For those who don’t know what Metroidvania games are exactly. Metroidvania is a sub-genre of the general action-adventure genre of video games.
These games make use of non-linear but guided exploration meaning that you can complete a particular mission in several ways and there is not one specific set of instructions that you have to follow in order.
In Metroidvania games, you will not just easily progress, by following a pre-set order of instructions, from level 1 to level 2 but you are dropped into a large open world and then you have to figure out the way to move forward.
Best Metroidvania Games for Nintendo Switch
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There is a separate and huge fanbase of Metroidvania games and if you belong to that, given below for you are the 10 best Switch Metroidvanias that you can play –
- Developers – Nintendo & MercurySteam
- Release Date – Oct 8, 2021
- Platforms – Nintendo Switch
Metroid Dread, the first 2-D Metroid in 19 years, is set after the events of Metroid Fusion (2002). You will control the famous and iconic protagonist character of Samus Aran, who is investigating the source of a mysterious transmission on planet ZDR.
The game was initially slated to be released sometime in the mid of the 2000s, but its development was halted due to the technical limitations of that time. The game was announced at E3 2021 and when it was released, it broke all previous Metroid records by becoming the best-selling Metroid game to date. It also won the best Action-Adventure game at The Game Awards 2021.
The game has the staple feature of all the Metroidvanias, exploring and finding new items that allow access to certain areas. The game also features stealth elements which allow the protagonist to sneak past EMMI robots by hiding, camouflaging, using a cloak, etc. Notably, EMMI robots can only be killed using a temporary Omega Blaster.
There are so many elements in the game that make the game exciting & a must-play game if you’re a fan of Metroidvania.
- Developers – The Game Kitchen
- Release Date – Sep 10, 2019
- Platforms – PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Linux, macOS & Nintendo Switch
This Metroidvania game takes place in the fictional city of Cvstodia. You will assume the role of a silent knight, the Penitent One, who wields a sword named Mea Culpa. By defeating enemies you obtain Tears of Atonement, the in-game currency which can be spent to purchase items and upgrade your character.
Every enemy in the game has a certain pattern of attacks that you have to learn to dodge their attacks and avoid taking damage. Upon taking a hit, the Penitent One’s health will plummet which can be replenished by drinking Bile Flasks.
The game received overall positive ratings after its release. At Titanium Awards 2019, Blasphemous won the title for the Best Indie Game of the Year and also the Best Spanish Development. Although some players have criticized it for its higher difficulty. The second installment of the game is slated to be released sometime in 2023. Until then, if you haven’t played this game, check it out, you won’t regret it.
- Developers – Team Cherry
- Release Date – Jun 12, 2018 (for Nintendo Switch)
- Platforms – Windows, Linux, macOS, PS4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch
The hollow night is one fine Metroidvania game. The game takes place in a fictional underground kingdom named Hallownest. You assume the role of a nameless insectoid warrior and explore the underground world of Hallownest. The nameless warrior wields a sword-like weapon that it uses in combat and also to interact with the environment.
The game also falls under the souls-like genre which means it is known for its higher level of difficulty. The game involves mainly fighting foes with melee attacks but you can also learn spells to use ranged attacks for battering your enemies.
As you progress in the game you will also encounter several insect-themed NPCs that will assist you in the game along with providing other services like providing you items that may help you in progressing further. A sequence of the game Hollow Knight: Silksong is currently in development.
- Developers – Thomas Happ Games
- Release Date – PS4, PSV, Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, Wii U & Nintendo Switch
- Platforms – Oct 5, 2017 (For Nintendo Switch)
This side-scroller action-adventure indie game is rightfully counted as one of the best Metroidvania games. In Axiom Verge, you will take control of a scientist Trace. The game takes inspiration from Metroid, Contra, Blaster Master, and others, and due to this, it contains many elements from these games as well.
The game takes place in Sudra, an advanced alien world, where Trace finds himself after getting knocked out due to a lab explosion. The game features up to 60 power-ups and items that can be found scattered throughout the game world. The game has an excellent story that uncovers while progressing in the game. This Metroidvania was nominated for the best independent game at The Game Awards 2015.
There is a sequel to the game that also exists with the name Axion Verge 2, it was released on Aug 11, 2021.
SteamWorld Dig 2
- Developers – Image & Form
- Release Date – Sep 21, 2017
- Platforms – PS4, PSV, Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, Stadia, Nintendo 3DS & Nintendo Switch
In SteamWorld Dig 2 you control a steam-driven robot named Dorothy who is on the search for Rusty, the main character of this game’s sequel SteamWorld Dig. The game takes place in an underground mine town El Machino, where Dorothy will encounter various types of enemies and she has to fight her way forward while looking for Rusty.
While progressing in the game you come across various items like Pressure bombs, Hookshot, Pneumatic Arm, etc. that make your way easier. Every item found has different perks that can only be activated by installing Upgrade Cogs found in secret areas.
The game also features several other characters from the previous titles in the franchise. The game ends with an open end storyline that can allow the developers to work on its sequel. SteamWorld Dig 2 takes you to a thrilling 2-D world that will surely leave its mark on your heart and mind.
- Developers – Motion Twin
- Release Date – Aug 7, 2018
- Platforms – Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One, Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch
In this Metroidvania game, you assume the role of a creature named the Prisoner. The game takes place on a diseased island that is full of mutated monsters and creatures. The Prisoner must fight his way out by defeating all the creatures that come in the way to slay the King of the island.
You will come across many weapons, treasures, and tools while exploring the island that will make the Prisoner stronger. In the game if you die, you will lose all the in-game currency (cells) and all the items (except a few permanent items) that you have collected till that time, i.e. the game uses the permadeath (permanent death) feature.
The Prisoner will have access to several weapons like swords, bows, shields, traps, etc. Upon taking a hit player’s hitpoints to decrease, but they can be increased using potions that can be purchased using the cells collected by defeating the enemies. You can purchase more weapons and items in the shop if you collect enough Blueprints while exploring the island.
This roguelike-Metroidvania game is a perfect blend of strategy, pattern learning, and all the things that make up a perfect Metroidvania game.
The Mummy Demastered
- Developers – WayForward Technologies
- Release Date – Jul 30, 2020 (for Nintendo Switch)
- Platforms – PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Amazon Luna & Nintendo Switch
Tom Cruise’s 2017 film, The Mummy, served as the inspiration behind this fantastic Metroidvania game. The events in the game take place at the same time as the events of the movie. You play the game as the soldiers of Prodigium receiving commands from Dr. Henry Jekyll.
You explore a large map that is full of your adversaries that will not miss any chance of taking you out. You must learn their attacking patterns to dodge their attacks and if you die, you will respawn as a new character and has to fight a zombified version of your former self.
Your ultimate goal in the game is to defeat and eliminate Ahmanet and Set in the game’s final battle. If you are a fan of The Mummy (2017) then this is a must-play.
Castlevania: Anniversary Collection
- Developers – Konami
- Platforms – PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Amazon Luna & Nintendo Switch
- Release Date – May 16, 2019
How can we complete this list of best Metroidvania games without the mention of Castlevania? Konami released a special anniversary edition of Castlevania. The games that are included in the collection are as follows –
- Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
- Castlevania II Belmont’s Revenge
- Super Castlevania IV
- Castlevania Bloodlines
- Kid Dracula
- Castlevania the Adventure
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
It is worth mentioning that Kid Dracula was made available outside of Japan for the first time with Castlevania Anniversary Collection. This collection is a must-have for Castlevania fans.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Developers – Moon Studio
- Release Date – Sep 17, 2020
- Platforms – Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows & Nintendo Switch
The game is a sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest. The game takes place in a region called Niwen. In the title’s trailer embedded above, we can see Ori riding on the back of Ku and falling into a forested area, and from there on Ori starts his new adventure journey.
The game was widely applauded for its story, characters, visuals, combat, environments, chase sequences, and for other things. The game contains all the elements of a typical Metroidvania title. Ori and the Will of the Wisps had set up a high benchmark for the other Metroidvania titles to follow.
In the game, you have to jump, climb, glide, and swim your way through the region of Niwen which is full of mutated creatures that will try to hunt you down.
Yoku’s Island Express
- Developers – Villa Gorilla
- Release Date – May 29, 2018
- Platforms – PS4, Windows, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch
This side-scrolling pinball-Metroidvania game is the last entry on this list, but in no way this game is less fun than any of the games mentioned above. In the game, you take control of a dung beetle, named Yoku. Yoku becomes a postmaster when he arrives in Mokumana, which is a fictional island.
Yoku can move sideways but it cannot jump on its own. For jumping, it uses pinball paddles which are located throughout the map for elevating Yoku up high in the air. The game consists of many pinball mechanics like bumpers, tracks, ramps, etc. that can be utilized for smooth movements.
The game was nominated for the Best Debut Indie Game at the Game Awards 2018.
Related FAQs –
What are Metroidvania Games?
Metroidvania is a sub-genre of action-adventure games. The games that fall in this genre are generally 2-D side-scrolling platformers that have non-linear gameplay. There are often certain items in these games, that when found by exploring the map allow access to previously inaccessible locations.
What does the term Metroidvania mean?
Metroidvania is a portmanteau of two words Metroid and Castlevania, both of which are famous video game series by Nintendo and Konami respectively. The games falling in this genre contain elements of video games of both of these series.
What is the difference between Metroidvania and Roguelike?
The main difference between the two is that the world in Metroidvanias is pre-determined and set where the whole game takes place while in Roguelikes the game generally takes place in different regions that are computer generated (procedural generation).
Can Metroidvania be 3-D?
Yes, Metroidvania can be 3-D. Shadow Man is one such example of a 3-D Metroidvania.
Metroidvania is a portmanteau of two words, Metroid and Castlevania. Both of these are the video game series Nintendo’s Metroid and Konami’s Castlevania. It take inspiration from the video games of these two series.
The places on the maps in Metroidvania games are distinct and detailed so that you know where you are and keep track of places you have already visited. To cut down the commute time, many games use teleportation or some other kind of shortcut which makes it easier for players to visit places quickly.
Another such example can be, suppose to access a room you have to jump over something high (say a wall) and then while exploring the rooms you find out some sort of jumping boots (like those in Subway Surfers) which now you can use to jump over that wall and explore the place behind that wall.
Nintendo’s Metroid (1986) was the first game to introduce the open-world exploration feature, this was followed by Super Metroid (1994) which made the 1986 version better and became one of the most played games of the time.
Although, Konami’s Castlevania is different from Metroid and the way Metroid was played. In 1997 Konami released Castlevania: Symphony of the Night which made the second part of the name “Metroidvania”. Konami’s 1997 title featured a non-linear design where you would be able to explore more of the world if you find certain items in the game while exploring.
A Metroidvania game features elements of both of these (Metroid and Castlevania) video games series. If you are someone who likes to dig deeper into video games and notice every tidbit of information that is hidden then you will like the list we have prepared.