One of my favorite video game genres is Metroidvania. I like 2D platformers and Metroidvanias do a great job of combing 2D Platforming with progression and exploration. One of my favorite feelings in video games is going into early game areas where you struggled and going back later and destroying everything with ease. It makes you appreciate how much you have grown as a player but also how much your in-game character has grown as well.
Anyway, the purpose of this article is to do multiple things. Give me an outlet to talk about the games that I play but also give me a way to rank games because I like ranking things. However this is not a completed list, as I play more Metroidvanias, I’ll continue to add and update.
- Cyber Shadow
- Hollow Knight: Silk Song
- Shantae and the Seven Sirens
- The Messanger
- The Mummy Demastered
Momodora was on Xbox Gamepass so I gave the game a shot because why not? I played it for about an hour and I didn’t get it. It didn’t click with me so I stopped playing, deleted the game and haven’t thought about the game since.
11. Axiom Verge
I heard great things about this game and was hopeful that it would click with me. Unfortunately, the game just didn’t, I like Metroidvanias but I do not Metroid game. I prefer Castlevania over Metroid and Axiom Verge is very much in the vein of Metroid. So naturally, this game was not for me but I’m glad that I gave it a try.
10. Super Metroid
Super Metroid is an all-time classic and not to be controversial but I do not like it. The jump itself feels weird and floaty, you jump way too high. I like my characters in platformers to feel weighty and not floaty.
Not to mention, Super Metroid has the worst wall jump mechanics I have encountered in a video game. That may sound like hyperbole but I assure you, it’s not.
Lastly, I want to mention why I don’t like Super Metroid and that’s the combat. The game throws so many enemies at you but you have no reason to fight any of them. I hesitate to call the combat pointless but that’s how it feels to me. Without some type of reward, whether it’s experience or currency so I feel some sort of progression. Yes, I’m the reason why most games have progression systems in them. I love it.
9. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight is one of those games that will be high on most people’s Metroidvania lists but unfortunately not on mine. I prefer a difficult platformer over a game with difficult enemies and bosses. The more I played the game, the more I became frustrated with the game and its mechanics. I do want to give this game another chance but for the time being, it’s going to be low on my list (or high?).
This is the moment in the list where my feelings towards games move from disliked to liked.
A Metroidvania where you play as Wrestler, sign me up. This is my least favorite of the liked Metroidvania because although I did like the uniqueness of the world, the combat, and the platforming. I did not enjoy exploring the world. The game had a linear path and I stuck with that so, in that sense, the game does fail as a Metroidvania.
The unique hook of this game is the time mechanic. The in-game map is made twice, one map in the present and the other is in the past. That added a nice change of pace because although you are exploring the same areas twice, it was interesting to see how different the areas looked depending on the period you’re in.
The other notable aspect of the game was the combat. You don’t traditional weapons like a sword. You get 2 orbs that spiral around your character so you can mix and match, try different combinations that fit your playstyle. Anytime a game provides variety so the player can find a playstyle that fits them, I always appreciate it.
6. SteamWorld Dig
I did things a little backward, I played SteamWorld Dig 2 before playing SteamWorld Dig 1. Although there are some differences between the two games, the general loop is very similar and the sequel is objectively better in every way.
Good game, highly recommend trying it out. I would just recommend playing the 2nd one over this.
5. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The first time I played this game was in 2020 and I was blown away. This game has aged incredibly well and maybe the best PS1 game to play in the year 2020. A lot of PS1 games were discovering how to make games in 3D so although there are PS1 classics, most are good for the time and place. That is not the case for Symphony of the Night, this game is timeless and if you like 2D Metroidvania’s this will feel like a modern indie game.
This game also has my favorite weapon in games, combining the Shield Rod and the Alucard Shield is broken. It’s too powerful, once you get that combination you do not have to try anymore. It’s like in Mario games when you get the star, you don’t have to do anything. You just stand there, not taking damage and decimating the boss’s health bar. It’s great, I loved it.
4. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
This is the game where I finally realized that I like Metroidvanias. It sounds stupid but I played Metroidvanias that I liked without realizing that I like this genre. Now I’m a mission to play as many as I can because I can’t get enough of them (for now).
What makes this game so special is how wacky and weird it is. It’s full of all mechanics, enemies, and things that shouldn’t fit together in a cohesive experience but it all just works.
3. Ori and the Blind Forest
This is the moment in the list where games move from Good to Great.
There are so many amazing aspects of this game, between the art style, music and animation the game is the definition of Video Game Art. It’s so beautiful and I haven’t even addressed the elephant in the room which is the gameplay.
This is one of the best Platformers I have ever played, the way Ori (the games Protagonist) moves around that beautiful is perfect. I know this all sounds like hyperbole but when I say perfect, I mean perfect for me and my sensibilities. Everyone has their preferences and I wouldn’t change a thing about this game’s platforming mechanics.
The one knock I have on this game is the combat, it’s a little frantic and mashy.
2. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Just copy what I wrote about Ori and the Blind Forest and paste it here. Now delete what I wrote about the combat because the Developer Moon Studios, completely changed the combat. No more mashing, now it’s much more deliberate with a melee sword attack and a ranged bow and arrow attack.
The one big knock I have on the game is the technical issues I encountered. The game would freeze at certain points during the game and then you would have to sit there and wait for the game to start working again. If I didn’t encounter the technical issues, this would be #1 game but it is what it is.
1. SteamWorld Dig 2
The more I think about this game, the more I am blown away by this game. The game doesn’t overstay its welcome, it’s a solid 5-6 hour game with an addicting gameplay loop. Go on a run, collect gems for as long as you can. Come back, sell the gems to get money so you can buy better equipment so you can explore further. That loop is addicting, the platforming, coming back with that big load is such an endorphin rush.
I played through this game on PS4, saw it was on Xbox Gamepass and played through it again. I kind of want to pick it on Switch or PC and play it again.