The Metroidvania genre is one of our favorites. With the emphasis on platforming, combat, and exploration, they feel like old-school gaming at its very best. One can also appreciate the amount of thought that goes into the design of even the most middling entries into the genre.
I find myself thinking about them a lot, and I’ve always wanted to a list similar to this. The problem with doing something like “Best Metroidvanias” is that a list like that would be largely filled with Metroids and Castlevanias; it’s why we call the genre that, after all. They’re some of the finest games of all-time, but I want to go outside the box.
So that’s what this list is about: some of the best Metroidvania games you can play, sans any actual Metroid or ‘Vania. Of course, these are just our favorites, so feel free to share your own below.
We start with the inspiration for today’s Daily Five, which just recently released as a cross-buy title on PS3, PS4, and Vita. Yes, we’re talking Rogue Legacy, which had previously released to critical acclaim on PC in 2013.
What makes Rogue Legacy such a treat is its random nature. The room and enemy placement is different each time you enter the castle, which tickles my exploration fancy with each attempt. Each death also brings three new random heirs with which to try again, with a number of different traits and abilities.
It’s a pretty difficult game as you start off, but you pass down the gold you collect on each adventure to your heirs for them to spend on equipment and abilities. Even if you’re not terribly good, you can still get incrementally better. It feels like a neat twist on the leveling system popularized by Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which is never a bad thing.