Metroidvanias are a hugely popular type of video game. Despite being classified as “action-adventure” games, Metroidvanias have their own distinct gameplay structure that combines features from the Metroid series and the Castlevania series; hence the name.
Metroidvanias have seen a resurgence in popularity as both indie and AAA studios try to innovate on a tried-and-true formula.
We’ve listed a few of the finest Metroidvania titles available today.
Make sure to check back later, as we plan to add more titles to this list.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Windows PC and Xbox One
Ori and the Blind Forest, a Metroidvania platformer developed by Moon Studios, will get things rolling. Both Ori, a white guardian spirit resembling a fox, and Sein, a fairy, are playable characters in the game. When used together, their unique skills help the player overcome obstacles and overcome enemies.
Later in the game, Ori and Sein will unlock new abilities that will allow you to access previously inaccessible areas.
Despite the game’s emphasis on story, the platforming is just as challenging as that of Super Meat Boy, and requires a lot of quick thinking.
Game Consoles: PC, PS4, and Switch
Fans of 8-bit and 16-bit games are the most likely to enjoy The Messenger, a Metroidvania.
The majority of the game is a tribute to classic side-scrolling games like Ninja Gaiden and classic Metroidvania games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
You take on the role of a ninja who must climb a mountain and deliver an ancient scroll while dodging supernatural enemies and deadly traps.
As you progress, you’ll learn to “cloudstep” and gain access to new areas via a variety of new abilities and tools, such as a grappling hook and the ability to glide.
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.
Dead Cells is an exciting 2D roguelike that borrows heavily from the Metroidvania genre. Finding blueprints that will let you craft better equipment while under constant attack from groups of enemies is the main focus of the game.
When you die, you start over at the beginning with a few more items than you had before. This will allow you to gradually improve your skills and equipment before your next run, allowing you to explore more deeply and discover more secrets.
Dead Cells’ combat is brutal, so you’ll need to be on the move and able to judge when to strike.
Hardware: Personal Computer, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
Hollow Knight has already established itself as a classic among Metroidvania games. The game’s protagonist is a masked knight with a silent sword who sets out to discover the secrets of Hallownest, a sinister and treacherous land that promises great rewards to those who dare to venture into its perilous depths.
The 2D action-platformer does a fantastic job of reimagining the Metroidvania genre by rewarding the player for venturing into vast environments in search of hidden secrets and collectibles.
Moreover, exploring various loadouts enables you to min/max and access previously inaccessible areas.
SteamWorld Dig 2
We support PC, PS4, Switch, Vita, and 3DS.
SteamWorld Dig 2 is a 2D Metroidvania that vastly improves upon its predecessor in every way. After the protagonist of the first game, Rusty, goes missing, you take control of Dorothy, a steam-powered robot miner, and send her on a mission to find him.
However, like most Metroidvanias, SteamWorld Dig 2’s story is merely a means to an end: the game’s addictive gameplay loop, which has you exploring ever-deeper mines in search of valuable resources to be sold in exchange for new gear and upgrades. As you upgrade your equipment, you’ll be able to venture deeper into the mines, where you’ll find both greater difficulty and richer loot.
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
Guacamelee! 2, the sequel to the acclaimed 2D Metroidvania starring mighty luchadores, stays true to its predecessor while adding some welcome improvements. Set seven years after the events of the first Guacamelee!, the sequel sees an older and out-of-shape luchador Juan called back into action when a new enemy from an alternate timeline threatens to destroy the entire Mexiverse.
Although many of the game’s mechanics will be familiar to those who played the original, the experience will feel new thanks to tweaks to the game’s progression and an increased number of moves available for chicken transformations. The game features a plethora of new enemies, skills, and abilities, as well as expansive, beautiful, and painstakingly crafted worlds that dwarf those in the original.
Blaster Master Zero
Available on PC, 3DS, and Switch.
Sunsoft’s Blaster Master Zero is an incredible reimagining of the classic NES game. The Japanese studio Inti Creates aimed to make a faithful remake, which plays like an easier version of the original.
You take control of SOPHIA, a multi-purpose tank you’ll use to blast your way through enemies and explore the game’s side-scrolling levels, just like in the NES version.
In addition to controlling Jason, a robotics scientist armed with a laser pistol, from within the tank, players can eject from the vehicle and take direct control of Jason. While Jason’s firepower and mobility are inferior to those of SOPHIA’s, he has access to some rooms and hallways that the tank does not.
Within these more contained areas, Jason must use his pistol to shoot enemies and collect rewards from an overhead perspective rather than the traditional 2D side-scrolling view.
The Mummy Demastered
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
Games that are based on movies aren’t made as often as they used to be, especially if the game does better than the movie it’s promoting. Both of these requirements are met by The Mummy Demastered, a 2D Metroidvania that manages to be quite good.
The pixel art game heavily draws inspiration from classics like Castlevania and Ghosts ‘n Goblins.
You take on the role of a secret agent on a mission to track down Princess Ahmanet and her monster army. Every time you die, you start over as a fresh character, but you can win back your old stuff by defeating a zombieized version of yourself. Two different endings to the game’s story are available, and the game’s soundtrack is reminiscent of classic 8-bit games.
Games for PC, PS4, Switch, and Vita
Timespinner is a unique Metroidvania game with a focus on story that takes its cues from the best action-platformers of the 1990s. You take on the role of Lunais, a timekeeper out for vengeance after the evil Lachiem Empire kills her family. In order to prevent the Lachiem Empire from spreading, Lunais must use her time-traveling abilities after being transported to an alien world.
As you destroy enemies and level up your character’s abilities, you’ll get to explore gorgeous pixel art worlds from both the past and the present.
Learning to manipulate time like Lunais does opens up new avenues of attack, and the enigmatic creatures known as Familiars, which can be trained to fight on your side, add even more depth to your arsenal.
Available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and Vita.
Taking cues from the popular side-scrolling games of the ’90s, Axiom Verge borrows heavily from well-known series like Contra, Bionic Commando, and Metroid. Your character, Trace, is a scientist who suffers a debilitating injury and then wakes up in a high-tech, ancient world teeming with hostile creatures.
The game’s focus is on combat and exploration, with Trace able to use over 60 items and power-ups that alter the course of battles. This is just one of the many ways in which Axiom Verge improves upon the Metroidvania formula and sets itself apart from its forebears.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
Multiple consoles and handhelds are supported, including PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and 3DS.
Continuing the saga of the half-human, half-genie protagonist, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is the third game in the series. Playing the role of Shantae, you must once again defend Sequin Land from a new enemy: the Pirate Master, who has joined forces with Risky Boots, her archenemy.
After losing her genie abilities in the previous game, Risky’s Revenge, Shantae must collect items from various islands in order to restore her genie powers in Pirate’s Curse. As you acquire more and more pirate gear, including a cannon that gives Shantae a higher jump, you’ll unlock new areas that were previously inaccessible.
A Robot Named Fight!
Computer and Nintendo Switch
The next in line is a Metroidvania-inspired Roguelike in which players navigate randomly generated worlds filled with unique obstacles, weapons, and bosses on each playthrough. You play the part of a lone robot on a mission to eliminate the evil Megabeast.
In terms of visuals and gameplay, A Robot Named Fight! clear inspiration from previous Metroidvania games while also finding its own identity in the current gaming landscape.
There is a lot of replay value in this game thanks to the combination of permadeath and a seemingly infinite number of modifiers, and completing achievements unlocks new content.
Metroid: Samus Returns
Digital Nintendo 3DS
There needs to be at least one game from the original series for the term if this list is to be considered complete. The Game Boy classic Metroid II: Return of Samus was remade into Metroid: Samus Returns. You take on the role of Samus Aran, protagonist of the series, and embark on a mission to eradicate the parasitic Metroids from their home planet, as ordered by the Galactic Federation.
The game is faithful to the original in terms of story and structure, and it adds a number of new features such as Samus’s ability to counterattack with her melee attack for increased damage, the ability to fire from any direction, and updated 3D models that mesh well with the 2D side-scrolling perspective of the original.
Systems: Personal Computer and Nintendo Switch
In Gato Roboto, a cute little indie Metroidvania, players take control of a mech suit piloted by a cat who must rescue their stranded captain and his ship. You arrive on an alien world and immediately begin exploring a vast underground complex of cutting-edge technology while overcoming any challenges you encounter.
You’ll unlock new areas and weapons as you progress through the game. Gato Roboto’s fluid combat and traversal mechanics, along with its lo-fi aesthetic, make it a worthy Metroidvania for any fan of the genre, despite the experience’s relative brevity (around 3-4 hours).
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Video Game Consoles: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Pro, PlayStation 4, and PC
We felt it only fair to include a game that had some connection to the second franchise that coined the term “Metroidvania” after we had already included a Metroid game on this list.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, directed by former Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi, is a spiritual successor to games like Symphony of the Night and Order of the Ecclesia.
The protagonist, an orphan who was taken in and experimented on by the Alchemists’ Guild in 18th-century England, uses her supernatural abilities to rid a castle of its demon infestation.
Miriam’s ability to progress through the castle and defeat increasingly difficult enemies is enhanced by the player’s ability to forge and equip her with new weapons and armor as she travels.
Three Platforms: Computer, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch
One of the best modern Metroidvanias, Cave Story does a fantastic job of paying tribute to the genre’s pioneers. Quote, the robot you control, has woken up with amnesia and must now blast his way through a series of caves in an effort to piece together his history.
By improving his weapons and completing various platforming puzzles, Quote gains access to previously inaccessible areas. Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya, a lone Japanese programmer, is credited with creating the game, which is regarded by many as the pinnacle of independent video games due to its compelling story and characters and significant impact on subsequent Metroidvanias.
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Video Game Consoles: Personal Computers, PlayStation 4, and Switch
In Dust: An Elysian Tail, you’ll explore a fantasy world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals in a Metroidvania-style platforming adventure. You play as Dust, an amnesiac swordsman who discovers the Blade of Ahrah and its guardian, Fidget. Fidget advises Dust to save the world from the evil forces led by General Gaius, so Dust does just that.
The primary goal of discovery is to collect power-ups that improve Dust’s stats, allowing him to progress further and dealing more damage. The game has received high marks for both its colorful visual style and its satisfying brawler-style combat.
F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch
At the time this summary was written, F.I.S.T. : Forged in Shadow Tech had just been released to the public. During gameplay, players are dropped into Torch City, a once-thriving metropolis populated by fauna. Torch City was destroyed, however, when an army of robots attacked it. Rayton learns that his friends have been arrested because they refused to conform to the new way of life. It’s time to put on the uniform again and organize a resistance war in an effort to vanquish the legion. In this 2.5D video game, players search for and use various exotic weapons to defeat dangerous foes. You can unlock a variety of weapons, including a giant mechanical fist, drills, and whips, as you play through the game. It’s all about selecting the appropriate tool for the job at hand. Exploring this virtual world will involve a lot of fights, puzzles, and platforming.
Metroidvania game Sundered draws influence from Lovecraftian horror. In this game, the player assumes the role of Eshe, a woman stranded in the desert. Suddenly, the players are sucked into a completely different and alien underworld. Here, we discover the history of the once-warring underground civilization. Players must now brave the underworld and try to seize control from the two opposing forces that have thrown it into disarray. Like many of the games on this list, it makes use of several Metroidvania tropes, and by the end, players have a choice between three different endings.
Gameplay in Shadow Complex takes place in 2.5 dimensions, and it was originally released exclusively for the Xbox 360. The game was originally released on PC, but has since been ported to consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Overall, Jason and Claire, a couple, embark on a cave exploration adventure in this game. Yet, all of a sudden, Claire disappears, and Jason uncovers a vast underground complex teeming with soldiers. If Jason wants to find Claire and get out of here alive, he’ll have to do some exploring in the complex and eliminate any threats he encounters. The underground complex bunker is filled with advanced equipment Jason can use to overcome enemies and explore the world.
Grime is a challenging Metroidvania game in the vein of Souls, complete with a strange story. The story is a little vague, and you play what amounts to a statue-like man with a black hole for a brain. Meanwhile, everything around you is, for lack of a better word, grotesque and strange. Along the way, you’ll run into a diverse cast of characters and uncover intriguing backstory. Exploring the world, collecting treasures, making platforming jumps, and defeating bosses to unlock new abilities all make for solid gameplay. Similar to the Souls series, you’ll spend some time in the inventory screen learning about your various weapons, armor, and stats before moving on to the next major boss fight.
When compared to the other games on this list, Blasphemous is fairly recent. New for 2019, this game transports you to an alternate history Middle Ages where you play the role of a masked knight who must remain silent throughout the entire adventure. Cvstodia and its inhabitants have fallen victim to a terrible plague. If you manage to escape a massacre, you might be the only one left to rid the land of its evil foes. A bloody adventure with lots of fighting, discovering new places, and uncovering hidden mysteries. For some, the game’s heavy emphasis on Souls-style Metroidvania may be off-putting, but for those who are patient, it has the potential to be an exciting adventure.
BloodStained: Ritual of the Night
A game created by Castlevania series creator Koji Igarashi is, of course, a strong candidate for inclusion here. For those curious, I’m referring to Koji’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. It’s a Metroidvania-style game in which you’ll scavenge for weapons and armor and create your own. As such, it contains the standard elements of a Castlevania game. In the meantime, the plot revolves around a young girl named Miriam who is cursed by an alchemist. Miriam, whose skin is slowly turning to crystal, must explore a strange castle in order to locate the summoner responsible for the curse.
Salt and Sanctuary
It’s not surprising that clones of Souls have appeared on the market. This configuration of the game’s mechanics is extremely difficult and punishing. Salt and Sanctuary is another Souls-like game that combines Metroidvania elements with brutal, punishing combat. You play the part of a sailor who finds himself cast ashore on a mysterious island at night. Our hero has no one to rely on as he or she braves the land, full of deadly traps and hostile enemies. To win, you’ll need to avoid attacks or parry them successfully.
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
In 2006, we got a brand new Castlevania game for the Nintendo DS. So, that was Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. This book transports the reader back to 1944, in the midst of World War II. The feud between Dracula and the Belmont family is a well-known one at this point. This installment differs from the rest in that there are paintings for sale all over the castle. Different parts of the castle can be accessed through these paintings, which act as portals. This makes navigating the building a bit of a puzzle, with frequent exploration and backtracking required, but that’s part of what makes Metroidvania games so unique and enjoyable.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is one of the last Castlevania games available for the Nintendo DS. This was also one of the newest games in the series as a whole. This game came out in 2008, and after Castlevania: Lords of Shadow came out in 2010, we had a few years before the next major release. The story in this game follows the events of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but it is set in the 1800s. Multiple new orders are formed after the disappearance of the Belmonts in preparation for the eventual return of Dracula. You’re going to be playing the part of Shanoa, one of the most promising new recruits to the Ecclesia order. The ritual that would have given her the ability to defeat Dracula was interrupted before it could take place. Finding the missing Ritual pages is the only way to prevent Dracula’s return and restore Shanoa’s memory and emotions.
Rogue Legacy is unlike any other game you have probably played. After each hero death, you must quickly find a replacement in this game. But everyone has their own set of genetic quirks. Colorblindness and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are just two examples. After your character dies, the story will continue with whoever comes next. Because the game’s levels are procedurally generated, you’ll always be able to experience something new. If you frequently restart your game and enter the same castle, for instance, you may notice that the layout of the building has changed. Is it possible that you might not be the one to save the castle from the forces of darkness? Fortunately, your hard-earned gold will carry over to the next hero when you die, giving them a slight advantage. Don’t get me wrong, though; there are still secrets to find within the castle.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
In 2002, the first game in the Shantae series was released, but the series didn’t really take off again until 2010. This year we had Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. To play a Shantae game, you’ll assume the role of Shantae, a half-genie who has sworn to defend the land from any evil that may threaten it. By the time we got to The Pirate’s Curse, however, Shantae had given up her genie powers and started living like a regular human. It doesn’t take long for the new “mayor” to start attacking the land, so naturally things aren’t going well. As a result, Shantae is compelled to travel the world in search of valuable pirate loot and an opportunity to restore peace to the land.
In addition to providing a traditional Metroidvania experience, Axiom Verge also aspires to visually evoke the style of classic Super Nintendo games. In Axiom Verge, players take on the role of a scientist who is involved in a terrifying laboratory accident. Our protagonist has been transported to a strange new planet where he must now fight for his survival. Our scientist must scavenge for all available power-ups to protect themselves from dangerous enemies and open locked doors, as they never know what lies around the next corner. Axiom Verge is a great option if you want a game that feels like a throwback but plays like a modern one. However, the game can be difficult if you don’t stock up on weapons.
Guacamelee 1 2
Players of Guacamelee assume the role of Juan Aguacate, a diligent farmer. Juan embarks on a journey to meet Lupita, the daughter of El Presidente, his prospective fiancee. Unfortunately, everything quickly unravels as a malicious skeleton appears out of nowhere and abducts Lupita. Now that panic has spread throughout the village, Juan must come to its rescue. At least he tries to defend himself, because he doesn’t survive the fight. Juan is lucky because he meets a legendary luchador while exploring the underworld, and the luchador gives him a magical luchador mask. As a result of receiving these extraordinary abilities, Juan sets out to track down the dreadful villain and vanquish him for good. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the game, a sequel was released not long after the first one, picking up right where the first one left off. As expected, we won’t reveal any plot details here.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
The Ender Lilies installment, Quietus of the Knights, is the newest game on this list. In 2021, the game finally came out, and it immediately became a huge success for the independent developer. It’s a Metroidvania game, and it quickly became one of the best in its genre to come out in 2021. Here, we play the part of Lily, a young woman who finds herself waking up in a church after a long nap. Realizing the entire kingdom has been transformed into terrifying monsters by a mysterious curse, the citizens begin to investigate. You must now defeat these foes in order to restore peace to the region. The gameplay resembles that of Hollow Knight, but with less emphasis on platforming. When facing off against foes or bosses, you have a variety of options for how to attack them. In the meantime, Lily will have to venture out into the vast kingdom to learn its many secrets.
Several independently developed games will become massive hits and endure. Cave Story is one of those games that became immensely popular upon its initial release and still attracts players today. In this game, the player assumes the role of a young boy who finds himself awakened in a cave. Our hero, who has been hiding in a cave, accidentally stumbles upon a town and has no idea who he is or how he got there. It is here that we learn the Mimigas populace is in danger from a terrifying scientist. To save the Mimiga from oblivion, this young man must now seek out weapons and armor to use against their enemies. If you’re looking for this game for the first time, it’s recommended that you seek out the Cave Story release, which is a remastered edition with high-definition visuals and an all-new score.
Metroid: Zero Mission
Within the timeline of the story, Metroid: Zero Mission is an early video game release. Launched in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance, this installment quickly became a fan favorite. While not every Metroid game is considered a classic, Zero Mission is often listed among the series’ best. This is a remake of the first Metroid game, released in 1986, and it improves upon the original in terms of both graphics and gameplay. This time around, we follow Samus Aran as she battles space pirates on the planet Zebes. This game not only released a remake of the first installment, but it also introduced new areas, items, bosses, and tweaked the narrative slightly to give players a little more context for our protagonist.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
For the first time, the Castlevania series was brought to the Nintendo DS in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. This 2005 release was the sequel to the previous Castlevania game, Aria of Sorrow. Standard Castlevania elements were present, and the story focused on the events that occurred after the events of Aria of Sorrow. The death of Dracula gave Soma Cruz the opportunity to assume his mantle of power. Soma, on the other hand, managed to keep himself from becoming the evil overlord. Now a cult has formed with the sole purpose of eliminating Soma Cruz in order to free a new evil overlord. Though it was well-liked and played much like its predecessors, this game introduced a novel mechanic. The Tactical Soul architecture was the name for it. A Nintendo DS stylus would be used to draw various seal patterns, which would then be used to defend against various foes. Even if the game’s platforming mechanic for the Nintendo DS was just a gimmick, the release was a success.
Many gamers’ introductions to the Metroid series likely came with Super Metroid. In 1994, for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, this game was released. Fans of the series consider it a classic entry in the series. The plot revolves around Samus escaping from a space pirate with a kidnapped Metroid creature. Meanwhile, the game mechanics remained unchanged from the previous two entries. In this game, you’ll have to do a lot of looking around, fighting off alien enemies and bosses, and finding useful items to help you on your journey. Still, this game introduced some fresh elements to the series. There was a minimap to help you navigate the game, and Samus’s shots could go in any direction.
In Blasphemous, you play as The Penitent One, the sole survivor of a terrible ordeal, who must explore and execute enemies in the near hellish world of Cvstodia. Your mission is straightforward: free yourself from hell forever. Easy enough, right? The knight shall battle with the sword Mea Culpa through waves of enemies. Combat is challenging and adds to the game’s sense of urgency, which is heightened by the harsh environment.
Since its release, Blasphemous has established itself as a must-play title thanks to its impressive combination of satisfying but brutal combat, glorious art style, and even soundtrack.
Steamworld Dig 2
SteamWorld Dig took a novel tack with the metroidvania genre, which made it stand out. In fact, it straddled multiple genres, serving as both a platformer and an RPG while also deftly capitalizing on the recent uptick in popularity of mining simulation games. All of these concepts came together in the form of a beautiful little story about a robot mining community in the desert of a post-apocalyptic Earth, and it was originally released on the desperately-needed-something-like-this 3DS. You took control of Rusty, whose mission it was to delve into the rocky depths of the planet in search of treasure, defeat enemies, and discover the truth about his past. The more ore you extracted, the more money you had to invest in better mining machinery and thus the more of the map you could explore.
But critically, it wasn’t a 2D Minecraft of aimless digging; rather, it was a plotted tale, with set goals along your improvised routes down, and a carefully arced set of gadgets and talents that meant everything unfolded in a distinctively metroidvaniary fashion.
Not that kind of game, though. We have chosen SteamWorld Dig 2 (2017) not because it is radically different from the original, but because it is a more polished and well-executed version of the same idea. This time around, you play as Dorothy, a supporting character from the original game, and you’re tasked with scouring the depths of a brand-new town for hints on where to find the vanished Rusty. And since it knows what it’s doing, it skips right over the boring parts and gets to the interesting platforming and metroidvania elements that made SteamWorld Dig so great. Furthermore, a hookshot.
Steamworld Dig 2 is not a challenging game; in fact, it’s great for the whole family. And in doing so, it helpfully shows that boss fights and other challenges are not essential to the fun of a metroidvania. The game’s goal is for you to complete it while having a fantastic time.
When you consider how peaceful and lovely Aquaria is, the fact that it won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the IGF awards seems almost quaint. That it did, however, is cause for great relief. Aquaria’s unique blend of traditional Metroidvania exploration and a mesmerizing singing-based spell system made for a truly remarkable experience.
Examining the people involved reveals the reasoning behind it. Mr. Spelunky’s creator, Derek Yu, and Night in the Woods’s co-creator, Alec Holowka, were both responsible for outstanding works in 2017. The combination of their intellects gave the seemingly simple Aquaria a level of sophistication and power that has been matched by very few imitators.
Unlike usual MV fare, jumping isn’t a vital part of this one because the entire thing takes place below the surface of the water. Instead of directly interacting with game objects and enemies, your character, Naija, sings in colors to interact with the underwater life and to cast spells. The end result is a game with a haunting score and a surprising sense of isolation, making for an atmosphere that is equal parts peaceful and melancholy.
Already in 2012, Adam was referring to video games with the phrase “Dark Souls but. You have to hand it to him; he’s way out in front of the curve. His favorite game, La-Mulana, was described as “Dark Souls as a retro platform game,” which would require careful planning and would punish those who were too confident. ”
It was released in Japan in 2005 as a homage to games for the MSX, the predecessor to the Nintendo GameCube. To pay homage to the 16-bit era, it was later remade for the Wii and released for the PC in 2012.
What makes it stand out is how much faith it puts in the player. The Indiana Jones aesthetic belies a brutally challenging game, one in which you’ll want to keep detailed notes and draw maps at all times. Rushing forward will cause you to miss important details and become stuck, as everything in the game has been carefully placed for a reason. In a refreshing departure from the gaming norm, it puts faith in the player to improve their performance by paying attention and picking up on clues along the way.
Environmental Station Alpha
Environmental Station Alpha pushes the limits of the low-fi Metroid homage by reducing itself to a minimum number of pixels while still creating a superbly entertaining game. However, it’s not one that holds up until the very end, which is a potential issue.
If you play a game for a long time and then realize you no longer enjoy it, should you still recommend it? This was a question we posed when writing our review. The question is whether or not it’s sufficient to say, “Hey, you’ll have a blast for a good long while, until you don’t any more,” or whether or not it must remain great throughout. ”
Because it is so incredibly effective until it isn’t, ESA is by far the most intriguing example to consider. The level design, which is crucial to MV games, is also exceptionally well-honed. The controls are responsive, the bosses are well-balanced, and the movement is smooth as silk. When you finally reach a point in the game where you have to make a major change in order to progress, the game suddenly becomes a fiddly mess of frustrating combat and busywork.
The first third is so brilliant and captivating that the film still earns our highest recommendation. Those who have been pushing themselves to their absolute limits will be relieved to see the final stages.
Owlboy showed up after a very long wait and did something crucial: he was beautiful. It has a lot of heart and is beautiful in its humor, intelligence, sadness, and originality. You might think that’s corny, and maybe it is, but in the world of video games, that’s a real treat.
It is also nuanced in its effect. The game has a quiet message, and it starts right from the get-go with a tutorial that gently puts you down and makes you feel like a beginner. It’s also hilarious, with a tone not dissimilar to the brilliant Mario & Luigi portable games.
Furthermore, my god does it ever pack an emotional wallop. When you reach a certain point in the game, you’ll want to talk about it with someone else who has also played. It’s beautifully made, with such expert design that you might miss some of its subtleties until you look back and marvel at how it avoided obvious flaws.
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Dust is as cheesy as it gets, with gruesomely voiced saccharine characters and merchants who say things like “I’ve been expecting you,” but the game’s combination of metroidvania structure and combo-based side-scrolling combat has won it a huge following. Because, in reality, a flying orange fox/bat thing with a voice like fingernails down a blackboard can be overlooked if the game is enjoyable to use. Just.
The combination of fawn-eyed flora and smashing billions of 2D monsters with a tornado-inducing sword creates a striking palette, making Dust look like a Disney animator lost his mind. Dean Dodrill, an illustrator, was largely responsible for creating the game, so that explains it. You play as Dust, who needs the help of the talking sword Ahrah to remember his past and prevent the destruction of the land of Falana (why do metroidvania games always have the same plots?). How did a description that sounded like it was coming straight out of a nightmare end up being the same thing?
However, this shines brightest in the ridiculously hectic fights, where you unleash waves of combos to boost your damage output and level up as quickly as possible. Accessing new areas is a natural consequence of gaining new abilities. With a few clicks, all 409 billion enemies are redistributed to previously visited areas. This isn’t the most challenging MV game out there; in fact, the most frustrating part is having to watch the non-skippable cutscenes with their accompanying screamed nonsense. Nonetheless, the rewards at intermediate levels are well worth the effort.
The game 1000 Amps is a must-play if you haven’t heard of any of the others on this list. This room-based metroidvania is surprisingly complex and difficult, despite the game’s minimalist visual style. Each area is initially in the dark, and you must maneuver your character to touch each light source in order to illuminate the area. If you jump as high as the lights allow in that room, of course. In addition, the more progress you’ve made in other parts of the game, the more lights you’ll be able to activate upon your return to previously inaccessible regions.
It would have been far more satisfying if it had been built as a straightforward puzzle game with a linear progression of levels. However, what really makes 1000 Amps stand out (fnarr) is how the game’s puzzle emphasis is placed in a metroidvania setting. There’s so much more to enjoy now that you can teleport back to previously explored regions and rethink your strategy in light of your newfound abilities. Because of this, it is undeniably a MV game, albeit one with a much stronger puzzle emphasis than is typical for the genre.
What’s more, it’s incredibly clever. The ever-expanding map with Metroid-style skill rooms, the mechanic whereby your jump height is determined by the light in a given room, and the fact that lights in a room will only stay lit if you are able to get all of them without changing location, all add up to make this something truly unique.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
The Mexican-themed visual extravaganza places an emphasis on strategic 2D close-up fighting and features a plethora of moves that flirt with the beat ’em up genre.
We can breathe a sigh of relief at the news of Guacamelee 2 because, if nothing else, it means that creators DrinkBox will break out of the seemingly endless cycle of remaking the original game. Guacamelee! came out first, followed by Guacamelee Gold and then Super Turbo Championship Edition. The most recent one improved the gameplay by introducing new levels, abilities, and a cooperative mode for up to four players.
However, its spirit and verve set it apart from the usually very straight-faced genre, even if it is still a little loose around the edges, a little scrappy, and the boss fights are often crazy difficulty spikes.
Zelda a Metroidvania?
Many games, such as The Legend of Zelda (1986), are incorrectly labeled as metroidvania due to a few common elements. Although it looks like a 2-D side-scrolling game, The Legend of Zelda is actually played from a top-down perspective.
Was Metroid Dread real?
The sequel to Metroid Fusion, titled Metroid Dread, has been in development for an extremely extended period of time but has never been released. Nonetheless, after waiting for nearly two decades, it has finally become a reality. Really. Earlier today, Nintendo revealed that the Switch version of Metroid Dread would be released on October 8th.
How long is Metroid Dread?
The main storyline of Metroid Dread can be completed in about eight and a half hours. You can expect to put in around 13 hours if you’re the type of gamer who wants to see everything.
Is Hollow Knight a Metroidvania?
Taking place in the fictional ancient kingdom of Hallownest, Hollow Knight is a 2D Metroidvania action adventure game. The player takes control of a knight that looks and acts like an insect and speaks not a word as he ventures through the underground world.