Metroidvanias might not be the videogame standard anymore because of 3D, but anybody who likes a good platformer will have a special place in their heart for them. Since Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, hundreds of games boasting similar features have taken the spotlight. Here’s a list that narrows down that number by quite a lot, and gives you what are the best Metroidvania games ever.
Best Metroidvania Games, Ranked
This list features what we think are 7 of the best games in the genre. If your top Metroidvania games happen to be missing, be sure to comment below what they are.
7. Axiom Verge
Taking place in the alien world of Sudra, Axiom Verge is a creepy Metroidvania – not that they aren’t already so – that will leave a mark on you. Axiom Verge’s uncanny set of weapons and power-ups will excite you and the innovative puzzle design will test how big that brain of yours exactly is. It’s a stellar Metroidvania if you’re a fan of pixelated art styles and more importantly, the classic Metroid games.
Its beautiful visuals and stunning environmental storytelling are two giant factors that contribute to why Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the best Metroidvania games. Similar to its predecessor, Will of the Wisps is an adventure platformer that prioritizes puzzle solving and carries a light-hearted combat system.
While the gameplay isn’t the best-in-class, the graphics of Will of the Wisps will leave you speechless, they’re that pretty. And if that isn’t reason enough for you to jump into the game, the story won’t disappoint either.
5. Blasphemous 2
Blasphemous 2 is a brutal upgrade to an already merciless franchise. More weapons, more bosses, and unique NPCs offering side quests are the strong sets of Blasphemous 2, but even they don’t compare to the massive amount of lore and progression pathways packed into the game. If you loved the first one, you’ll love this one too, otherwise, it’s a bit of a tough sell.
Since releasing back in 2018, Dead Cells has sold over 10 million copies, and from looking at its procedurally generated levels and endless line-up of bows, shields, and swords, it’s no wonder why.
Dead Cells is the ultimate Soulslike side-scrolling platformer. It’s got an amazing variety of side-quests, and characters, as well as tough NPCs that will demolish you in an instant. The gameplay never gets old. Plus, the recurrent updates by Motion Twin further help take the game to new heights every year.
Often regarded as the greatest Metroidvania game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is worshiped to this day for its soundtrack, gameplay, and art. Exploration is a key feature in the game, and since Symphony of the Night pioneered the non-linear play style of the genre, you’ll see some remarkable innovations when you play.
As for the gameplay, you cruise through your father’s dungeon as Alucard whipping creatures of the night left and right. There are loads of enemies, and your inventory keeps on evolving during the course of the game. Simply put, it’s a fun side-scrolling Metroidvania and a cult classic that will live on like a vampire.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night offers tons of playstyles for you to choose from; gunslinging, sword-slashing, or magic. Fighting demons has never felt this epic, and ROTN keeps the ball rolling by throwing new features at you every step of the way. And if there’s one thing it excels at, it’s providing a visually striking art style that makes you reminiscent of the best Metroidvania games from the good ol’ days. Consider playing it if you want to feel nostalgic.
1. Hollow Knight
While it was recently released, Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight is undoubtedly the best present-day Metroidvania game of all time. Like Dead Cells, Hollow Knight is built on daring combat. It’s fast-paced, and has many distinct NPCs, but the art style still takes the cake because of how clean it is and how splendidly it works to craft an eerie atmosphere. If Castlevania: Symphony of the Night set the precedent for the genre back then, Hollow Knight is the upgrade that builds upon the foundations and stands out as a Metroidvania worth playing.