when destroyed).
Based on the Space Pirates seen in the 2D Metroid games and Other M, Zebesians are grounded or flying enemies with ranged and melee attacks. They come in multiple variants: normal (3 hit points), ice (can fire freezing shots, which can freeze other enemies as well), red (3 hits from the front and 3 on the back are required to defeat them), and sniper (only 1 hit point, but with increased range and accuracy). Normal and ice variants may be either grounded or flying; the red and sniper variants are only grounded.
An airborne enemy, the Cyclon floats slowly around the area until threatened, when it turns into a whirlwind and chases the player. They are vulnerable to normal shots only when they expose their weak spot, but a charge shot can destroy them at any time.
The Cyclon Queen is a larger version of a Cyclon, which constantly summons Cyclons to protect itself. To damage it, the players have to wait until it opens its two halves and exposes its weak spot (similar to Spore Spawn). It requires 3 hits to be defeated.
The Metroid hovers through the area searching for the players. If it finds one, it charges forward to it in a straight line. The only way to destroy them is using the Ice Charge Shot to freeze them, then shoot at its three separate hit points in its nuclei. If they grab onto a player, there is no way to shake it off. If an ally Mii is grabbed by a Metroid, they can be shot by a player to force them to safely let go of the Mii.
Kraid is the boss in three missions. He occupies the center of the Volcanic Sector and has a 360 degree of range. Unlike the rest of the enemies, Kraid is stationary and can only rotate on its own axis. His attacks are mostly long-range projectiles, with more attacks used as the battle progresses. They include:
- Explosive spinning claws thrown from his hands.
- Rockets fired from his shoulders.
- Releasing Zebesian Space Pirates on platforms springing out from his body.
- Lasers fired from various locations on his body.
- Bullets fired from various locations on his body.
- Energy spheres fired from various locations on his body.
To damage Kraid, players have to hit him in the nose, and then fire a charged shot directly to his throat so it flies down inside his chest. After every three direct hits, he will rise higher and higher from the lava, revealing more weapons and targets spread across his body.
If there is at least one Wii Remote player plus a GamePad player, the Mii with the Gunship can carry the Samus Mii right into Kraid's throat and let the Mii fall directly inside his chest, allowing the Samus Mii to directly damage the weakpoint with standard beam fire.
Ridley is the boss in four missions, and appears as an assist enemy in others. In addition to his color scheme being derived from his original Metroid sprite, Ridley's in-game depiction appears to have been inspired by Meta Ridley, as his attacks and battle theme are similar to his Metroid Prime counterpart. His attacks include:
- A long and very accurate plasma laser beam.
- Multiple plasma shots fired from his mouth.
- Multiple Rockets fired from his back.
- Spike Bomb carpeting the area.
- A forward thrust of his retractable tail.
- Deploying his right hand to grab the Mii. If a Mii is successfully grabbed, Ridley holds the Mii up to his mouth and breathes plasma at them, similar to one of his attacks in Zero Mission.
- Firing plasma shots from his left hand.
To damage Ridley, the players have to hit his many weak spots, located in his mouth, chest, tail, and hands. Once all of these hit spots have been damaged enough, another large weak spot appears on his back side, and this spot is the one that lowers Ridley's health. This sequence has to be performed thrice to defeat him. If Ridley does not have a displayed health bar, then it may not be possible to defeat him during that mission; for example, during mission "7. Destroy 10 Cyclons", he will fly away after the buttons on his mouth, chest, and tail have been destroyed.
Later missions introduce Ice Ridley, whose attacks gain freezing properties. In mission "28. Ridley and Ice Ridley", both versions of Ridley will fight the players at once.
The final bonus mission, "30. The True Final Battle", has Ridley fighting alongside Kraid. Since Ridley will keep regenerating his armor, only Kraid can actually be defeated, and doing so will cause both bosses to explode simultaneously.
- A Metroid-themed game called Battle Mii was shown at E3 2011, which would later become Metroid Blast.
- Metroid Blast was originally designed as a Star Fox attraction, but the helicopter-like controls of the ship were not conducive to the Arwing.