The Metroidvania genre sits close to my heart. It focuses on some of my favorite aspects of gaming; exploration, level design and continues upgrades. The only issue the genre has is that’s pretty hard to pull-off. And both Metroid and Castlevania didn’t give much of a chance to other games since they’re just that damn good.
It’s been long now since either Nintendo or Namco released a game in those series. Fans of the genre were left thirsty. So who picked up the torch? The fans. The good-old indie developers. So without further ado, my Top 5 Metroidvania games that aren’t Metroid or Castlevania:
Double Fine Productions are well known for their great adventure games. So, seeing them tackle such a game-play heavy genre was intriguing. And playing through the game I can safely say that Headlander deserves a spot in this list, and not just for its gameplay. Double Fine’s style of storytelling and great characters made the game standout from other titles in the genre.
This is a recent release from Team Cherry, and it’s their first game, as far as I could find, but an excellent game nonetheless. Hollow Knight has most of the great elements you want from a Metroidvania game. Great level design, exploration, and upgrades. The game also adds what made both Metroid and Castlevania such successes. The aesthetic. The world around you, the characters, locations and, even if it’s minimal, the dialogue, all shape this great image of a dark, sad and lonely world. What more could you want?
Steamworld Dig mixes Dig Dug’s gameplay mechanics with the Metroidvania genre, making this odd open level design that you shape by yourself. You dig you way through the level to reach points of interest, and you also gain new abilities and upgrades as you go. Lastly, the game aesthetics comes in a light-hearted western cowboy steam robotic theme.
More Metroid than a Castlevania, Xeodrifter is the most classical of the games in this list. Playing through it, I felt like I’m going back in time to play through an unfinished Metroid game. And I only say unfinished because the game was short, too short. And too many bosses repeat. But still the game was a solid Metroidvania.
There are a few games, or even movies and comics, that each and every part of it feels and acts like a part of the world it’s built in. It needs meticulous attention to details. Guacamelee is one of those games. The art design, characters, story, soundtrack, etc. All put together to give you the experience of a mighty Luchador Wrestler out to avenge his love.
Those were my Top 5 Metroidvania games that aren’t Metroid or Castlevania. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my list. And thank you for reading.