Top 5: Metroidvania Games that I’ve Not Played but Should

Having recently immersed myself in Ori and the Blind Forest, it’s reminded me of how much I enjoy (and occasionally despise but still enjoy) metroidvania games. Of late, it’s been hard for me to turn away from action/shooter madness and open world adventures, but games of Metroid and Castlevania once ruled the roost. Various titles from both series were constantly in the Super Nintendo or PlayStation. Once I obtained a Nintendo DS, I placed a number of games on repeat, like Metroid: Zero Mission, Metroid Fusion, and Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.

With the advent of 3D platfomers and more modern titles, 2D metroidvania games slowly fell by the waist side. It really wasn’t until I joined Steam in 2011 that I began to refocus on them. And by “refocus” I mean “show interest in a few key titles but never purchase them because I can’t stop playing Mass Effect and Dragon Age.” Ah, well. Eventually I came to my senses. Playing Guacamelee (which I’ve yet to finish) helped start things off. I completed Dust: An Elysian Tail. And thanks to the suggestion from a YouTube viewer, I played Ori and the Blind Forest. But I still have quite a long way to go if I want to make my way back to my metroidvania roots. Inspired in part by this article from GameSpot, Roundup – The Month of Metroidvania, here’s my top five list of metroidvania games that I’ve not yet played but really, really should.  

Cave Story+

Image © Studio Pixel, Nicalis, Inc. (2011, 2017)

This game, the enhanced version of the original from 2004, has been sitting in my Steam wishlist since…well, since forever it seems. When we talk about indie games, Cave Story might be among the grandfathers of the mid-2000s scene. I’ve heard it’s pretty simple to play, at least in terms of platforming, and has a very compelling story. And since it’s also supposed to be a short game, maybe it’d perfect to fire up on a rainy Saturday afternoon? Those seems to be in abundance in my neck of the woods, anyway.

Steamworld Dig (1 and 2)

Image by Flickr user PlayStation Europe (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Now here’s a game that was nowhere on my radar until Steamworld Dig 2 was released last year. And only then it was because the game somehow infiltrated my Twitter feed for a good while. But with a name like Steamworld Dig, I have to admit that I poorly assumed it to be something like Terreria, and not the metroidvania game that it actually is. Based on the videos I’ve seen of the second game, the two games look super fun, and they’re also widely available, so I really should see about adding them to my library somehow.

Axiom Verge

Image (also lede) by Flickr user PlayStation Europe (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Alright, so here’s a real case of “no excuse,” because I have Axiom Verge on the Wii U! And really, that’s that. I have the game and simply need to play it. And okay, so… I have played a couple hours of it, and maybe I’m just too nervous to admit that it really tested the limits of my patience. Not that it was extremely difficult, but like metroidvania games, it was a little unforgiving at times. Since I’ve brushed up my platforming skills with Ori and the Blind Forest, I’m thinking that another go with Axiom Verge now may produce better results. Of course, I just have to finish Breath of the Wild first…

Hollow Knight

Image © Team Cherry (2017)

It was hard to escape Hollow Knight last year when it was released. It seemed everyone was playing it and loving it. I finally threw it in my Steam wish list during the last big sale, and I’ll probably make a go at purchasing it during the next one. Maybe. I think. I know there’s no reason to hem and haw, because there’s nothing about the game that doesn’t appeal to me. The graphics, the play style, even the challenge of it are all positives in my book. There are no reasons to say “no” any longer!

Salt and Sanctuary

Image by Flickr user PlayStation Europe (CC BY-NC 2.0)

When you go to Ska Studio’s Salt and Sanctuary hub, they tell you right off the bat that the game is “fast,” brutal,” and “complex.” In the gaming community, this game is associated with Dark Souls-levels of difficulty. At this point in my gaming life, this is all negative information. And yet…when I watch Salt and Sanctuary being played, a large part of me wants to be immersed in its world. With RPG-like additions, it’s not strictly a metroidvania game, but the gameplay comes close enough for me to make the association, and I do like me some RPGs. In the end, Salt and Sanctuary looks too unique and special to turn down simply on the basis of what I believe to be my own limitations.

Got any metroidvania games that I should add to my “to play” list? What are some of your favorites of the genre?


  1. Matt says:

    Having played all of them save for Salt and Sanctuary, you are in for a treat. Hollow Knight in particular is up there with the best games ever in my book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. cary says:

      I’ve not heard a bad thing about Hollow Knight, other than it can be challenging at times. Writing this definitely help rekindle a fire, and I’m really looking forward to spending some time on these games!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matt says:

        Yeah, it can be hard and, due to that, cause some frustration. But the game is so excellent that you just keep going.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin says:

    Agree with Matt, Hollow Knight is superb. I need to go over my list of games for Metroidvania recommendations. I’ve been on a binge for the genre for a while now, getting and playing through every game I can find. I’m waiting for Timespinners which should release on steam sometime this month. Have had my eye on it for a while but it’s not even available for preorder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Timespinners? That one I’ve not heard of; I’ll have to take a gander at it on Steam. Before this year, I’d been out of the metroidvania loop for awhile, so it seems I have a lot of catching up to do. 🙂


  3. Matt says:

    Yeah, it is pretty cool there are so many Metroidvania games coming out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    During this unofficial “month of metroidvania” (which it isn’t a thing but is still fun to celebrate anyway), it seemed only fitting that I revisit and recall my own past in the genre, while also mildly lamenting that there are so many metroidvania games that I’ve yet to play! See my top picks here on Virtual Bastion.


  5. Drakulus says:

    Hollow Knight is quickly becoming one of my favorite games of all time. It’s amazing and if you had to choose one game from this list to buy I recommend buying this game. It’s fantastic and some parts of it will have you wanting to pull your hair out.

    Salt and Sanctuary is fantastic too. I love the fact that it has local co op.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Based on my experience with Ori and the Blind Forest, I feel like any game would *seem* easy…though I know that’s not the case in reality. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation! I do want to pick up Hollow Knight during Steam’s next big sale. When I’d get around to playing it is another matter…but at least it’d be there!

      Liked by 1 person

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