Need a new game to play? Come check out these Metroidvanias!

A Metroidvania-type game is best described as an open world, non-linear platformer game that emphasizes exploration. And they are by far my all-time favorite genre of game. There's just something about being thrown into a new world, finding out all about it, and exploring every inch. The genre keeps expanding more and more. So, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite Metroidvanias that you should try!

Honorable mentions - The Metroidvania Hall of Fame

Now if we are talking about Metroidvanias you have to play, we have to go through the most popular of the genre. I consider these three games the greatest of all time, as they've defined the Metroidvania genre. Of course, there are the two games that have inspired the genre: Metroid and Castlevania. Those two are pretty self explanatory.

Super Metroid (Image via Nintendo)Hollow Knight (Image via Team Cherry)Castlevania Video (Image via Konami)

Then, there's Hollow Knight, which is the gold standard for any Metroidvania and my favorite game of all time. It's hard not to repeat what's already been said about Hollow Knight. But every aspect of Hollow Knight from gameplay, to design, to the world is sheer perfection, which is why its reputation is so high.

The Souls-like Metroidvania - Blasphemous

Blasphemous and its sequel are another relatively well-known duo of Metroidvanias. Regardless, they are worth a mention, as they are amazing entries in the genre. Blasphemous has one of the most compelling and beautiful worlds out of all the Metroidvanias I've ever played. Drawing inspiration from our world and ancient religious tales, Blasphemous creates a lasting impression like none other.

Blasphemous (Image via The Game Kitchen)
Blasphemous (Image via The Game Kitchen)

In terms of gameplay, Blasphemous is the most Dark Souls-like Metroidvania that I've played. Although it's not unfair levels of difficulty, Blasphemous skimps out on making your life easier. Upgrades to your health or weapon aren't tied as much to exploration as it is to story progression. However, exploring the world of Blasphemous is still loads of fun and provides an exciting challenge.

Blasphemous 2 has only expanded on the formula of Blasphemous 1. The sequel expands upon the world of Blasphemous and the aftermath of the first game. Where Blashpemous 1 struggled with combat options, Blasphemous 2 thrives. With significantly more options in both combat and exploration, Blasphemous 2 has proven to be a great sequel to the series.

Similar Metroidvanias include: The Last Faith, 9 Years of Shadow, Salt and Sanctuary

A Castlevania Experience - Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Now if you are looking for a more classic Metroidvania, something similar to the original inspiration for the genre, Castlevania, then look no further than Bloodstained - Ritual of the Night. This Metroidvania takes a lot of its inspiration from the Castlevania games. Specifically with the movement/exploration and the soul/shard system, which isn't a bad thing at all. It was my first time using the soul/shard system, and I had a great time.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Image via ArtPlay)
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Image via ArtPlay)

The soul/shard system essentially has enemies drop "parts of themselves" that the main character can use for magical attacks. It's quite fun and allows for a ton of different options for defeating enemies. That's really where the game shines. Outside of the combat, the map feels absolutely massive while upgrades are mostly done through a crafting system that makes going for the 100% ending a bit of an endurance test. However, don't let that deter you from giving Bloodstained a try if you've been craving a Castlevania-like experience.

Similar Metroidvanias include: The Castlevania series, Ender Littlies: Quietus of the Knights, Ender Magnolia: Bloom in the Mist

Atmospheric Metroidvanias - Ori and the Blind Forest & Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Blind Forest has often been compared to Hollow Knight, as they were both Metroidvanias that released around the same time. But despite the common comparison, the games are pretty different. Both Ori games, Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, are significantly more about telling a story and the atmosphere rather than gritty combat or punishing platforming. Compared to other games on this list, the Ori series is a lot easier in terms of difficulty. This is a nice change of pace.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Image via Moon Studios)
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Image via Moon Studios)

Both Ori games are amazing. The first game in the series, Ori and the Blind Forest, is a lot more linear than other Metroidvanias, however, it's still a great introduction to the genre. The sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, blows the first game out of the water in all aspects. From the map size, to the story, to combat, to exploration, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a great entry on this Metroidvania list.

Similar Metroidvanias include: Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, Cave Story, Tunic

A new take on Metroidvania - The Knight Witch

The Knight Witch is the most recent Metroidvania I finished. I've been playing Metroidvanias for a while now, and The Knight Witch was quite the refreshing take. See, the game combines three different genres that you wouldn't really think go together. There is, of course, the Metroidvania aspect, but also bullet hell and deck builder aspects, which come together seamlessly and create a great experience.

The Knight Witch (Image via Super Mega Team)
The Knight Witch (Image via Super Mega Team)

The Knight Witch combines these genres effortlessly to create a great gaming experience. The game has an adorable story and even multiple endings to keep you entertained. And, if you are going for 100% completion and don't want to grind the combat challenges, there's even cheats you can enable to make your life easier.

Similar Metroidvanias include: Yoku's Island Express, Patch Quest, Dead Cells

Old School Metroidvania - The Messenger

The Messenger was one of the first Metroidvanias I played after Hollow Knight and it gave Hollow Knight a run for its money. The game can best be described as simple but effective. There aren't crazy movement options nor are the upgrades anything fancy. They come from the in-game currency you get throughout playing The Messenger. By the time you get past the first couple bosses, you'll realize that all you need are the basics.

The Messenger (Image via Sabotage Studio)
The Messenger (Image via Sabotage Studio)

I can only say good things about The Messenger. As soon as I thought I was nearing the conclusion, the game completely flipped upside down and took me for an even wilder ride. Not to mention the great controls, the immersive map, and the hilarious characters. The best thing by far about The Messenger is its soundtrack. RainbowDragonEyes composed banger after banger song for this Metroidvania. Even to this day, four years after playing it, I still have some of the game's soundtracks on my most-played list.

Similar Metroidvanias include: Haiku the Robot, Shantae, La Mulana

At the end of the day, everyone has different tastes. So it'll be up to you to find what you like and what you don't like within the genre. For example, the souls-like difficulty of some games are appealing for some, but have the opposite effect for others. You'll just need to play some of these Metroidvanias to find out for yourself.

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