Metroidvania Games

Taking its name from a portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania, a “Metroidvania” game denotes an experience that involves exploring a huge map, leveling up a character, collecting power-ups and armor upgrades as you do, and generally having a free-form structure to its progression in a 2D or 3D space combining horizontal and vertical elements.

A better definition is that a “Metroidvania” is a “I know it when I see it” type of game. The two titles that gave rise to the subgenre, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid, are perhaps still some of the best examples of what constitutes a Metroidvania title to this day but modern takes like Axiom Verge and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night also offer good archetypes for how to judge what is and is not a Metroidvania title.

In another sense, Metroidvania games combine the platforming action of games like Metroid and Castlevania with the role-playing game elements found in titles like Final Fantasy or even more accurately Secret of Mana. This combination of platforming and action RPG serves as the underlying basis for a lot of the gameplay in Metroidvania titles.

Naturally, exploration and some form of “quest” also form a core part of the experience but really Metroidvania games are defined by their gameplay execution more than they are any particular narrative. This makes the Metroidvania moniker malleable and the format applicable to a wide range of different game types and, as a descriptor, can render it somewhat vague and imprecise though, again, people know one when they see one.

Dark Devotion

Dark Devotion

Dark Devotion is a Metroidvania style game that has plenty of RPG elements and rouge like ones too sprinkled all over it. If you are a fan of 2D sprite-based games in this genre, Dark Devotion is ...

Supraland

Supraland

The moment I saw “a mix between Portal, Zelda, and Metroid” I was sold on Supraland. One of the most amazing things about Supraland is the fact that this game was made by just one person! When you ...

Guacamelee! 2

Editor's choice
Guacamelee! 2

The first Guacamelee! (2013) was a game that I loved. I like wrestling, I like platforming and I like games that have a weird sense of humor. Guacamelee ticked all of those boxes and the sequel ...

Touhou Luna Nights

Touhou Luna Nights

I know that Touhou Luna Nights is one of the weirdest sounding names you will ever hear. However, if you are a fan of 2D action and exploration Metroidvania type of games, Touhou Luna Nights is a ...

The Messenger

The Messenger

Modern game developers can't help but look to the past for inspiration, and indie devs can't help but do it as well. And The Messenger that we are reviewing today with its pixelated graphics looks ...

Iconoclasts

Iconoclasts

Action platformers are a dime a dozen these days. But the downloadable title Iconoclasts, as the name implies, does things a little bit differently. It doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, ...

Rabi-Ribi

Rabi-Ribi

Rabi-Ribi is a 2D downloadable side-scrolling metroidvania, with plenty of platforming and bullet-hell elements thrown on top for good measure. Developed by CreSpirit and GemaYue, with CreSpirit's ...

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a downloadable action video game developed and published by the Australian company known as Team Cherry. The game was officially and initially released on 24th February 2017. Hollow ...

Death’s Gambit

Death’s Gambit

Death's Gambit is an action-RPG game developed by White Rabbit. The game is published by Adult Swim Games and was officially released on 14th August 2018. The game enables players to play as the ...