Category: Metroidvania


A Metroidvania recommended to me by a games rec Tumblr I follow. It main claim to fame is that it was all made by a single person, over the course of a decade.

This is not a Metroidvania by my definition. It is completely linear from beginning to end, upgrades are minimal, and using new abilities in old areas is exceedingly rare.


Christmas Steam Games (2019)

Another year, another crop. I put this off for a while because I was hoping to be able to rejigger a few games that had trouble playing on my computer, but no such luck. You’ll have to wait for reviews of FezMages of Mystralia, and The Talos Principle when (if) I upgrade my hardware.

Inside: Hexcells, Her Story, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, Gravitas, Disoriented, OVIVO.


Games for Racial Justice and Equality (Part 2)

Continuing where we left off. A much weaker showing this time, with a lot of games I couldn’t even finish.



Unworthy is a Soulslike Metroidvania I found in a recommendations list somewhere. Its main defining feature is that you can’t jump. It accomplishes this much better than Mable and the Wood, mainly by not trying to be a platformer anyway. There are no bottomless pits and shockingly few spike traps. There is rather severe falling damage, but this is mainly to prevent you from bypassing levels and not as a way to create a disaster cascade from getting hit. There’s no knockback from enemy attacks at all, actually, which is both a blessing and a curse because there’s no mercy invincibility either, so enemies will quickly combo you to death if you don’t get out of the way on your own. There is a midgame upgrade that gives you the ability to move vertically, but it works very differently than a jump ability and I overall found it delightfully fun and inventive, plus it made moving around areas a breeze.


Axiom Verge

A Metroidvania that’s further to the Metroid end of the scale than the Castlevania one; I haven’t played many of those, so this was interesting. This game had a really great plot and aesthetic: You play as a physicist who, after a lab accident, wakes up in a creepy machine on an alien planet. A voice in his head tells him he needs to grab a gun to defend himself, and then he’s off to explore a bizarre world that’s equal parts biological and mechanical. Compounding the weirdness is that you are quickly told the world’s present state is the result of a deadly pathogen that mutated all life into monsters; you are suffering from the pathogen as well, and this occasionally manifests in bizarre hallucinations that force you to doubt your senses. The gameplay mechanics are diegetic as well, with the main character explicitly remembering every time he dies and returns to a checkpoint, further blurring the lines of reality.



Supraland is a game I’ve been eyeing for a while, and only recently got the hardware for. (It’s one of those “all games must be computer-meltingly photorealistic” affairs.) It is billed as a “First-Person Metroidvania”, like Metroid Prime, and has a cutely weird premise of taking place in a child’s extremely elaborate sandbox, with every character and object being a toy of some kind.

I liked it a lot more than Metroid Prime, chiefly because it had a mouse-based control scheme that meant basic actions weren’t like pulling teeth. I found it fun overall, but also a bit shallow, with not enough complexity to really carry the full game.



La-Mulana is a Metroidvania both famous and infamous for its difficulty. After seeing a review that praised its puzzles and claimed it uniquely required you to think on how to proceed, I picked it up the Steam version while it was on sale to try it myself. I beat Hollow Knight, after all, surely I can handle the difficulty, I thought.

This is a troll game. I quit about 10 hours in after I beat a difficult boss at the end of a long area with no save points, only to investigate a suspicious alcove in the next area, which turned out to be a trap that instantly killed me, undoing all my progress. I’d genuinely like to get a refund.


Monster Sanctuary

Monster Sanctuary is a cross between a monster catcher RPG and a Metroidvania. I am interested in both of those things, so I decided to check it out.

This game is better than Pokemon in every conceivable way except for the most important one: Monster designs. As you can see in the banner above, monster designs are incredibly basic, usually consisting of real plants, animals, or mythical creatures with only minor twists. And those tiny overworld sprites are all you’re getting; you don’t get to see detailed closeups in battle like you do in Pokemon. This is highly unfortunate, because the game is otherwise very enjoyable and has a number of features I wish Pokemon would include.


Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is an auteur project by the creator of Symphony of the Night after he left Konami. Like many SotN fans, I was excited for it.

This is porn. Having played Order of Ecclesia, I was prepared for some skeeviness when I heard there was a female PC, but I was unprepared for just how far Igarashi was willing to go now that he had access to full 3D. I returned it the day after I bought it, because I simply couldn’t stomach it.