This left or the other one?
Despite the term Metroidvania coming from the smushing together of two decidedly triple-A games, I think it’s fair to say that the best Metroidvania games are indie now, this is our turf now, baby. As we very much rule the roost when it comes to this genre of action game, and things have never been better than they are now. Thanks to this, I had the pleasure of putting together this list because I have to do as the editor tells me.
Best Metroidvania Games
What makes up the best Metroidvania games then? Well, good characters, good action, and a good map are all integral parts of the puzzle. It’s important that you always feel like you’re getting more powerful, and it helps a lot if backtracking through the game for all of the secrets doesn’t make you want to give up gaming as a hobby. So, these are our picks for the best Metroidvania games based on those ideas.
Look, I know I said that they wouldn’t make you want to give up gaming, but this one might. Hollow Knight is an excellent game, with beautiful visuals, extraordinary sound design, and an unforgettable world. It’s also harder than the mess at the bottom of a pan the first time you tried to make a curry and burned it beyond anybody’s idea of what is edible. Just bring some stress toys, be prepared to nap, and push through this incredible game and you’ll see that it’s worth it.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is also quite hard. This isn’t going well, is it? It’s good though, and not quite as punishing as Hollow Knight. It also benefits from being the second game in a series, which means it is full of the lessons learned from the first one. It’s a rather exceptional game thanks to the wonderful movement systems, jaw-dropping visual flair, and the satisfying fights. Ori is also very cute, so that’s nice.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is definitely an indie game, but it also comes from one of the people who basically caused the term Metroidvania to exist, so this does feel a little cheap to include. Nevertheless, you’d struggle to find a more pure Metroidvania game anywhere. You get to explore a castle full of demons and take their powers to become stronger. Your new traversal abilities are fun and varied, and you eventually find all sorts of twists and turns, and you can even fight Igarashi, one of the developers, as a boss in the game.
Steamworld Dig 2
Image & Form released the original Steamworld Dig nearly seven years ago. They’ve tried their hand at a few different genres since then, and while they’re all good, none of them has been quite as much as the Dig series. Steamworld Dig 2 casts you as the daughter of the protagonist of the first one, and you have to try and rescue dear old dad. What follows is one of the best Metroidvania games around, and you should definitely give it a look.
Yoku’s Island Express
Yoku’s Island Express is a bit of an oddball when it comes to Metroidvania. Yes, that pun was intended, and no, I’m not sorry. You play as a little bug called Yoku who is a postman that has to use pinball to get around. It’s great, and if that single sentence alone doesn’t sell the game to you then I’m afraid you either lack heart or imagination. Either way, I’m very sorry but go and play it.
Jason is the Editor of The Indie Game Website. He’s a lover of roguelikes, soulslikes, and other kinds of likes. He basically spends a lot of time getting beaten up in games and seems to enjoy it.