Best Metroidvania Games of All Time
There are many video games out there and in this era of mobile and home-based gaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic?
Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable games through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best video games, our attention this time turns to the best Metroidvania games of all time. From Super Metroid to Hollow Knight, you have a lot of games to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
If it wasn’t for the Metroid series, the Metroidvania sub-genre wouldn’t exist. It may not sell as well in eastern territories, but the game won many western fans’ hearts. Super Metroid is the third installment in the Metroid series and is often regarded as the best as far as the 2D Metroid games go.
In it, players must guide Samus Aran through Planet Zebes to retrieve an infant Metroid creature stolen by the Space Pirate leader, Ridley. This game introduced the nifty inventory system, automap, and ability to fire at enemies from multiple directions. The game received praise for its bone-chilling atmosphere, alluring gameplay, and gorgeous graphics.
Like other Metroid games, you’ll acquire useful power-ups that will make defeating the game’s harsh enemies easier. Alongside its incredible soundtrack, Super Metroid is a must-play for any diehard Metroidvania enthusiast.
Blasphemous has players explore the brutal world of Cvstodia. You’ll find yourself hacking and slashing through multiple enemies as you venture through the game’s dark landscapes. As the sole survivor of the “Silent Sorrow” massacre, you must find a way to free the world from a foul curse called The Miracle.
As you hope across Blasphemous’s platforms, you’ll locate relics, rosary beads, and prayers that’ll assist you in your endeavors. You’ll be equipped with an ancient sword that allows you to perform devastating combos and special moves. Blasphemous has charming pixelated graphics that mesh well with the gritty surroundings.
The game features great enemies who vary in attack patterns, design, and scale. If you’re looking for a stellar Metroidvania game with great platforming elements and graphical fidelity, check this out.
What would happen if you threw a wrestler in a Metroidvania-styled game? You’d receive a phenomenal product like Guacamelee! 2. This game is a sequel to the game by the same name. It has you fighting your way through gorgeous hand-crafted levels with a colorful backdrop that pays homage to Mexican culture. This game includes new luchador moves and bosses for you to defeat.
In it, you’ll play as the series’s staple protagonist Juan. You’ll guide Juan through numerous levels brimming with decrepit skeletons and other baddies for you to contend with. Juan’s chicken form returns with new powers for players to try out. Many levels in this game cater to his chicken form and its powers, so it’s in your best interest to master those abilities.
Guacamelee! 2’s soundtrack is catchy and fits with the game’s theme well. The maps are more expansive and contain more enemy types than in the first game. This allows for more refreshing and memorability. Unlike most Metroidvania titles, you can play Guacamelee! 2 with 3 other players in a 4-player local co-op session. If any of this sounds up your alley, check out Guacamelee! 2.
SteamWorld Dig 2
Another sequel Metroidvania title that’s stellar is SteamWorld Dig 2. In it, you’ll explore the underground section of an old trading town to uncover the dark secrets that lie dormant beneath it. As you dig deeper into the earth, you’ll discover beautiful treasures, secrets, and traps waiting for you. The underground is as dangerous as it is gorgeous, though.
Players can expect countless enemies to pop up during their excavation. Some creatures look standard for the course while others feel otherworldly and menacing. This world also has twisted paths that make exploring this underworld-like environment exhilarating. Like other Metroidvania titles, you can upgrade your gear. This will help you overcome the game’s numerous hurdles and powerful threats.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Oftentimes, video games are made to help fans relive experiences they had with classic titles. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is one of those titles that fall under that category. It was created by Koji Igarashi, one of the programmers for the older Castlevania titles. This game captures the soul of those games and features countless gothic-like environments brimming with supernatural creatures.
Bloodstained delivers riveting gameplay and colorful 2D backgrounds to immerse yourselves in. The game’s 3D character models mesh well with these backdrops, too. In the game, you play as Miriam. She’s an orphan suffering from an alchemist’s curse that’s slowly crystallizing her body. To save herself and humanity, Miriam must battle many demons inside a castle.
Alongside a rigorous plot, players can look forward to the game’s superb voice acting and gorgeous cutscenes. Players can look forward to upping their arsenal of weaponry as they progress through Bloodstained’s treacherous environments.
Castlevania is one of Konami’s cherished series to date. It went on to inspire many games with its dark atmosphere, masculine protagonists, and eerie settings. Furthermore, the series has incredible music that will get you in the vampire-slaying mood. The series features a variety of protagonists, but many recall Simon Belmont to be one of its best.
He’s a brave warrior that doesn’t hold anything back. The enemies and bosses he encounters in the game also have appealing personalities, strengths, and abilities. Earlier installments were a bit rough since you didn’t have ways of hopping off stairs or using Simon’s whip in multiple directions. Nonetheless, the series’s pixelated aesthetic is mesmerizing. If you’re a fan of classic Metroidvania titles, I suggest giving the Castlevania series a shot.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
After the success of Ori and the Blind Forest, fans wondered how the developers would top it. Thankfully, Ori and the Will of the Wisps served as an excellent sequel to that game. It features more intricate puzzles, challenging platforming segments, and stunning backdrops to get lost in. The soundtrack adds a layer of emotion to the gorgeous scenery, allowing fans to immerse themselves further.
In this game, Ori must prevent a heinous force from taking over an inhabited forest. On top of that, Ori must locate their adopted sister Ku since a storm separated them from each other. Will of the Wisps features immaculate and fun boss fights like the previous installment. It doesn’t give the players the best instructions on where to proceed during their travels, though.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a fabulous Metroidvania game with great puzzles, superb graphics, and a compelling soundtrack, definitely check out Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Hollow Knight is a mesmerizing yet difficult 2D Metroidvania title. In it, you control an insectoid warrior called The Knight. You must guide The Knight through the bug-infested land of Hallownest. This area contains humble and merciless creatures. Players will enjoy interacting with every creature to learn more about the world they’re venturing through.
The enemy’s range can be small or large. Each has an appealing design and a neat attacking pattern. The bosses all have different move sets and appearances that help them stand out. As you advance the game forward, you’ll gain access to useful power-ups that will make exploring Hallownest easier and more straightforward. However, don’t expect this game to be a cakewalk.
These enemies hit hard, so you’ll want to keep on your toes while exploring the game’s mysterious caverns. Each locale has something new to offer from a visual and gameplay standpoint. If you’re looking for a soothing and formidable Metroidvania game to play, Hollow Knight should be on your wishlist.
Shadow Complex – Remastered
Shadow Complex isn’t as mainstream as the others on this list. It was an exclusive Xbox 360 title before receiving the remastered treatment thanks to the developers at Chair Entertainment. This remastered version carries all the content from the original 2009 release but adds a few graphical enhancements and achievements to make the game feel more modernized.
For those unaware of its story, it follows a lost hiker named Jason Fleming and his girlfriend Claire. They find the rogue paramilitary group Restoration and learn of their intent to kickstart a civil war that’d cause America to collapse. Jason acquires some gadgets from the Restoration and becomes a physical embodiment of destruction.
Shadow Complex features fast-paced combat, a slew of power-ups to triumph over its hurdles, and several mysteries worth solving. The worlds are populated with fierce enemies and bosses for you to defeat. The storyline contains some genuine twists that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, too. If you’re a fan of under-the-radar video games, this one is worth checking out.
Axiom Verge is a mysterious, suspenseful, and dark Metroidvania game. In it, you’ll explore a giant labyrinth brimming with secrets and bizarre enemies. The protagonist is a human but doesn’t know anything about the world they’re traveling through. The labyrinth is well-designed and contains many locations that will creep you out.
Gameplay consists of players crawling, leaping, and slaying numerous foes who stand in their way. Some maps offer hidden areas players can unlock if they have the right equipment. These often harbor incredible collectibles or items that will be useful to you during your expedition. The game’s brimming with glitches, but not the terrible kind.
These intentional glitches allow players to reach areas they shouldn’t be able to. Speedrunners will enjoy them the most since it will help them complete the game quicker. However, don’t expect Axiom Verge to be an easy time. It offers enough challenges and obstacles to keep you playing. If you’re a fan of modern Metroidvania titles that take inspiration from the classics, check out Axiom Verge.
So, there we have it, our pick for the best Metroidvania video games through the years!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!