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A Metroidvania is exactly what you think—it’s a game that has elements of both Metroid and Castlevania games. Metroidvanias are typically side-scrollers with an interconnected world. While you’re unable to access certain areas of the map at first, you can always return once you have a certain item or ability.
If you miss the days of exploring a complex map, collecting, items, and defeating difficult enemies, you should pick up a modern Metroidvania. These games on Steam will satisfy that Metroidvania craving.
1. Gato Roboto
Replace Samus with a cat, and you’ll get Gato Roboto. That’s right, you play as an adorable cat that wears a power suit. Inside the mech, you can shoot enemies and jump your way across platforms. Exit your armor to squeeze into tight spaces, or to pilot a submarine and travel waterways.
This Metroidvania game presents itself in a classic, black-and-white Gameboy style. As you progress through the Metroid-like facility, you’ll come across cartridges that allow you to change the colors of the map.
While Gato Roboto is similar to Metroid in style and combat, Hollow Knight is a bit different. The game takes place in the kingdom of Hallownest, where you play as a nameless bug-like knight. As you explore an intricate underground world, you’ll fight back against malicious creatures using your sword and spells.
Not only is this game beautifully drawn, but it has a responsive combat system that makes it even more satisfying to play.
Looking for a Metroidvania and roguelike hybrid? The artfully-crafted Sundered is the game for you. You take on the role of Eshe, while you traverse a dangerous procedurally-generated cavern.
The Lovecraftian-inspired environment comes with huge bosses, and slews of relentless monsters that you’ll constantly need to slash your way past. That said, expect to die frequently in Sundered—it’s the perfect game for challenge-hungry players.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night comes from Koji Igarashi, the same director of the original Metroidvania, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. While Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night serves as a spiritual successor to Symphony of the Night, it puts a modern twist of Castlevania, and still has those demonic and gothic undertones that you love.
You play as Miriam, an orphan suffering from a curse will eventually turn her body into crystal. Miriam’s former friend, Gebel, summons demons to wreak havoc on England. As you control Miriam’s path through Gebel’s castle, you’ll use both melee and ranged attacks to destroy the demons in your path.
The Messenger blends elements from the classic Ninja Gaiden games as well as the Metroidvania genre. It takes place in a ninja village that gets ambushed by a Demon King. One of the few surviving ninjas is given the mission to deliver a scroll and save his people.
As the Messenger himself, you’ll make your way through a variety of treacherous environments. During your journey, you’ll unlock new abilities that allow you to climb, glide mid-air, throw shurikens, and use a grappling hook. The beginning of this game plays more like a typical platformer—it later transforms into a Metroidvania involving time travel.
6. Dead Cells
Dead Cells calls itself a RogueVania, a game that has both the interconnected levels of a Metroidvania, and a roguelike’s looming possibility of permadeath. You play as a blob of cells that takes over the body of a dead prisoner.
The way you progress is up to you—pick the path that best suits your build, or just go with what you feel like. When you kill enemies and bosses, you’ll collect cells that you can use to upgrade your abilities. Just remember that if you die, you’ll lose all of the cells you’ve collected!
TouHou Luna Nights‘ style is quite uncanny compared to the other Metroidvania games on this list. If you’re a fan of the vertical-scrolling bullet hell game, Touhou Project, you might recognize the main character, Sakuya Izayoi. Touhou Luna Nights is essentially a Metroidvania tribute to the Touhou Project, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a fan of the Touhou Project in order to play.
In Touhou Luna Nights, you take control of a maid who’s transported to a parallel universe. Although Sakuya might look dainty, she has deadly throwing knives and time-slowing abilities in her arsenal.
Metroidvanias Are Here to Stay
You don’t always have to play a retro Metroid or Castlevania game if you want a side-scrolling adventure game. New Metroidvania games are alway getting released. Plus, they have a modern touch that offers a refreshing take on the classics.
More challenging PC games? Check out the best bullet hell games on PC!