Follow TV Tropes



Go To

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, with Respawning Enemies in most areas. Progress in the game is driven by the discovery of Video Game Tools (actions, abilities, inventory items) 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 subgenre varies somewhat depending on whom you ask. People seem to variably demand some or all of the following traits:

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", "search action", 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.


    open/close all folders 

    Trope Namers 
  • Most of the Metroid games of course, with the mainline 2D/2˝D 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).

  • 8 Doors : Arum's Afterlife Adventure: Visit the 8 Doors of Purgatory, in any order you want, to find your father's missing soul.
  • 9 Years of Shadows, a retraux whose graphics resembles old-school Castlevania.
  • The SNES game of The Addams Family is this, as well as having a quasi-Hub Level in the form of the entrance hall.
  • Aeterna Noctis combines this trope with intense platforming levels.
  • AeternoBlade
  • After Death
  • Ainevoltas 1 and 2, freeware games. Ainevoltas 2 is the remake of the first one.
  • Albero and the Great Blue Emblem
  • Aliens: Infestation. Quite fitting, considering the influence Alien had on the original Metroid.
  • Alien: Isolation. Metroid Prime meets Outlast and Amnesia... IN SPACE!!
  • Afterimage combines modern and old-school metroidvania in a single package.
  • Aggelos, a modern take inspired by non-linear Japanese retro adventures like Wonder Boy In Monster World
  • Alwa's Awakening is a Metroidvania in the classic screen-by-screen style.
  • Amazing Princess Sarah is a 2014 Genre Throwback, which plays out like Castlevania but with the titular princess in place of Alucard.
  • Amea is an online Metroidvania by Godlimations.
  • Antichamber is non-linear, allows sequence breaking, features interconnected areas, requires upgrades to advance, and focuses on exploration.
  • Anubis and the Buried Bone currently has just 1 big giant map with no clear objective on what to do.
  • The indie game Aquaria embraces this trope fully, although there is much less of a platform element since it takes place almost entirely underwater.
  • Arzea has you play as a wizard and explore a large map, where you find many spells that help with progression and combat, orbs that enhance abilities, and keys that open doors.
  • The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is another fully underwater Metroidvania, where you pilot a submarine, and progression is tied to the upgrades you receive through defeating bosses.
  • ASCIIvania—as the title suggests, it's a Metroidvania-style game with ASCII graphics. The Ability Required to Proceed element is mainly provided by finding different letters, which you use to complete words that are blocking your way. There are also the abilities to jump, double jump, and reverse gravity, all of which you will need to find all of the letters of the alphabet and complete the game.
  • Astalon: Tears of the Earth
  • Astronite gives the genre a game with a unique 1-Bit art style.
  • Ato is a 2D Metroidvania set in a version of Feudal Japan populated by animal people.
  • Axiom Verge is a love letter to the genre, Metroid and other classics of the 8-bit era, allowing players to utilize and create glitches to access new areas, bypass obstacles and change enemy behavior.
  • Axiom Verge 2 is the non-linear sequel to Axiom Verge which actually takes place both before and after the first game.
  • Apotheon, with graphics resembling ancient Greek art


  • Dandara is a Metroidvania game where the player cannot run or jump and instead explores the world by zipping from one flat surface to another.
  • Daniel X: The Ultimate Power (DS)
  • 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.
  • The Dark Dwellers
  • Dark Souls shares a lot of similarities with the Metroidvania genre, particularly with its world design. It is also a rare 3D, third-person example.
  • Dead Cells, part roguelike.
  • Dead Or School has large maps featuring various chasms and obstacles that need special abilities to traverse.
  • Death's Gambit, also a Soulslike game.
  • Dead Space (Remake) is an interesting example, particularly as the original game did not have any such elements. This time around, the U.S.S. Ishimura is a fully-navigable space, where decks visited over the course of the story can be revisited at any point, via the Tram system, which is reworked to carry the player to various points throughout the ship. This is bolstered by the newly-introduced "security clearance" mechanic, where certain doors and containers will be permanently locked throughout the game until Isaac gets the requisite clearances later on. This occurs in tandem with new side missions, which incentivize revisiting previous levels to get access to new areas and find hidden story beats, which also unlock weapon upgrades and additional Power Nodes.
  • Demons Of Asteborg, a new original title for the SEGA MegaDrive / Genesis with a Gothic setting similar to the old Castlevania games.
  • Demoniaca: Everlasting Night has the title character needing to use different items to defeat different bosses.
  • Dex has plenty of bonus areas that can only be accessed with jumping upgrades, having poison/electrical resistance or hacking/lockpicking your way past a high-level gate.
  • Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening shares a lot of similarities with 3-D Castlevania games in terms of level design, due to both of them being primarily set inside a gothic castle and tower respectively, featuring lots of backtracking and puzzles, items or power-ups opening up new paths or locked doors, dedicated map interfaces for each area/floor, and having you fight monsters and demons during your adventure.
  • 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 fits most of the subgenre traits, being a 2-D Action RPG with a simple levelling system and a heavy focus on platforming. The area maps consist of multiple interconnected parts. Some of those map parts require certain skills or items to reach, forcing you to backtrack there later. A vast amount of exploration is required to find all of that stuff, not to mention all of the hidden treasure chests. Equipment that gives stat bonuses and gets more powerful as you reach new areas and Sequence Breaking through creative use of early abilities are also present. Considering that the Point of No Return occurs right before the final boss, by the end of the game you have every location available to revisit and clear if you want to get 117% completion on your save file.
  • Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising
  • Elderand
  • 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, though it's doubtful that any of the Castlevania or Metroid games ended with Belmont or Samus beating Dracula or Ridley. The third game would've been done entirely in this style, had it ever 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. Story-wise, there's a Crapsack World, a Hopeless War, a hero that's Late to the Tragedy, enemies that are corrupted by a dark force, and a gloomy atmosphere that permeates the entire game. Gameplay-wise, there's an emphasis on dodging to avoid damage, restricted healing in the form of prayers, respawning enemies upon saving, visual cues that an enemy is about to strike, and a very high difficulty.
  • 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 from being true Metroidvania is how it’s the fact that it’s separated by levels.
  • Escape from Puppy Death Factory is also an online Metroidvania 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.
  • Exorcist Fairy, where you're a Chinese 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.

  • Faxanadu. Some of the other Dragon Slayer games also have Metroidvania style gameplay, particularly its predecessor Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, one of the Ur Examples of the genre (along with Brain Breaker). Legacy of the Wizard in particular is a much more Metroidvania-like entry in the series, like Xanadu and Sorcerian.
  • Fearmonium, a horror-themed modern take.
  • Ferazel's Wand is a Metroidvania 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 has the title character collecting various weapons and powerups throughout his journey that help him traverse new areas and unlock doors he previously couldn't open. Oftentimes he ends up backtracking to the same areas to gain access to new levels in order to progress the plot, as well as to collect other items and upgrades. And since the whole world is interconnected, it's easy to find shortcuts later on.
  • The Floor is Jelly has some elements of this. Each of the game's levels are interconnected to a single hub, and you can freely revisit and backtrack through each level as well. The night level, the second swamp level and the Disc-One Final Dungeon plays this more straight in which these levels are more non-linear and has you searching these levels to find several keys that will open a portal leading to the level's exit.
  • 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.
  • 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 most influenced by Metroid Fusion, with a recurring NPC which pursues the player through the open world.
  • Ghoul School
  • God of War (PS4) of all things! Made up of connected levels that loop in on themselves and have many items and secrets to go back too after progressing through the story and gaining more upgrades.
  • The Goonies II
  • Green Lantern (2011): Rise of the Manhunters (DS/3DS/Wii)
  • Grokion (iOS)
  • Guacamelee!: A Metroidvania where you learn wrestling moves (from goatmen or fighting chickens) to access more areas.
  • The Guise
  • GunGirl 2 has a linear main plot but a Metroidvania-type world with plenty of hidden upgrades.
  • Grime is set in a Metroidvania-type world the Player Character has to explore to piece together the clues about the world and find hidden upgrades.

  • HAAK
  • 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.
  • Heidelberg 1693, an indie game of this genre, set in medieval Spain.
  • Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is essentially Sega's take on this genre.
  • 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, from the same company behind Alwa's Awakening
  • The Adventure Time video game adaptation 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.
  • Hob, where you're a robot exploring an open world
  • The free and moderately NSFW Holdover, which forgoes combat entirely to focus on some fairly tricky platforming in an old, flooded laboratory filled with spikes and other nasty obstacles. It's made trickier by the fact that your character's only protection is a one-piece swimsuit that loses its top or bottom half in a single hit, potentially leaving her naked and completely vulnerable until she can restore it. On top of that, metal braces on her feet make it impossible to swim and half the platforming is done underwater, requiring you to manage your air throughout. Luckily, the game has a quick-save feature that it outright encourages you to abuse, which brings the difficulty back down to manageable levels.
  • Hollow Knight is another "love letter" to the genre, with a very Metroid feel and a plethora of Shout Outs.
  • Horace is this from Chapter 3 onward, as the levels are mostly connected, with a few exceptions such as the prison levels. The Estate, the mainland, and the cities are connected and can be visited as they are unlocked. The Estate in particular is the level most resembling a Metroidvania, as unlike all other levels, it has a map, contains several bosses spread out throughout the map, and gives abilities for beating each boss that are needed to access deeper areas of the Estate (as well as secret areas outside it).
  • Houchou Shoujo Gensoukyoku is Yume Nikki reimagined as an action metroidvania.
  • Iconoclasts by Joachim "konjak" Sandberg.
  • Indie freeware game Iji borders on this—once you clear a level, you can't backtrack, but each level is huge and there are several secret areas that require Metroidvania logic to reach—to get one Supercharge requires getting a jump upgrade, using an enemy's rocket attack to reach an elevator back to a now accessible ledge that leads to a weapon necessary to destroy a wall blocking off the powerup.
  • Imp of the Sun is 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 mini-Metroidvania. 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, 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
  • Islets, one which is close to a Cute 'em Up
  • Itorah
  • I Wanna Be the Guy is sometimes described as one of these, despite the fact that it doesn't have any powerups or heart containers.


  • La-Mulana:
    • 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, stars Lemeza's daughter Lumisa.
  • The Last Faith, described by reviews as Soulslike-meets-Castlevania
  • 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:
    • The series is a parallel or even sub-genre, as the games also focus on collecting Video Game Tools to bypass obstacles in the wide-open Overworld (often to the point of allowing sequence breaking). While the early games mainly feature a top-down perspective, some contain side-scrolling sections, and the transition to 3D saw the series leaning more towards the platformer genre. However, one major difference remains: the dungeons, fully self-contained areas separate from the Overworld that require only a single trip to complete. Zelda dungeons mainly require completing puzzles/tasks and collecting keys to progress, with the exception of one important item to be found and utilized to reach (or even to fight) the dungeon boss. After completing the dungeon, the item discovered there can be used in the Overworld to progress toward the next dungeon.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has all the action take place in 2D side-scrolling sections, including towns and dungeons, although these are all still contained within a top-down overworld. Some of the handheld titles in the series, starting with The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, also have a small amount of 2D side-scrolling sections, and even add a jump button to the top-down controls, making the entire game a platformer.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has the best bridge between the two with the Temple of the Ocean King, a huge dungeon which contains maps and keys to access the other smaller and self-contained dungeons, which in turn hold the items and keys needed to progress further into the temple (and make previous sections simpler and quicker to pass through), while the overworld holds sands for the hourglass which allow you to explore for longer periods of time before having to turn back. Both the sands and the items from each smaller dungeon are needed to safely and successfully navigate the massive dungeon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword narrows the gap between Zelda and most Metroidvanias by adding hallmarks of the latter that had been largely absent in the former, with some of the main additions being less distinction between the overworld and dungeons, as well as Save Points.
  • 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
  • Loopmancer, though the levels plays out like a Beat 'em Up
  • Lords Of Exile
  • Lord Of The Sword for the Sega Master System.
  • Lost Ruins is mainly area-to-area progression with various side paths and links between locations only accessible through defeating bosses and earning keys.
  • Lyle in Cube Sector combines this with the gameplay of Super Mario Bros. 2 and a fair bit of surrealism.
  • 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 game features waypoints that allow you to teleport to any waypoint already visited, but all waypoints must be found by exploration first (except for the isolated area that becomes the Hub Level, which gets added to the teleport list once you complete a certain early mission), and very few areas have their entrance right next to a waypoint. The first Mega Man Zero game features the same, but has a habit of automatically placing you at the beginning of the relevant area at the start of each mission you accept; which, combined with the fact that many areas host two missions, means that if you never wandered outside the Hub Level in between missions, you would never notice that most of the areas are physically connected to each other (specifically, you would only notice that one pair of areas, plus the linearly-connected areas of the final three missions, are connected).
    • Mega Man ZX Advent, on the other hand, is a step back from ZX, with at least as many missions taking place in self-contained areas as otherwise. It wins back points by being more reliant on Ability Required to Proceed than its predecessors (and offering shapes to morph into with overlapping functions, thus offering multiple solutions to certain mazes and traps), introducing a Metroid-inspired minimap and encouraging re-exploration of completed areas to apply your new abilities to find hidden stuff just as much as ZX did before it.
    • In addition, Zero lacks the ability-gaining that is central to the genre (some Cyber-Elves can give you permanent upgrades, but they're never needed to access areas you couldn't reach before).
    • Mega Man Network Transmission for the Nintendo GameCube is a Gaiden Game in the Mega Man Battle Network series (largely an homage to the classic verse, with platforming gameplay in classic 'verse level designs), whose main internet area qualifies for this. The main Internet alone branches to Lan's, Mayl's, and Dex's homepage, an outpost of Higsby's chip shop, the Zero Area and its guardian areas, the legendary WWW area, and the Undernet. There are alternate, disconnected areas, but most of the game occurs in the main Internet.
    • The ROM Hack Rockman 4 Minus Infinity uses this for Wily Stage 3. The previous stage's boss, Snatchman, is an Evil Knockoff of Mega Man that steals the first four weapons he uses. In Wily Stage 3, you must defeat the eight robot masters again, but for half of them you get their weapon back, and the other half doesn't give you anything. The maze-like structure of the level, which uses the tiles and enemies of every previous stage, also fits this trope well.
    • The first Mega Man Legends is a partial case; while the game progresses in a linear fashion overall and you visit distinct areas of the underground ruins in separate parts of the game, the ruins themselves are all interconnected and, once you have the right weapons and equipment, can be navigated as one big system to reach hidden areas and get across the island more quickly. The sequel averts this, with each ruin being its own distinct dungeon separate from the others.
  • Meifumado
  • Meikyuujou Hydra has no RPG elements, but you can collect things to extend your ability to travel around and stay alive.
  • 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 has many elements of the genre, though lacks the respawning enemies in most levels.
  • Mind Seize, with you exploring the maze-like underground worlds of an alien planet
  • Minoria, from the creators of Momodora.
  • Miracle Mia


  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Project Black Sun, an extremely difficult one where you must escape a mine with aggressive wildlife.
  • Each Unit in Quake II consists of a group of revisitable interconnected areas.

  • Rex Rocket is inspired by classics like Metroid, and is set on a Blob Monster and rogue robot-infested spaceship.
  • 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 - Roguelike with action platformer elements thrown in
  • 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 the true first Trope Maker for the genre.
  • Saga Of Sins, set in a sprawling medieval world with up to 31 side-quests.
  • Salt and Sanctuary Essentially the product of Dark Soul's 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 GBA 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.
  • Seiklus, a highly minimalistic freeware Game Maker game that takes certain quirks even further than the previous two: the whole overworld bar the final area is available to explore immediately in any sequence you want, and there is absolutely no combat or even any way to die whatsoever. There aren't even any upgrades to find in order to progress: your impetus for exploring is finding a bunch of artifacts to unlock the door to the final area and climb back up to the cloud land you fell from. There's also a bunch of colored whisps scattered throughout the game world that you can collect in order to unlock paths to pieces of a moon amulet you can bring back to the cloud land for 100% Completion.
  • 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.
  • Shinsekai: Into the Depths is a game set entirely underwater with the added task of keeping track of oxygen and pressure levels.
  • Smelter, combined with platforming elements.
  • Snailiad
  • 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 is a Metroidvania and Soulslike in a fantasy setting.
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (DS)
  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (DS)
  • Spiritfarer is primarily a management game, but it does employs light Metroidvania elements during its island exploration sections.
  • 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.
  • 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 Panda Adventures: A Metroidvania about a Badass Adorable panda who needs to save his world, and the princess, from invading alien robots.
  • Sundered has many classic Metroidvania traits, having the player explore sprawling nonlinear areas while collecting abilities in the field that can be used to overcome previously impassable obstacles. Players upgrade their stats by spending Shards at a central hub area, similar to Dark Souls. The game’s areas are partially procedurally-generated, and their layouts will change every time the player dies: important rooms that contain abilities, bosses, and obstacles have fixed locations.
  • 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 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 Montezymas Revenge.
  • System Shock of all things, although it's not that surprising considering where Metroid Prime was pulling it's 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:
    • Radical Rescue for the Game Boy. You start off as Michaelangelo and must rescue the rest of the gang, whose abilities open new areas to explore. Members of this game's development team went on to work on Symphony of the Night.
    • Danger of the Ooze is another Metroidvania-style game. Based on the third cartoon and released for the 3DS, PS3, and Xbox 360, this one sees all four turtles playable from the start and lets them upgrade their abilities as the game goes on.
  • 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.
  • The Sun at Night
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tutankham, released in 1982, could be considered a proto-Metroidvania, as it had some Metroidvania 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
  • An Untitled Story

  • Vagante, also part platformer.
  • Valdis Story: Abyssal City is an indie title for PC that adheres to the genre very closely. More in common with Castlevania than Metroid, with a focus on melee combat and magic spells. It has a fairly robust skill tree with your typical Castlevania-style stats and equipment to go along with it that allow the player to create a good number of fairly varied playstyles depending on what they choose. The combat system is more in-depth though with freeform melee chain combos and a skill cancel ability that also functions as a dodge. There ends up being a pretty high skill ceiling as you gain powers and figure out the intricacies of the systems. There are also 4 characters, two of whom are unlocked for a second playthrough.
  • A Valley Without Wind has large elements of this, with the added bonus of being procedurally-generated at random.
  • Vernal Edge
  • 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 the aforementioned Dark Souls.
  • Vigil: The Longest Night, a gornfest entry set in medieval times.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • VVVVVV is a simpler Pitfall! II-style variety of Metroidvania, but is otherwise unlike Pitfall II in gameplay.
  • 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.
  • Wicce where you assume the role of a Hot Witch on a quest to find your missing daughter.
  • Wine & Roses is this in Eastern RPG form. The game is very non-linear, and there is nothing impeding you from exploring the entire game aside from the first tutorial fights. Each battle rewards you with specialized powerups that help you fight stronger enemies.
  • Wilt Last Blossom has this; you pick up skills and powerups along the way, granting access to new areas.
  • The Witness: A unique example in that you progress though the island not by acquiring upgrades but by acquiring the knowledge in how the puzzle symbols work together. This has led it to be dubbed by fans as a "MetroidBrainia".
  • Wizards & Warriors III. Not so much the first two.
  • Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Monster World IV (Japan-exclusive until 2012) and Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom.
  • Wuppo features an interconnected world filled with a plethora of items to collect.



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?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / Metroidvania

Media sources: