As one of the most popular gaming systems of the last decade, the Nintendo Switch has plenty of Metroidvania games. Metroidvania is a term used for games that combine the gameplay elements made famous by Metroid and Castlevania games.
You'll spend hours getting caught up in dozens of interconnected rooms, solving puzzles, backtracking once you obtain a new item or power to get somewhere you couldn't before, but seeing your progress unfold makes it all worth it. Here are the best Metroidvania games for the Nintendo Switch.
Hollow Knight is a 2D side-scrolling platformer that's a labyrinth of connected rooms that require a ton of exploring. You'll need to dodge, dash, and slash your way through if you want to survive here.
You'll find that there's a ton of items to collect, hidden areas to discover, characters to unlock, and tough bosses to overcome. You'll also need to solve some puzzles and do some backtracking to do, so you'll stay entertained for a while with this one. Plus, the art is hauntingly beautiful.
Ori: The Collection
Like its predecessor, Ori and the Will of the Wisps arrives on the Nintendo Switch and is just as gorgeous as its Xbox cousin. Discover Ori's true destiny as you explore an all-new exotic world.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the best Xbox games available, so it's fantastic to also see it on the Nintendo Switch, where it runs well in portable and docked mode. This is also a game that really shows the benefits of the Nintendo Switch OLED screen.
Ori: The Collection
Ori returns in a stunning adventure that takes place in an all-new region. Aid the young owl Ku and take on new terrifying foes across this game widely considered a masterpiece. Play both the first and second game with this collection.
You're a scientist who wakes up from a lab accident and ends up in a weird and mysterious alien world. Explore all of the connected rooms for weapons, items, and abilities to protect yourself from biomechanoid creatures and your own inner demons.
Oh, and there are some puzzles you'll need to work through, so get that thinking cap on. Naturally, this is a game that was heavily inspired by early titles in the Metroid franchise.
If you like Metroid, you should check out Axiom Verge. It's a strange, dark world of creatures and you'll need every advantage you can get to survive.
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In the world of Salt, the oppressed are facing oblivion. You'll rise as Dandara, who defies all gravity and jumps across floors, ceilings, and walls to get around. You'll need to be fast, have good reflexes to avoid dangerous traps, and be quick on the draw when shooting down enemies.
Classic pixel art direction meets gravity-defying sensibilities in this interesting spin on just what a Metroidvania can be with unique movement controls.
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SteamWorld Dig 2
Mysterious earthquakes are shaking up a steampunk town, so it's up to you to find out what's causing it! Dig deep into the earth and find treasure, secrets, and even dangerous traps. You'll have to constantly upgrade your gear to dig deeper and reach new areas that are full of danger, but what could be behind it all?
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
Take on the role of Zangetsu, a demon-slayer with a grudge. Explore a dark castle, release other heroes from their captivity, and they'll join your party as you venture forth into the heart of the castle. Each character has their own unique ability that you'll need to progress. This is a great little game to play if you're in the mood for something smaller than most Metroidvania titles.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
As a bite-sized spinoff of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a great game for anyone that enjoys classic Castlevania titles. But be careful, as the ending changes based on your actions.
You're a failed alchemic experiment who has the desire to discover what's going on in the world. You only get one shot to complete a run, and if you die, you'll start over from the beginning.
Every run you do is randomly generated, so it's never the same thing twice. You'll need to explore all of the rooms, find items and abilities to progress, and overcome tough foes who put your skills to the test. This is a truly challenging roguelike Metroidvania, and it's widely considered one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can grab if you're a fan of the genre.
This game is a throwback to the 8-bit and 16-bit days of gaming glory. You'll play as a ninja who must deliver a scroll that's crucial to his clan's survival. When you reach the time-traveling part of the game, the Metroidvania elements of the title are revealed. There's a lot of backtracking, character upgrades and abilities to acquire, and incredibly satisfying hack-n-slash combat.
Blaster Master Zero
Blaster Master Zero is a hybrid of a Metroidvania and Zelda-like if that's what you're into. You'll be exploring your surroundings to find dungeons that contain challenging boss fights while gathering up all of the loot that includes new items, sub-weapons, upgrades to tanks and equipment, and even new abilities to reach new areas (time to backtrack). There's even 2-player co-op support.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection
The name Metroidvania is a mash-up of Metroid and Castlevania. While we continue to wait for Metroid Prime 4, why not familiarize yourself with the other half of the equation. Castlevania Anniversary Collection includes 8 classic Castlevania adventures for you to experience, as well as tons of concept art and interviews with developers.
As the first completely-new (non-remake) 2D Metroid game to be developed in 19 years, there was a lot riding on Metroid Dread. Fortunately, the game was a success and in our review, we found that it was "easily one of the highlights for the Nintendo Switch library."
Metroid Dread represented not just a return to form for the franchise, but also signaled a willingness to finally begin moving the story forward again.
Whether you're a longtime fan or someone curious about why this is a big deal, you should definitely play Metroid Dread. Post-launch support has added an easy mode and a hard more, so you can tweak the experience to your liking.
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Considered the quintessential indie game, Cave Story+ is the perfect way to experience this modern classic. Run, jump, and shoot through this mysterious land as you try to discover your lost past.
Yoku's Island Express
When you think of Metroidvania, the first thing you think of probably isn't pinball. But that's about to change in Yoku's Island Express, a Metroidvania that combines open-world exploration with traditional pinball mechanics. Save the island of Mokumana and its inhabitants from an endless sleep.
Owlboy is the result of a ten-year labor of love from its developers. Owlboy is a story-based adventure that blends action with flight in one of the best looking indie games on the Switch.
Carrion is a unique Metroidvania because you're not a bounty hunter or skilled warrior; you are a runaway science experiment whose goal is to escape the lab in which it is trapped. Kill anything that gets in your way as your power grows.
Have you ever watched a horror movie and felt yourself rooting for the monster? If so, Carrion is the perfect game for you. Consume puny humans and grow across the subterranean station as you try to find a way to escape.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens
There are many Shantae games available on the Nintendo Switch, but our favorite is her recent outing. Shantae and the Seven Sirens features new magic, new dances, and all-new TV-style animated cutscenes. Shantae has never looked better.
The Mummy Demastered
Now here's a game that has no business being as good as it is. The Mummy Demastered is a movie tie-in for The Mummy (the Tom Cruise one), but this game is pretty good, unlike that movie. Inspired by 16-bit shooters like Contra, The Mummy Demastered is a nonlinear, action-packed adventure that's worth getting caught up in.
The perfect balance of action and adventure
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These are the best Metroidvania games for the Nintendo Switch. All of these titles are available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for download, so make sure you have one of the best microSD cards with enough space to keep all of your data in one place. All of these games are great, but if you had to choose one, go for Hollow Knight. This Metroidvania features excellent visuals and great gameplay, with so much content you'll wonder how it's only $15.
Another great Metroidvania actually comes courtesy of Microsoft. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a gorgeous Metroidvania with a somber story and visuals that rival big budge CG movies. The game maintains steady performance, and its fantastic art direction makes the jump to Nintendo's hybrid console with ease. It's available digitally, but you can even score a physical edition of the game if you prefer a cartridge.