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A subtype of the Action-Adventure genre, usually with platformer elements, Metroidvania refers to any game containing the major gameplay concepts shared by the Metroid series and later Castlevania games.

Your typical Metroidvania game is portrayed as a single large area or a set of large areas, broken up into many different rooms, corridors, and open spaces. Most early examples have Respawning Enemies in most areas; however in The New '10s Dark Souls (often viewed as an adjacent game in genre) would set the trend for only having them respawn after resting at a save point, among other influences; but this is still not always the case. Progress in the game is driven by the discovery of Video Game Tools (items with some sort of functionality) that allow the player to navigate obstacles and "unlock" new areas, while also serving as more than just a "key"; for example, a weapon powerful enough to destroy certain walls will often deal more damage to enemies, and the ability to climb walls could be used to avoid enemies as well as reach high places.

The player will often pass many insurmountable obstacles as they explore the game, which they must backtrack to after finding the appropriate item/ability, often made easier by opening Doors To Before. There are usually many secrets hidden around the game, some far more difficult to obtain than any item required to proceed.

It often contains mild RPG Elements as well, like stat-boosting equipment or a level system; some of these games will have multiple playable characters with different abilities and require the player to switch between them. But if not, expect to find hidden Heart Containers in every nook and cranny.

Despite the openness of the game, progression is usually linear, with the more difficult areas separated by natural barriers such as high shelves, sealed or locked doors, or other obstacles that can only be bypassed by finding specific items or weapons. Among gamers, Sequence Breaking is a common stunt used to access these areas before the player is "supposed" to.

The definition of this Sub-Genre varies somewhat depending on whom you ask. People seem to variably demand some or all of the following traits:

It's worth noting that not all MV's have all of these elements and not all games with some of these elements are MV's. Unsure examples can be placed in the Adjacent/Psuedo category beneath the main list.

This sub-genre gets its name from the Metroid and Castlevania series. The Trope Maker was Metroid, published in 1986, and subsequent Metroid games have consistently used it in all of its installments (except Prime Pinball of course), with Super Metroid being one of the Trope Codifiers. Castlevania first used the style in 1987's Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (building on the less-linear nature of 1986's Vampire Killer compared to the first NES game), before abandoning it and then returning to it after the success of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the Co-Codifier.

The term itself was originally used for the Castlevania games of the same style as Symphony of the Night, but Jeremy Parish of Retronauts, expanded the definition so that it referred to an entire genre; his use of the term popularized it, and along with it his definition. Ironically, the designer of Symphony of the Night actually modeled that game on the The Legend of Zelda series, which also shares a number of traits with this genre though is often overlooked in discussions due to not being 2D side-scrolling. (The other branch of the Castlevania series (level by level straight platforming action) is sometimes called the "Classicvania" style, for reference.)

While Metroid and Castlevania were the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier, respectively, the Ur-Examples were Brain Breaker (1984/1985) and Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu (1985). Several early Metroidvania titles were inspired by these titles, particularly Xanadu. Metroidvania elements could be traced further back to non-platformer games Tutankham (1982) and The Portopia Serial Murder Case (1983). Modern reviewers also noticed System Shock (1994)— released a few months before Super Metroid — also shares a lot with the genre, albeit in First Person, and would generate its own sub-genre of Immersive Sim, which would include a lot of elements from Metroidvanias.

A somewhat lesser version of this was fairly popular towards the end of the Nintendo Entertainment System's life cycle. The game would be separated into stages, but each stage was a wide-open, explorable area instead of a linear progression. Many of these games allowed you to revisit a stage after you already beat it.

Games in this genre tend to be a four (or three) on the Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness. Finally, it should also be noted that "Metroidvania" is the term used in English-speaking markets; in Japanese markets, the genre is known as "exploration action".note  Other terms that have seen common use to describe such games include "Castletroid", "Castleroid", "Metrovania", "IGAvania", "Metroid-Like", "Metroid-Lite", "Lite-Metroidvania", "search action", "Soulsvania", "Metroulslike"/"Soultroid"/"Metroidborne"/"Hollowlike"note  , "Zeltroidvania", "Zeltroidvanisoulslike", "Roguevania", "Metroguelike", "Crest-Like", "Cave-Like, "X-Like", "Knightmare-Like", and "non-linear action-adventure platformer" (with or without capitalizations).

If you're interested in making your own, check out our how-to Make a Metroidvania.


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    Trope Namers 
  • Most of the Metroid games of course, with the mainline 2D/2½D games being undisputed examples of this genre, which Nintendo themselves refers to as "exploration action." Super Metroid solidified its place as trope co-codifier not only thanks to the exploration and progression angle, but also for providing plenty of opportunities for sequence breaking, some intentional (Wall Jumping, Shinespark, infinite bomb jumping) and some not (like the "mockball" glitch, which would go on to be an Ascended Glitch in later entries). The line is blurred with the 3D games (the Metroid Prime Trilogy sub-series and Metroid: Other M), though these games still otherwise follow the same template, albeit in three dimensions rather than two. The clear exceptions are the handful of Spin-Off games: Metroid Prime: Hunters (more of a first-person shooter with a few exploration elements), Metroid Prime Pinball (a pinball game), and Metroid Prime: Federation Force (a co-op FPS).
  • For a period, almost all of the 2D Castlevania games fit this build. From 1997's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1) up until 2008 Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS) the series was a Trope Codifier. Symphony of the Night isn't the first time that the Castlevania series experimented with the genre, either; Vampire Killer and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest shared many of the same gameplay elements, though the latter didn't have the closed complex setting typical of the genre, and the former had no RPG Elements nor permanent upgradesnote . The series has since seemingly moved away from the 2D Metroidvania style for 3D Action-Adventure Hack and Slash format. An interesting note is that, since Metroidvania is Western terminology for the genre, the man behind most of these Metroidvania titles had actually never heard of the term until around 2012 (though he quite liked it). He said his inspiration in creating Symphony of the Night actually came from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (which in turn borrowed elements from Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu and the original Metroid).


  • Banjo-Tooie adds more interconnectivity between areas and even ability gating. Though the later part of the game opts more for plot coupon gating, this encourages visiting older levels with said new abilities to find them.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum note 
  • Battle Kid combines this with a less unfair version of I Wanna Be the Guy.
  • Battle Princess Madelyn
  • The Battle of Olympus
  • Beacon of Hope stars a lamp but otherwise is a normal Metroidvania, though as it's only in development we don't know what abilities Beacon will unlock.
  • Beholgar: a retraux barbarian fantasy
  • Bionic Commando (1988) and its remake.
  • Blasphemous: a gruesome Souls inspired series with a grim world and story influenced by Spanish Catholicism. The original is an unconventional example note 
    • Blasphemous II however is a pure example with conventional ability gating. Though with it's unique RPG spin with having you choose a starting weapon with a unique traversal perk that will greatly change how the first half of your playthrough goes.
  • Blaster Master: An early example that took a Zelda inspired structure and fused it with side-scrolling shooter gameplay.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a Kickstarter Spiritual Successor of the Castlevania series by Koji Igarashi, producer of many of the trope-naming Castlevania games. He coined the term "Igavania" to refer to games in his gothic style.
  • Bloody Hell
  • Blue Fire: A 3-D platformer with an equal mix of ability gates, Zelda style keys and plot coupons, and Souls style doors that are locked from one side; all in an interconnected world.
  • Brain Breaker, developed in 1984 and released for the Sharp X1 computer in 1985, is one of the first true Metroidvania-style games, along with Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, released the same year.
  • The Breach
  • Bunny Must Die
  • Cally's Caves series
  • Captain Comic and its sequel
  • Carpathian Night, an indie effort inspired by old-school gothic-style games.
  • Carrion, a reverse-horror where the player is an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Castle in the Darkness
  • Cathedral, a Retraux like side-scrolling Zelda mixed with Ghosts 'N' Goblins and other inspirations.
  • Catmaze, a retraux inspired by the Zelda games and Slavic folklore.
  • Cave Story is clearly influenced by both Castlevania and Metroid. There are various items and abilities needed to proceed through the game, and backtracking yields many hidden areas and items that were completely unobtainable when first encountered.
  • Chasm is a Metroidvania game with procedurally generated levels.
  • Citadale - The Legends Trilogy, a trilogy of mediocre, low-budget Symphony of the Night knockoffs. Consisting of Gate of Souls, Curse of Darkness and Legacy of Fate
  • Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus, a complete Genre Shift from the original Finding Teddy, which was an Adventure Game.
  • Clarence's Big Chance: Sort of. Though the game itself is very linear, each level is very open and full of secrets.
  • Clash at Demonhead was widely considered an early example of the genre.
  • Clunky Hero
  • Codename Droid, a BBC Micro game, is another early example.
  • Control is a Third-Person Shooter that follows this format. There is a linear story to be followed in uncovering the mysteries of The Oldest House, but the ever-increasing upgrades and Psychic Powers encourages exploring every weird and transcendental corner of the place for sidequests and extra goodies.
  • Cookie Cutter
  • Curse Of The Sea Rats a Rattroidvania where every character is a rodent.
  • Craz'd!
  • Crowsworn a homage to Hollow Knight but Darker and Edgier and with More Dakka; from the dev of Unworthy.

  • Dandara note 
  • Daniel X: The Ultimate Power (DS)
  • Darksiders
    • Darksiders is a 3D, third-person game with the Metroidvania elements of using new equipment/abilities to unlock different areas, and freely backtracking to previous areas to collect previously unreachable items or treasure.
    • Darksiders II is much the same with the addition of more RPG Elements via a variety of weapons and armor with various stats and a skill progression tree. Both games also takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda with distinct dungeons that have puzzles to be solved and doors to be unlocked using the items and keys found inside.
    • Darksiders III is by far the most direct example with its much more constricting world design that stresses ability gating more than any other title in the series.
  • The Dark Dwellers
  • Death's Door: A top-down Zelda-like but with consistent ability gating and multiple reasons to backtrack to completed dungeons and some soulsy elements as well.
  • Deaths Gambit: Afterlife note 
  • Demons Of Asteborg, a new original title for the SEGA MegaDrive / Genesis with a Gothic setting similar to the old Castlevania games.
  • Demon Hunter: The Return of the Wings, a 2D side-view RPG with unlockable areas and abiltiies.
  • Demoniaca: Everlasting Night combines Castlevania with fighting game style combat
  • Dex note 
  • Disney Illusion Island is a rare combat-free example, but still takes place in one giant 2D map filled with platforming.
  • The Divide: Enemies Within for the PSX and PC is a rather excellent 3-D example of this.
  • DNA is a short example of the genre made in 48 hours for a game making competition with the theme of evolution.
  • Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, released in 1985, was the Ur-Example of Metroidvania gameplay, along with Brain Breaker. The later Dragon Slayer games Faxanadu, Legacy of the Wizard and Sorcerian continued the Metroidvania format established by Xanadu.
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail is a furry Stylish Action take
  • Ebenezer and the Invisible World: A sequel to the Charles Dickens classic where the titular character recruits ghosts to fight a cruel industrialist.
  • Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising: An oppressively linear take on the genre, but still ticks just enough boxes.
  • Elderand: A lovecraftian barbarian fantasy.
  • Elypse
  • Elephant Quest is a free flash game in which a cute elephant sets out on a quest to reclaim his hat made in this format. With lasers.
  • The final levels of the two main games in the Emogame series (especially the second one) play out like this. The third would've been entirely like this had it been finished.
  • Endeavor requires players to find different items/collect special upgrading fruit to be able to reach new areas.
  • ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights, which also ticks most of the boxes of a Souls-like RPG.
  • ENDER MAGNOLIA: Bloom in the Mist
  • Environmental Station Alpha, which heavily borrows from Metroid aesthetically and Super Metroid gameplay wise.
  • The Empire Strikes Back could be seen as a proto example, with platforming, non-linear exploration and a sort of leveling. What keeps it from being a true Metroidvania is the fact that it’s separated by levels.
  • Escape from Puppy Death Factory a browser MV by Adult Swim Games.
  • Eternal Darkness is somewhat unique in that you never actually leave the hub world; the plot involves main character Alex reading the histories of previous owners of the game's Tome of Eldritch Lore, and by experiencing their stories, she is given access to the magick spells that they learned in their time, going on to cast the spell herself and uncover a new means of going deeper into the mansion to find more pages of the Tome.
  • Eternal Daughter starts with the protagonist able to do the typical platforming routine, but certain areas in each level can only be reached once she gets the ability to jump higher, slide off walls, etc.
  • The console version of Exhumed/ Power Slave is possibly one of the earliest examples of a Metroidvania FPS, predating Metroid Prime by almost a decade.
  • Evil Genome, a post-apocalyptic Hack and Slash/shooter hybrid. Kind of like a non-anime companion to Dead Or School.
  • Exorcist Fairy, a Hollow Knight homage from China where you're an adorable hulijing exploring six different and interconnected worlds of the supernatural.
  • The ROM hack Extra Mario Bros is a Metroidvania game built on Super Mario Bros., and is probably the only example of the genre with one-way scrolling.

  • Fantastic Dizzy
  • Fearmonium, a horror-themed modern take.
  • Ferazel's Wand for Mac OS.
  • Fe
  • Fez: While additional powers are gained, the real key to progress is figuring out how to read the clues in the game in order to solve the puzzles and gain trinkets, which are used to unlock various doors.
  • F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch: A Deisel-Punk, Stylish-Action fusion with furries (or "Furtizens" if you will).
  • Flip Witch Forbidden Sex Hex a surprisingly great H-Game example inspired by Momodora and WayForward games.
  • Flynn: Son of Crimson has the title character collecting spirits for his companion Dex that allows him the use of new abilities to expand the ability to explore the world.
  • Foregone is basically Dead Cells if it was actually a Metroidvania.
  • Frontier Hunter Erzas Wheel Of Fortune is like Bloodstained with an ecchi and sci-fi tinge
  • Full Quiet
  • The Gargoyle's Quest trilogy.
  • Gato Roboto, a monochrome Retraux outing with a cat protagonist.
  • Ghost 1.0 is a 2-D platformer with nonlinear exploration. The player collects new abilities and upgrades (some permanent, some temporary) as they explore, and must gather key card fragments in order to progress to new areas.
  • Ghostly Matter: a Metroidvania that is Retraux not only in its graphics and soundtrack, but also gameplay and difficulty. Prepare to whip out pen and paper to take notes on where to go and where to use/take the various items. Also contains elements of graphic adventure, with multiple documents to read and examine, especially in the beginning.
  • Ghost Song, another game from Kickstarter, is probably the most Metroid-ish take on the Soulslike genre.
  • Ghoul School
  • The Goonies II
  • Green Lantern (2011): Rise of the Manhunters (DS/3DS/Wii)
  • Graven A Hexen homage but in an interconnected world with ability gates.
  • Greak Memories Of Azur: A character-switching puzzle platform adventure with light soulsy elements.
  • Grime a brutal Stone-Punk Soulslike with body horror abound even without flesh.
  • Grokion (iOS)
  • Guacamelee!: A Metroidvania where wrestling moves double as traversal tools.
  • The Guise
  • GunGirl 2 has a linear main plot but a Metroidvania-type world with plenty of hidden upgrades.

  • HAAK
  • Haiku, the Robot
  • Hasslevania: The Quest For Shuteye, a parody of the Castlevania series.
  • Haydee: A moddable 3D Metroidvania with third-person shooter and platforming elements, staring a scantily-clad and buxom cyborg lady.
  • Headlander: Made by Double Fine, a rather unique take on the genre as progress isn't as much locked behind skills or abilities that you unlock, but rather the robot bodies you take control of, with higher level robots giving you access to more areas.
  • Heart Forth, Alicia
  • Hebereke for the Famicom (and the Euro Release Ufouria). Something about a drunk duck (hebereke translates into stumbling drunk) falling into an alternate dimension with his animal-ish friends who have to find a way back home (or so it appears). Plays like Metroid meets Mario. All the sequels on the SNES completely abandoned this genre and are party games; until Ufouria 2 released in 2024
  • Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit with heavy WarioWare/Wario Land inspiration.
  • Hero Core, by the creator of Iji, can basically be described as the combination of a Metroidvania and a Shoot 'Em Up.
  • Heroine Anthem Zero, a side-scrolling JRPG-style take on the genre.
  • The Adventure Time video game Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?! has elements of this. Finn and Jake run around the Land of Ooo, fighting monsters and learning new powers in order to progress at certain points.
  • High on Life: Yet another 3-D First-Person Shooter example.
  • Hob, where you're a robot exploring an open world that literally reveals itself piece-by-piece when you activate machinery. It's also a top down view, but world exploration is very ability gated and interconnected throughout, even with underground dungeons seemlessly woven in and out the world.
  • The free and moderately NSFW Holdover
  • Hollow Knight is another "love letter" to the genre, with a very Metroid feel and a plethora of Shout Outs. Also a trope codifier for the "Soulsvania" niche despite being much more a "Bloodtroid" or "Metroidborne".
  • Horace note 
  • Houchou Shoujo Gensoukyoku is Yume Nikki reimagined as an action metroidvania.
  • Iconoclasts by Joachim "konjak" Sandberg, albeit one that is a bit more linear than usual.
  • Imp of the Sun is an open world Metroidvania-style 2D action-platformer where you play as the titular Imp who must save the Sun from those who stole power from it.
  • In 60 Seconds is a freeware "micro-vania". As the title suggests, you get just one minute to gather all the abilities required to reach the boss and defeat it.
  • Infernax is a Retraux game in a similar vein to Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, but filled with loads of 8-bit blood and gore.
  • Indivisible, a game by Lab Zero that mixes the genre with a combat system inspired by Valkyrie Profile.
  • Inexistence Rebirth
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, albeit lacking the platformer elements typical for the genre due to playing in a spacecraft the whole game, but you will still enhance it's flight capabilities.
  • Islets from the devs of Sheepo
  • Itorah


  • Laika: Aged Through Blood is a two-dimensional "Motorvania" in which all exploration and combat is done upon a motorcycle that can block and parry bullets.
  • La-Mulana: Notorious for their incredibly obtuse puzzles inspired by Knightmare II; alongside traditional gameplay difficulty.
    • The first game, in two levels of quality, MSX original and SNES remake. The game follows Lemeza, a Japanese-American Adventure Archaeologist who explores an ancient, trap filled ruin.
    • La-Mulana 2, a kickstarted sequel to the first game, starring Lemeza's daughter Lumisa. Known for being more forgiving and accessible than the original but that's not saying much.
  • The Last Case Of Benedict Fox: A comic-horror themed take with Adventure Game style puzzles.
  • The Last Faith, described by reviews as Soulslike RPG-meets-Castlevania in the visual-style and ultra-violent presentation of Blasphemous
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, although its sequels were much more linear in nature.
  • Legend of Kalevala is an online Flash Metroidvania by Dit Dah Games.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (GBA)
  • The Legend of Tian-ding, a Taiwanese entry where you're a Just Like Robin Hood master thief opposing the Japanese in the early 20th Century
  • The Legend of Zelda note  Entries that fill the genre criteria the most include:
  • Lemegeton is a cross between this and Boss Game, as you are challenged to defeat the 72 demons of the Ars Goetia, and they typically show up every three-or-four rooms.
  • Level Up
  • Lila's Sky Ark
  • Loopmancer, though the levels plays out like a Beat 'em Up
  • Lords of Exile
  • Lord Of The Sword for the Sega Master System.
  • Lunacid: Another Immersive Sim example with many unlockable abilities that change how you traverse and interact with the interconnected world.
  • Lyle in Cube Sector combines this with the gameplay of Super Mario Bros. 2 and a fair bit of surrealism.
  • Magenta Horizon, inspired by Hollow Knight
  • Maptroid is an Affectionate Parody. You collect items which make you backtrack to reach new areas on the alien planet, but there's no combat or platforming, because you're travelling a map tile by tile.
  • Marrow combines standard metroidvania framework (backtracking, key abilities, exploration) with survival horror aspect (oppressive environment, difficult and unforgiving gameplay, lack of map and other comforting features etc.).
  • Mega Man:
    • The first Mega Man Zero game.
    • The first Mega Man ZX
    • Mega Man ZX Advent note 
    • Mega Man Network Transmission note 
    • The ROM Hack Rockman 4 Minus ∞ note 
    • The first Mega Man Legends note 
  • Meifumado
  • Meikyuujou Hydra
  • Mendacium looks like Hollow Knight with a reptilian theme and prehistoric setting.
  • The Messenger (2018) starts as a linear Platform Game before switching to yours truly in the latter half.
  • The earlier Metal Gear games have this format due to having a pretty loose plot structure.
  • Metal Walker, while an Action RPG, has elements of this. Returning to previous areas with more Core Units can get you items, gold, and in some cases, new Recipes and special Cores.
  • Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City
  • Mind Seize
  • Minoria, from the creators of Momodora.
  • Miracle Mia
  • The Mobius Machine
  • Momodora 4 and 5
  • Moonlight Pulse from the creator of Vision Soft Reset.
  • Moonscars, one with a very deep, dark gothic atmosphere
  • Monster Sanctuary is notable in that it combines the genre with mon RPG-style battling and collection.
  • Monster Tale is this, with a side order of RPG elements. Your main character gains new powers in Metroidvania fashion, by finding them. Your sidekick gains new powers from EXP and leveling up.
  • Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
  • The Mummy Demastered is a Licensed Game much better received than the film it was promoting; and plays like Contra with Igavania level design, Metroid's character progression, with a tiny dash of Souls-like RPG.
  • Mystik Belle, with traits of a Point-And-Click Adventure Game.


  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star has heavy elements of this, but with Adventure Game puzzles and RPG battles littering the levels.
  • Patch Quest is a a Mon hybrid of a Roguelike and Metroidvania where you're exploring a disserted island, capturing and riding monsters.
  • The Phantom 2040 videogame for the SNES and Genesis. (Different areas are connected through a world map rather than being continuous, but it's still a good, classic example of this genre.)
  • Pharaoh Rebirth (the sequel of the freeware title Return of Egypt) is another example of game with self-contained stages, but otherwise fits the definition.
  • PhoenixSpirit (iOS)
  • Phoenotopia: Awakening A colorful Zelda II homage
  • Pitfall! II: Lost Caverns was a precursor to the genre, as well as sequels Super Pitfall and Pitfall: The Lost Expedition/The Big Adventure. Another precursor was Montezuma's Revenge, where the game world is a bit small, but with familiar gameplay elements.
  • Poacher, a freeware release made in Game Maker by Yahtzee Croshaw of Zero Punctuation fame. A bit unusual in that most of the overworld opens up after a certain point early in the story and you're free to tackle the different areas in any order. Each major area uses the basic jump-and-shoot controls for a different gimmick, such as a sneaking around a dark tomb or vertical platforming up through gigantic trees. The big upgrade in each area is also only required to clear that particular area and generally just makes things easier or allows you to access secrets in the others. The progression gets more linear again after clearing all the areas and making it to the last act of the story.
  • There are many areas in the Pokémon series that are not inaccesible because of Broken Bridges, but because you need the right HMs, usually Cut, Strength or Rock Smash. An important HM is Surf, which allows you to travel to islands, where some gyms and Legendaries are. Where does the ability to use HMs outside of battle come from? Badges from Gyms.
  • The Portopia Serial Murder Case, released in 1983, could be considered an early first-person Metroidvania. It had key Metroidvania elements, such as an open world with interconnecting areas, backtracking to previous locations, and finding new items to unlock previous areas.
  • Prey (2017): Another rare 3D example much like it's spiritual predecessor System Shock. With areas, paths, and secrets becoming accessible with new powers and tools. Being an Immersive Sim, the player has greater choice in what they unlock next. Though resources for leveling still need exploration to find.
  • Prince of Persia:
    • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within The rest of the "Sands Of Time" trilogy are not though.
    • Prince of Persia (2008) is an interesting example of the 3D kind. While the abilities the Prince and Elika gain help them explore new areas, they don't find the abilities, they buy them... but they use light seeds to buy the abilities, and the only way to find enough light seeds to buy a new power is to use your latest power to explore a new area.
    • Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown A 2.5D return to sidescrolling that brings MV design to the mix.
  • Project Black Sun, an extremely difficult one where you must escape a mine with aggressive wildlife.
  • Pronty, one set entirely underwater where players are the eponymous fish-boy
  • Pseudoregalia is a 3-D example that takes the expressive movement of N64-era collectathons and puts it in a fully interconnected world ripe for sequence breaking and has you play as a voluptuous cat/rabbit/goat-thing.

  • Rabi-Ribi combines its Metroidvania gameplay with brutal Bullet Hell bosses wrapped in a Cute 'em Up package. Notably, it encourages non-linearity to a point where Sequence Breaking is outright facilitated.
  • Surprisingly, the NES videogame of Rambo, which featured one of the most confusing, maze-like game worlds ever.
  • The older Ratchet & Clank games (The first 3 at least)note 
  • Rebel Transmute
  • Recompile: 3D example where you play as an antivirus inside an infected CPU.
  • Record of Lodoss War -Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth-, based on Ryo Mizuno's D&D-based novel and anime series, and created with the same engine used for Pharaoh Rebirth.
  • REDO
  • Remnants of Skystone
  • Repugnant Bounty A retraux Metroid II homage but with exploration more in line with Super Metroid
  • Rex Rocket is inspired by classics like Metroid, and is set on a Blob Monster and rogue robot-infested spaceship.
  • A Robot Named Fight! A full on roguelike with a distinct Super Metroid flavor with near identical controls and fully structured ability-gated worlds.
  • The Robot Wants series. All the games take place in a single level that is split into parts and has many bosses in each. The IOS game also has several more levels.
  • Rogue Legacy 2 - adds full ability gating into the mix.
  • Rune Fencer Illyia
  • Rush'n Attack: Ex-Patriot. Yes, Konami simultaneously revived one of their mustiest IPs and shamelessly ripped off Shadow Complex all in one.
  • Rygar, the NES version, which has a whole series of items to collect in order to improve your climbing skills more and more, and then makes you try to remember which previous stage had that unreachable ledge. Rygar further stands out by being released a month before Metroid, making it an Ur-Example.
  • Saga Of Sins, a game with graphics resembling stained church-glass set in a sprawling medieval world with up to 31 side-quests.
  • Salt and Sanctuary: Essentially the product of Dark Souls' aesthetic (with the art style of The Dishwasher) , combat, and RPG elements; and Metroid's ability based exploration, platforming and general feedback loop.
  • The Sacred Armour of Antiriad is retroactively considered one of these. As a fun fact, it was released in the same year as Metroid, only a few months apart, and the games have by pure coincidence thematic overlap.
  • Samurai Jack: The Amulet of Time for Game Boy Advance is a transparent wholesale ripoff of both the GBA Castlevania and Metroid games.
  • Scurge: Hive is an early isometric perspective example.
  • Secret Scout in the Temple of Demise is a not-too-good one of these by Color Dreams..
  • Shadow Complex on Xbox Live Arcade has been described by pretty much every single reviewer as an (awesome) callback to Metroid and Castlevania. This was intentional: the developers have openly admitted to basing it on said games, and spent the entire first month of development playing them. Even the minimap in the top right corner looks eerily familiar. On top of that, the debut article about the game in Play Magazine mentions Super Metroid 17 times. On the first page.
  • Shaman King: Master of Spirits 1 and 2 on the Game Boy Advance.
  • Shantae: Some of the games, including Shantae (2002), which have similarities to Monster World IV.
  • Shapik: The Moon Quest: A boy and his robot exploring an underground world After the End.
  • Sheepo: A combat-free example unique for gaining the ability to shapeshift into different critters that populate the world in certain areas.
  • Shinsekai: Into the Depths is a game set entirely underwater with the added task of keeping track of oxygen and pressure levels.
  • Singular Stone is a Vocaloid fan-game that let you play as 6 characters to prevent an ecological disaster on a planet.
  • Smelter, combined with Tower Defense and town builder elements.
  • Snailiad
  • Songbird Symphony: a self described "Musical Metroidvania", has to unlock new music notes that allow the player to play melodies that allow progress through an interconnected world.
  • Song of the Deep is another underwater example as the main character starts off in a mini-submarine that grows in power as she obtains weapons and movement upgrades.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The Game Gear spin-off Tails Adventure is divided into levels for cartridge space's sake. But everything else plays out like a Metroidvania, and you can revisit levels to look for new stuff.
    • Sonic Adventure has shades of this (all the levels are connected through a hubworld, you can backtrack and gain various items). Sonic Adventure 2 drops most of this.
    • Sonic Advance 3 seemed to be another stab at this: All worlds are connected through a hub, and different character combinations beyond the initial Tails and Sonic are needed to explore the levels fully and achieve 100% Completion.
    • The fan-made Sonic Chrono Adventure has two ring-shaped maps to be explored and abilities that transform Sonic. The developer used the term "Metronic" when talking about it, not feeling it had much influence from Castlevania.
  • Souldiers A 16-Bit Retraux entry with absurdly lengthy and elaborate dungeons, 3 radically different player classes, and unforgiving difficulty with some Souls-like inspirations contrasted by a very cutesy art style.
  • Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (DS)
  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (DS)
  • Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs is isometric but contains all of the other traits.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a rare 3D example, with plenty of backtracking, secret areas, and shortcuts that gradually open up the game's areas as the protagonist and his droid companion unlock new powers.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
  • Steamworld Dig: As you proceed deeper into the mines, obstacles appear that require a specific upgrade to pass.
  • Strider
    • The NES Game often requires returning to levels several times after obtaining keys or ability upgrades.
    • The 2014 reboot was developed as a much faster-pased style of game than the common Metroidvania, and the staff didn't adhere to its formula strictly, wanting to strike a balance between the exploration and the series' fast-paced action and combat.
  • Subbania: A Metroidvania where you pilot a submarine through underwater caves, collect upgrades to explore new areas, and survive against the creatures within. Everything figuratively and literally goes to hell as you go deeper.
  • Subnautica, although billed as a survival game, heavily follows the classic Metroidvania cycle of exploration and upgrades, especially if you turn off the survival elements. The twist is that it's set (mostly) underwater, so you have full 3-D movement rather than platforming, and the obstacles are primarily your oxygen capacity and crush depth. Complete with Doors to Before once you power up the warp gates, most of which connect to a hub area in the final alien facility.
  • The Sun at Night
  • Sundered manages to be a proper MV while having roguelike elements; with a map skeleton that stays consistent with item, lore, boss, shortcut, and challenge rooms that are static; with the caverns between being procedurally generated.
  • Super Daryl Deluxe have you playing as a nerdy high-school student in an RPGvania setting.
  • Super Epic The Entertainment War is a Metroidvania with Beat em up elements, and is a satire on monitaztions on video games, involving a raccoon and his llama steed to combat even evil corporation.
  • Super Gear Quest has two playable protagonists, Starter and Avatar Duo, each in their own worlds that require unlocking new abilities to access different areas. They also affect each other: Avatar Duo completing their areas is what gives Starter new abilities, but Starter has to get to terminals to be able to switch the player's control to them.
  • Super Panda Adventures: A Metroidvania about a Badass Adorable panda who needs to save his world, and the princess, from invading alien robots.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: The final stage of the game's Adventure mode, The Great Maze, where you have to explore a huge labyrinth based on previous levels to defeat all shadow clones and bosses to access the Final Boss. The rest of the mode is straight platforming.
  • Supraland, containing elements lifted from Legend of Zelda, Portal and Metroid.
  • The Swapper has a protagonist, setting, and map layout very similar to Metroid, only that it's a puzzle platformer instead of an action adventure.
  • Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan is laid out like this, likely as part of it being a tribute to Montezuma's Revenge.
  • System Shock of all things, although it's not that surprising considering where Metroid Prime was pulling its inspiration. The original game features a honeycomb map wherein the player is often forced to backtrack after acquiring an item that lets them proceed.

  • Tails Adventure has some shades of this. Though the game is level-based, there are branching paths in several levels and backtracking is allowed, and Tails can carry up to four items into a level, some of which are useful for uncovering other items.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
  • Terraria is somewhat of an example, since although the game is based around freely building and mining in a randomly generated map, certain areas are very difficult before finding or crafting the right tools or equipment.
    • The Story of Red Cloud, a Dark Souls–based mod of Terraria, includes a massive pre-built map with strategically placed items and removes the player's ability to freely build or destroy, turning the game into a full-fledged Metroidvania.
  • Teslagrad starts as a mostly linear Puzzle Platformer that has you return to a central shaft. Yet after you reach the top and fight a boss you eventually find yourself back at the bottom assigned to backtrack to find macguffins that let you activate a portal to the final area.
  • Teslagrad 2 is more of a Metroidvania from the beginning.
  • Timespinner is a Metroidvania inspired by the likes of the Nintendo DS era of Castlevania titles, particularly drawing inspiration from Order of Ecclesia, with an emphasis of using time travel to travel between the past, present, and future in the kingdom of Lachiem.
  • Tomba! and its sequel are all about this. There's all sorts of weapons, clothing, and other items that can be used to find and complete the 100+ quests scattered around the game world.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) as well as it's sequel Rise. Have connected and revistitable levels as well as several hub sections with secrets and areas that can only be obtained after certain gear is acquired/crafted/upgraded during the storyline.
  • Toshi Tenso Keikaku Eternal City for the PC-Engine.
  • Touhou Luna Nights, inspired by the series of doujin scrolling shooter games, and created with the same engine used for Pharaoh Rebirth.
  • Toziuha Night : Dracula's Revenge, a game that wants to be Castlevania so much that it hurts.
  • Transiruby, an 8-bit modern metroidvania where you're a Robot Girl exploring a sci-fi world.
  • Trash Quest: A compact game about a raccoon aboard a space station.
  • Treasure Adventure Game, a freeware pirate-themed game based around collecting treasures.
  • Tribal Hunter, An Early Access game based around eating foes and growing bigger. A low key inflation/vore fetish game whist not being overtly NSFW.
  • Tunic note 
  • Turbo Kid A sequel to the 2015 film of the same name.
  • Tutankham, released in 1982, could be considered a proto-Metroidvania, as it had some Metroidvania elements.
  • Ultros An psychidelic trip with roguelite elements.
  • Umbral Cloud, a freeware game made using the Zelda Classic engine.
  • Unbound Worlds Apart is mostly a puzzle platformer, but also have Metroidvania elements where you get to repeatedly backtrack and revisit areas.
  • Unsighted, albeit from a top-down perspective. What prevents it from being a Zelda clone is the level of interconnectivity dungeons have with the rest of the world often having mutiple entrances and exits and being very sequence breakable; in no small part due to the flexible platforming and crafting system that allows you to get abilities early if you know how to make them.
  • An Untitled Story
  • Unworthy an odd example with no jumping, but several weapons enhance your traversal abilites such as teleport arrows.
  • Usurper

  • Vagante
  • Valdis Story: Abyssal City note 
  • A Valley Without Wind has large elements of this, with the added bonus of being procedurally-generated at random.
  • Vernal Edge combines Wind Waker style island hopping with combat inspired by Devil May Cry plus a few "soulsy" touches.
  • The fourth part of the mod Vigilant consists in one made with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim engine. In terms of game design and visual inspiration, it's mostly based on Dark Souls.
  • Vigil: The Longest Night, a gornfest entry set in medieval times. Was temporarily delisted from all marketplaces due to interference from the CCP over references to Taiwanese mythology. After moving publishers it was reinstated; but only to PC.
  • Vision Soft Reset is a Metroidvania where you can time-travel, allowing you to take powerups found in later areas back to the beginning of the game.
  • Voidwrought
  • Vomitoreum is a First-Person Shooter Metroidvania with a H. R. Giger inspired art style. The game is a heavily modified total conversion of Doom running on the GZDoom engine.
  • Wario Land 3 is separated by levels rather than being interconnected, but meets all other criteria, as one unlocks new abilities in a non-linear order and frequently has to backtrack. Uniquely among Metroidvanias, it's impossible to actually die with the exception of the final boss.
  • Weebish Mines, a retraux from 2014 with pixellated graphics. A family of four tries finding their missing pet in an underground maze.
  • Wilt Last Blossom
  • Wizards & Warriors III. Not so much the first two.
  • Wonder Boy The series is known for combining platform games with RPG elements, and some entries have MV style worlds and gating.
  • Wuppo teeters between this and a point and click adventure, with some traditional ability gates as well as unique items used in quirky puzzles.


    Adjacent games 
Games that feature prominent elements and/or similarities to the genre, but lack others required for full qualification
  • Apotheon a mostly open-world side-scrolling action-rpg in the style of Greek pottery art with minimal backtracking and only key and plot gating.
  • "Boomer Shooters" often have levels with mazelike design akin to Zelda dungeons. However some go the extra mile for more interconnectivity.
    • Hedon has absolutely massive interconnected levels with some ability gating and surprising amount of puzzles. Though once completed you're pretty much locked out of them upon completion.
    • Heretic and Hexen being the primary inspiration for the above, have very similar design. Appropriate with themselves being inspired by MSX-era proto-metroidvanias like Knightmare II: The Maze of Galious.
    • Individual units (levels) of Quake II consist of a group of revisitable interconnected areas. Though there isn't a fully interconnected world, nor ability gating.
    • Strife One of the first of these types of games to have hub based levels, permanent upgrade pickups, and minor RPG elements in an interconnected world. Some stages even change upon revisiting after certain story events.
  • Dead or School A stage-based but explorative side-scrolling action-RPG with no ability gating, but survivors act as keys and stat boosts.
  • The Floor is Jelly note 
  • The Forgotten City A Timeloop "Metroidbrainia" based on a Skyrim mod.
  • God of War (2018) is set in an interconnected hub-and-spoke world with many combat ability gated secrets. Though there are no mobility upgrades, nor platforming, and mainline progress is made through linear story beats.
  • God of War Ragnarök is initially even more linear and has hubs closer to an actual open world, but still heavily rewards backtracking with new abilities. However later on it leans closer to this with less hand holding and more active traversal use of such gates (particularly with the spear) to find your own path forward.
  • Gunbrella A largely linear game with no ability gates but rewards for backtracking after certain events and plenty of secrets that reward exploration in a world connected by a hub town.
  • Hyper Light Drifter Only a few optional ability gates for non-essential secrets.
  • Immersive Sims have character growth sometimes compared to the genre, and some even feature worlds that incrementally reveal themselves depending on what abilities your character gains. note 
    • Bioshock Has a mostly linear, level based structure. But via the Bathosphere you can backtrack to previous levels with new plasmids to find extra upgrades.
    • Cruelty Squad lets you revisit any previous levels with lots of significant, game-shaking secrets to find when you have the right augmentations. Many of which are found through exploration.
    • Deathloop has an interconnected world that is mostly open from the start; but several critical areas are gated off by certain powers which unlike most Imm-Sims are found and upgraded mostly through exploration. However most gates are built around the time of day or other keys.
    • The Deus Ex games have levels and hub-areas with many paths and secrets that can be found incrementally depending on which augments and abilities you decide to build onto your character. Several of these can both be found/upgraded through exploration but also through experience points gained by playing naturally. The biggest kicker however is that there are many one-off levels that can never be revisited.
  • Inmost note 
  • Lost Ruins has linear area progression, but explorative level design with no ability gating and standard keys and locks.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade Interconnected world with no real ability gating; as in in new weapons unlock doors; but arbitrarily, and not with using them proper.
  • The Outer Wilds Timeloop Metroidbrainia in space with an open galaxy.
  • The first Red Faction allows, and sometimes requires you to backtrack to previous levels; but that's about it.
  • Many River City Ransom games have level design like this but often lack ability gating.
  • Roguelikes and -"Lites" sometimes give new traversal abilities that change up your path run to run; yet are often excluded due to ever-changing worlds and lack of conventional backtracking due to often super linear level structure.
    • Dead Cells' has some ability gating, though very sparse throughout the massive runtime. However there is never any backtracking to previous zones outside of dying and restarting a run.
    • In Hades the world largely stays the same run-to-run with randomized combat encounters; allowing the player to explore different paths for greater rewards, making the exploration feel closer to this genre than most. Quests also encourage heavy backtracking, and the story hinges on returning to and interacting with hub and it's denizens with new finds. Though the exploration isn't driven by upgrades.
    • Returnal has ability gating but linear progression. On new runs you can unlock new paths to progress the story. It's worth noting the rooms all stay the same, the order is just switched.
    • Rogue Legacy has explorative level structure similar to this but has no ability gating.
    • Trinity Fusion A very close fusion (no pun intended) of this with Metroid-style gameplay and flow of traversal abilities; but the world is completely linear and everchanging.
  • Seiklus note 
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero abandons the interconnected world of the rest of the series for completely linear stages; but you can return to past stages with new abilities to find bonuses, though these are never needed for progress.
  • Soulslike games often have semi-open interconnected worlds but often dont have ability gating or platforming.
    • Bloodborne Interconnected world with no ability gating.
    • Dark Souls Ditto above. The sequels however opted for an almost completely linear structure; although you technically can still backtrack.
    • King's Field
    • Steel Rising has ability gates throughout, but is completely linear and backtracking isn't necessary.
    • Stray Blade attempts this but "abilities" are glorified keys that fail at any other utility.
    • The Surge 2 unlike it's predecessor has an interconected hub-and-spoke world with some ability gating that allows secret finding and backtracking; though skillgating is still the primary form of progress.
    • Tails of Iron
  • Spiritfarer is primarily a management game, but it does employs light Metroidvania elements during it's island exploration sections. Even if abilities are bought rather than found
  • JBA HQ in Splinter Cell: Double Agent is an interesting example. Routinely returning to it with new gadgets that help you access new areas in order to accomplish objectives
  • Survival Horror games often have maze-like locations that require certain items to make progress, often involving backtracking and exploration.
    • Alien: Isolation has an interconnected space station with numerous tools that open different doors, though these are just simply keys.
    • Dead Rising is set in an open world with certain areas locked off unless you have a certain survivor with appropriate skills to pass. Some survivors also require finding certain items before they can join you.
    • Dead Space (Remake) note 
    • Rain World note 
    • A good majority of entries in the Resident Evil franchise qualify, though unlike most examples, these games instead opt for a more traditional lock-and-key/plot-coupon system regarding critical progress. Upgrading is purely for survivability. Exploration and backtracking are still prevalent. Some later installments, such as both Resident Evil 4 games, downplay this in favor of more linear gameplay, however.
    • ZombiU
  • The Vagrant note 
  • VVVVVV A nonlinear world with no upgrades. Akin to proto-metroidvanias like Pitfall II.
  • The Witness note 
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus lets you go back to previous levels after aquiring mechanised augments following BJ's failed execution to collect resources, enigma codes, and collectables.
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood is set in an open-ended city that further expands the more you upgrade the protagonists' combat suits, among other gates.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Castleroid, Castletroid, Explorable Platformer, Platform Adventure



One of the Trope Namers and Ur-Examples. A lone space hunter game to penetrate the Crash's stronghold and destroy the mechanical life-form that controlled its defenses. The space hunter game chosen for this mission was Metroid. Considered the greatest of all early shooter-adventures, Metroid successfully completed numerous missions that others had thought impossible. Despite its accomplishments, much of its hero's identity, Samus Aran, remained a mystery... unless the player beat the game in under three hours, upon which they discovered that Samus Is a Girl.

How well does it match the trope?

4.87 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / Metroidvania

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