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Top 5 Nintendo Switch Metroidvania Games

Nintendo’s hybrid console has recently entered its second year in consumer hands, and there is an absolute ocean of games worth checking out. This list contains my personal top five games in the “Metroidvania” style of game design. For a game to be considered for this list, I need to have both played it and enjoyed the experience.

Before we get started, I want to establish what I consider a “Metroidvania” game.

Metroidvania games are 2D video games that focus on exploration-based puzzles and action combat. The term “Metroidvania” originates as a fusion between the Metroid and Castlevania series names. “Metroidvania” games contain elements reminiscent of these previously mentioned franchises, though they may be differentiated far beyond the classic games serving as partial inspiration.

Truthfully, “Metroidvania” is a loose descriptor for a video game’s overall design, so gatekeeping around the matter is a fool’s venture. The bottom line here is that the games that follow are each worth your time and money, and each game is placed in the order I believe I’ve enjoyed them the most. Please refrain from lighting me on fire should your personal list differ from mine; I find immolation to be very annoying.

Anyhow, here we go!

#5—A Robot Named Fight

How do I describe this game? If John Carpenter made a film based on Robocop, Metroid, and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, then made a video game adaptation, this would be it. This is a bloody romp of a game that is both “Metroidvania” and rouge-like. This game won’t go easy on you, featuring procedurally generated levels and permadeath. Your skills will be tested with A Robot Named Fight, but patience and practice will see you to becoming a meat grinder with legs. Death to all but METAL.

#4—Dandara

Dandara is a surreal experience, featuring a balanced focus on high-mobility platforming and combat. This balance earns Dandara the fourth place on this list over A Robot Named Fight, as a little breathing room goes a long way to relieve an overabundance of tension. This game features tight controls, dog people, and the second most important purple face after Thanos.

The narrative in Dandara is one of rebellion against oppressive power, and it is handled in a way that never feels heavy handed. $14.99 will get you a great experience from the Nintendo Switch eshop.

#3—Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge is the game most like Metroid to be featured on this list. Fans of Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion (let’s debate which is better) will feel much at home playing Axiom Verge.

While the titles are similar, Axiom Verge never feels as claustrophobic as Metroid, nor does it carry with it as much of a sense of isolation. Axiom Verge focuses strongly on exploration and blowing up various baddies with a large assortment of weaponry.

Some folks I’ve spoken with consider the later bits of this game to drag a bit with a reliance on backtracking, and I believe that is a fair assessment. Fortunately, this game as an overall experience is incredibly strong, and it is no wonder that it has seen release on every platform.

I recommend picking up a physical copy of this game, should you be looking to scratch that Metroid shaped itch. This one will run you between $20 and $40 with the collectible Multiverse Edition on the high end.

#2—SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2 is a highly polished game about digging through dirt, Dig-Dug style to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of the first game’s protagonist. I also recommend playing the first game, though it is not necessary to enjoy the heck out of this game. Everything about SteamWorld Dig 2 breathes mastery of design.

The core game loop featured is addicting nearly beyond description. Honestly, who would’ve figured that digging a hole, finding some gems, then returning to the surface would prove so fun I could hardly put this game down. SteamWorld Dig 2 is worth every bit of its $20 asking price, and I’d buy it again if they’d release a physical edition. Then I could put it with my unexplainable collection of cute robots and pickaxes.

#1—Hollow Knight

Did you predict my number one choice for best “Metroidvania” game on the Nintendo Switch?

Hollow Knight released with much buzz from gaming outlets, and it earns its praise as one of the most visually unique games to release in recent memory. This game is visually stunning, with excellent hand-drawn creature and environmental art. The soundtrack perfectly complements this dark and beautiful work of art. If Axiom Verge is on the Metroid end of the Metroidvania spectrum, Hollow Knight is more Castlevania. Combat is intense and difficult in the later parts of the game, so come prepared for a challenge. Hollow Knight will humble challengers who throw caution to the wind, but a methodical approach will see you through.

Did I mention all the cute bugs? Fangamer recently revealed physical standard and collector’s editions priced between $29 and $69, and I’ll be preordering one for certain.

What do you think of this top 5 list? Do you agree or disagree with my preferred placement? Have I omitted titles you believe to be a better fit for this list? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Would you like to see an in-depth examination of any of the games mentioned in this list? Let the team at Exclusively Games know down below.

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