What are the best Metroidvania games? A portmanteau of ‘Metroid’ and ‘Castlevania’ – the two pioneering series of the genre – the best Metroidvania games typically plonk you down in a vast, two-dimensional world. However, you won’t quite be able to explore the world in its entirety from the off, as certain areas are gated behind specific milestones, key items, or powers that you’ll have to complete or collect during your journey.
The genre continues to evolve to this day and remains a popular choice for developers, which is excellent news for fans of the genre. Whether you’re on PlayStation, Switch, or Xbox, there are plenty of magnificent Metroidvanias to play. Some have even found their way onto lists of the best games full-stop – our own included. As many of the games on our best Metroidvania games list require quick reflexes and expert platforming, you’ll want to have your best PS5 controller, best Switch controller, or best Xbox controller to hand as we dive in.
Here are the best Metroidvania games:
1. Metroid Dread
Almost 20 years after Metroid Fusion landed on the GameBoy Advance handheld system, Metroid Dread is the first side-scrolling game in the legendary series since Fusion itself. Samus is back, and this time she’s marvelously fantastic in more ways than one, putting on her best Invisible Woman cosplay as stealth mechanics feature at points, adding an extra layer of complexity to the classic Metroid formula that Dread, for the most part, follows.
When our friends over at PocketTactics got their hands on it for their Metroid Dread review, they said that “it’s a well-balanced Metroidvania that will please fans that have waited 17 years for the true return of Samus.”
Metroid Dread is available on Switch only.
2. Axiom Verge
Kicking off our Metroidvania games list is Axiom Verge, which follows a scientist named Trace who awakens in an alien world after a lab accident. As you explore this otherworldly environment, you’ll discover various upgrades that aid you in overcoming obstacles, defeating all sorts of biomechanical beasties, and uncovering the secrets of the bizarre land you’ve found yourself in. If you’re after a Metroidvania that offers up a surreal alien world as well as an eerie sense of isolation, then Axiom Verge has you covered.
Axiom Verge is available on PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.
3. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night places you in the shoes of Miriam, an orphan who is cursed by alchemists so she can be offered up as a sacrifice to summon demons from Hell. Before she can be sacrificed, however, Miriam falls into a deep slumber. A decade later she awakens to find that one of the other Shardbinder survivors, Gebel, has raised a demon army to destroy England and exact vengeance on the alchemists. The imminent destruction of your homeland is, naturally, a bit of a problem, so Miriam heads out to stop him.
With the help of Miriam’s magical Shardbinder powers, you’ll need to battle your way through a labyrinthine castle, gaining new abilities by absorbing magical shards from your enemies. It’s giving Castlevania in a big way, and we love the sheer number of ability shards that can be bound, providing a variety of playstyles to explore throughout your playthrough.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is available on PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.
4. Dead Cells
Perhaps the most frenetic option on this list, Dead Cells offers fast and fluid gameplay that represents a more modern approach to the genre. Not only is it one of the best Metoidvania games, but it’s also one of the best Roguelite games you can get your mitts on – developer Motion Twin has dubbed it a ‘RogueVania’.
Dead Cells’ combat takes a big old leaf out of the soulslike playbook, making for a challenging experience that you’ll have to get your dodge roll timing perfect to progress through. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better genre blend, and five years after its initial release Motion Twin is still supporting it with new content – something we’re elated to see.
Dead Cells is available on PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.
5. Ori and the Blind Forest
Next up we have the first in a double-whammy of Ori goodness – sorry, not sorry. The Ori series is renowned for beautifully-crafted natural worlds, and narratives that will undoubtedly get the tears flowing. But when you’re not being hit right in the feels in the Blind Forest – the series’ inaugural installment – you’ll be helping Ori the guardian spirit navigate the dying forest in the hopes of finding a way to restore it to its original luster. If you’re more interested in the platforming side of Metroidvanias than the combat, then Ori and the Blind Forest (as well as the Will of the Wisps) are must-plays as far as we’re concerned.
Ori and the Blind Forest is available on Switch and Xbox.
6. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Half a decade after Ori and the Blind Forest reached our hearts and screens, Moon Studios returned with the equally excellent Will of the Wisps. Set immediately after the events of the Blind Forest, the titular character journeys across the new region of Niwen in order to revive a lost friend. While Will of the Wisps iterates on the Blind Forest in a number of ways – thank you, autosave – there won’t be a quantum leap mechanically if you binge them back-to-back (you should definitely binge them back-to-back).
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is available on Switch and Xbox.
Pixel art has come a long way over the past few decades, and Owlboy is a beautiful reminder of how much detail can be packed into the style nowadays. Otus’ floating settlement, Vellie, is invaded by pirates, causing him to swoop into action.
During the young owl’s adventure, you’ll meet plenty of new allies who each have their own unique weapon. To make use of their abilities, you’ll have to pick them up and carry them with Otus’ talons, making for a unique approach to Metroidvania combat. D-Pad Studio does a brilliant job here, and Owlboy is one of the best games the genre has seen over the past decade.
Owlboy is available on PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.
What’s this? A 3D Metroidvania? Sacrilege! But hear us out, okay? Supraland is an impressive blend of traditional Metroidvania mechanics, infused with the first-person shooter chops you’d find in the best FPS games. What’s even more impressive is that it was created solely by Supra Games CEO David Münnich.
During Supraland you’ll take control of one of the Reds, a plastic figure faction currently at war with the Blues, as you work to discover why the water supply in your territory has been cut off. Venturing out into no man’s land, you’ll need to keep your wits about you and your finger on the trigger as you whittle away at Supraland’s puzzles and enemies.
Supraland is available on PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.
9. Yoku’s Island Express
Yoku’s Island Express is the most unique approach to a Metroidvania we’ve played – what’s more creative than a side-scrolling pinball game about a dung beetle that delivers post? We can imagine you’ve had to re-read that last sentence a couple of times, and we totally get why.
Throughout Mokumana Island you’ll find a plenitude of pinball flippers baked into the tropical environment, pinging Yoku and his pile of dung about the place as he works to help its inhabitants with more than just the daily news. It’s an utterly bizarre experience but in the best possible way, and one you won’t regret picking up on PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.
10. Shantae – Half Genie Hero
The fourth installment in the long-running Shantae series, Shantae – Half Genie Hero isn’t just one of the best Metroidvania games for the weebs.
Sequin Land has been hit by a freak crime wave and only Shantae can save the day with her bright, purple hair that doubles as her primary weapon. While whipping enemies repeatedly is all good and fun, Shantae can also transform into different animals that provide a dynamic switch-up in its core gameplay loop – she is half-genie, after all.
Half Genie Hero sports a beautifully vibrant art style, responsive controls, and some really great platforming. Bosses are challenging but not hair-pullingly so, and encounters are further bolstered by the wonderful soundtrack.
Shantae – Half Genie Hero is available on all major platforms.
11. SteamWorld Dig 2
If you’re after a steampunk Metroidvania with a yeehaw vibe, then let us introduce you to SteamWorld Dig 2. Following the events of the original game, Dorothy the Steambot sets out on a quest to find the missing Rusty – the protagonist of the original game.
When traversing the vast underground mine that constitutes SteamWorld Dig 2’s map, the path ahead is never entirely clear – mostly because there are a lot of rocks in the way. Fortunately, Dorothy has some pretty impressive mining chops, and much of your time will be spent vibing as you carve your own path and prospect for goodies that can be sold to buy upgrades.
While not the most complex Metroidvania out there, SteamWorld Dig 2 is a charming experience that provides an approachable entry point into the genre on all major platforms.
12. Guacamelee! 2
Guacamelee! 2 is a lucha libre enjoyer’s dream Metroidvania, as you put on the mask of wrestling hero Juan as he attempts to save the Mexiverse from a corrupt luchador.
While Guacamelee! 2 is a direct sequel to 2013’s game, it does a great job of bringing you up to speed. Now incredibly out of shape, Juan lacks the fighting prowess he displayed in the original, and must now slowly reclaim his fighting form – while adding some new tricks to his arsenal of moves – if he’s to face this new threat.
If you’re after challenging gameplay, a colorful world, and… chickens? Then Guacamelee! 2 can be all yours on all major platforms.
13. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight is an absolute masterpiece of world-building, and is a firm favorite over here at The Loadout – Silksong when? Taking place in the subterranean world of Hallownest, you’ll take control of the silent, Nail-wielding Knight as they seek to seal away an ancient infection that is sending Hallownest’s insectoid inhabitants into a state of madness.
Boasting some of the most difficult platforming and creative boss encounters we’ve seen, Hollow Knight is an experience not for the faint of heart as you’ll likely spend many, many hours grinding away at certain sections – it’s a true soulslike in every sense, and one of the best soulslike games of all time.
Hollow Knight is available on PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.
And those are the best Metroidvania games you can play right now. If you’re wondering what the next big hitters in the genre could be, then check out our new PS5 games and new Xbox games lists for everything coming up. Have fun!