The 21 Best Metroidvania Games on Nintendo Switch

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Metroidvanias—a portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania—presents players with an expansive and immersive world that is initially closed off for free exploration. Eventually, you’ll come across upgrades or power-ups that double as tools to venture into previously locked areas.

Once you start revealing the map layer by layer, Metroidvanias usually feature levels that sprawl like labyrinths. These maze-like branching paths are often interconnected, allowing you to unlock shortcuts to backtrack seamlessly.

Exploration is the essence of the genre, and many games keep that at heart and become creative with everything else. The soul of Metroidvanias span into other genres, mixing different gameplay, storytelling, and combat systems.

Thus, this list will stay true to the exploration style of the genre. However, there will also be a few Metroidvania-lites that feature some of the signature elements of the genre.

Aside from that, the games here differ from each other in many good ways. From indie masterpieces to bite-sized adventures, these are the 21 best Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch.

Hollow Knight: Godmaster

It is fitting to start this list with one of the best Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch of all time, Hollow Knight. Created by a team of three developers, this indie darling has garnered massive attention for its genre-defining quality.

Hollow Knight is a masterclass in creating a compelling world that’s rewarding to explore. There are hidden upgrades, optional boss fights and areas, and even lengthy quest lines if you investigate every inch of Hallownest.

You have to be observant when playing Hollow Knight; make sure to use the in-game map to note gated areas. There are several power-ups that let you traverse through previously inaccessible areas.

Combat is relatively simple; combining slashes, spells, and dashes to weave in and out of the enemy’s attacks. But, the difficult and punishing combat encounters keep you invested at all times.

Charms play an essential role in customizing your Knight’s playstyle. There are many charms to collect that drastically alter gameplay. Some charms even combine with each other to produce new effects.

Finally, Hollow Knight is an audio-visual treat. The game’s picturesque art direction and melancholic soundtrack come together to genuinely sell the dreary atmosphere.

Hollow Knight is truly one of the best indie games on Nintendo Switch, and everyone should try it themselves—if you’re up to the challenge.

Metroid Dread

The galaxy’s most iconic bounty hunter Samus Aran is back for one of her toughest adventures so far. Metroid Dread is a culmination of almost four decades of creating this iconic franchise, and it’s a treat for newcomers and veterans alike.

In fact, Metroid Dread is the best selling game for the beloved franchise. Don’t miss out on one of the best Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch.

Samus Aran investigates a cryptic signal on planet ZDR on behalf of the Galactic Federation. It is rumored that a threatening species called X thrives there—they were last believed to be extinct after Metroid Fusion.

Samus feels absolutely buttery smooth to control. She instantly responds to commands which lets you traverse, dodge, and shoot with ease. 

Movement and combat flawlessly intertwine in Metroid Dread. You must master Samus’ movement options while simultaneously positioning yourself for better shots and parries.

As usual, you’ll explore the labyrinthian alien levels while finding movement and combat upgrades. Metroid Dread is effectively subtle in guiding you towards the next destination, so you’ll never feel lost. The game has excellent pacing, which is one of the ways it keeps the flow going.

Boss fights are phenomenal and are surprisingly challenging. They feel like spectacular checkpoints that examine your knowledge of the game’s system.

Blasphemous

Blasphemous is a Metroidvania dripping with dark and religious themes. This game isn’t recommended for the squeamish, as it doesn’t hold back visceral imagery of blood and the occult.

Take control of the Penitent One, a silent protagonist whose helmet is made from barbed wire. Guide the Penitent One on a pilgrimage through the deeply religious land of Cvstodia and experience its cryptic story for yourself.

Patience is truly a virtue in mastering Blasphemous’ combat system. Learn, avoid, and parry the enemy’s attack patterns; then, strike back with your sword and the occasional spell.

Blasphemous is one of the hardest Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch, both in combat and exploration. However, unlike other titles in the genre, there’s more freedom to travel the world. Thus, you might stumble on an area you’re not fully prepared to tackle yet.

It’s also replayable, as you can’t attain all content and endings in one playthrough. The developers also intended Blasphemous to be experienced with the Spanish dub, so try that out for a while if you pick up the game.

Guacamelee!

Guacamelee! is fast-paced Metroidvania that uses a beat-em-up combat system. It is one of the best Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch if you want to focus on tight combat and precise platforming.

The game incorporates the themes of Mexican folklore in all its aspects. You play as a luchador named Juan, who’s on a mission to save the president’s daughter.

There’s also an option to play with another player who takes control of a luchadora named Tostada. The second player can easily drop in and out of the session whenever available.

As a Metroidvania, you’ll find upgrades to progress the game and can even purchase new attacks. However, backtracking and secret hunting are kept to a minimum here.

Instead, Guacamelee! is a playground to create consecutive combos like some of the best hack and slash games on Switch. Combat, movement, and platforming are genuinely fun and the highlight of the game.

Castlevania Advanced Collections

Representing the second namesake of the Metroidvania genre, Castlevania Advanced Collections brings classic Castlevania games to the Nintendo Switch.

The three games are Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, and the beloved Aria of Sorrow. It also includes Dracula X, released for the Super NES.

These games hold up to modern standards and offer non-linear exploration mixed with non-stop action. There also feature light RPG elements such as collecting and equipping different gear, and leveling up character stats.

Aria of Sorrow alone is worth the asking price, but paired with three other classics is a steal at this point. Do make sure to pick up one of the most important Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch.

Axiom Verge

Painstakingly created over five years by a single developer, Axiom Verge is a love letter to the Metroid franchise. However, the game introduces many creative ideas and executes them well enough to deserve its own praise.

Where Axiom Verge truly shines is with its many imaginative weapons and tools. There’s a hefty amount of unlockable guns, which all have their uses.

On the other hand, tools provide much-needed combat utility and traversal options. For example, the Address Disruptor, also known as the Glitch Gun, transforms certain environmental blocks and even enemies. It’s used for both platforming and fighting.

Additionally, Axiom Verge doesn’t hold your hand when it comes to exploration—which appeals to or turns away different people. In any case, it is one of the best Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch because of its refreshing takes on the genre.

Iconoclasts

If the last game took five years to make, Iconoclasts almost doubles that number, taking eight years to develop. But it’s more than worth it because the game gives us a detailed pixelated world, with fantastic chiptune music and dynamic gameplay.

Iconoclasts is a narrative-heavy Metroidvania, often dumping blocks of text in each conversation. However, it isn’t an issue since the characters are witty and insightful. You can even take control of some NPC companions in certain segments of the story.

Combat and puzzles are seamlessly integrated into the game. Your primary tool, a mechanic’s wrench, is often used for almost everything.

When it comes to puzzles, Iconoclasts is one of the best Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch in that aspect. Additionally, there are plenty of boss encounters in this adventure.

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is one of the best Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch for players who like to take time with a game. It’s a beautiful game with a rich atmosphere, music, and many secrets hidden in its world.

You play as Lily, the last surviving priestess in a land where a cursed rain transforms living beings into undead. You have to find the source of the rain and hopefully put an end to it.

Lily doesn’t do the actual fighting herself. Instead, she summons the spirits of other knights and fighters. Along the way, you’ll discover more knights who are willing to join your cause, especially after defeating them in combat.

Exploration is crucial for enhancing Lily’s combat abilities. As mentioned early, there are many valuable secrets you can find hidden in some rooms.

Ender Lilies is ripe with customization options, such as upgrading your spirit’s skills. There are also relics that offer different stat bonuses.

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition

Ori and the Blind Forest is the best Metroidvania game on Switch when it comes to engaging platforming. Few games match the satisfying and cohesive progression Ori effortlessly pulls off.

Ori is a guardian spirit on a mission to restore the dying forest. The coming of age story is heavily inspired by Studio Ghibli films, particularly Princess Mononoke.

Precision, timing, and quick reflexes are essential to overcoming Ori’s complex platforming challenges. The game also ramps up its difficulty as you explore and expand Ori’s moveset, forcing you to use everything in your arsenal.

Ori features a unique saving system where you can create your own checkpoints. However, you’ll need to consume a valuable resource to do so. Thus, when and where you choose to save is an important decision.

Finally, Ori really puts your skills to the test in its exhilarating but brutal gauntlets. These lengthy and tricky segments will boot you back to the beginning after one mistake.

If you can’t get enough of this intense platformer, make sure to check out the sequel: Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It’s more Ori and that’s a good thing, this time with a revamped combat system.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

For long time Castlevania fans, Symphony of the Night is an unforgettable masterpiece. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night attempts to scratch that itch with modern sensibilities.

Ritual of the Night incorporates every element a diehard Castlevania fan wants from a game. Explore a grand castle with an overwhelming maze-like structure, filled with demons and monsters.

The game dials up its RPG elements and provides the protagonist with a ton of customization options. Despite that, it never gets old finding a new power-up and testing it to see if it fits your playstyle. Additionally, this includes cosmetic items so that you can hunt enemies in style.

On top of solid gameplay, Ritual of the Night is aesthetically pleasing. It mixes detailed 3D character models while staying true to the tense 2D side-scrolling action.

Additionally, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a spin-off of the title that pays closer homage to the NES-era Castlevania games. It is a demake of Ritual of the Night and is a much shorter game, but still a fulfilling and worthwhile experience.

Death’s Gambit: Afterlife

The initial release of Death’s Gambit was met with mixed reviews. While it had great potential blending Soulslike combat with the cerebral exploration of Metroidvanias, some of its ideas needed work. 

Fortunately, the colossal Afterlife update completely reimagines and revamps the base game to stellar proportions. With gorgeous pixel art, complex RPG elements, and engaging boss fights, Death’s Gambit is one of the best Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch.

Play as Sorun, a recently deceased soldier who was on an expedition to find the source of immortality. Then, Death offers him immortality in exchange for his service. Sorun has to fulfill his old duties and his new missions.

There are seven classes that have their own starting gear and unique abilities. It’s crucial to pick a class that complements your playstyle, as executing specific actions refills your Soul Energy, a resource used to perform weapon abilities.

For example, blocking attacks as the Soldier class grants you Soul Energy. You can freely test these classes before starting the game to see if they’re the right fit.

Combat is methodical and punishing. You have to avoid the enemy’s high damaging attacks while simultaneously managing your own stamina bar used to attack and dodge.

As you explore and backtrack, you’ll come across many weapons and items to use. There’s also an extended class tree to customize your playstyle further.

Finally, all the bosses pose a decent challenge and ramp up later in the game. The post-game content has some of the most brutal boss battles I’ve ever played.

A Robot Named Fight!

A Robot Named Fight is one of the most punishing Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch. It combines the procedurally generated levels of a Roguelike with a permadeath system, increasing the stakes of every run.

The game plays very similarly to Super Metroid. Fight shoots, moves, and even jumps like the famous bounty hunter. A Robot Named Fight is more Metroid with minor innovations, so expect that going in.

Your goal is to destroy the Megabeast eventually, a planet-sized lump of flesh and organs. The Megabeast took over Earth, and spilled its disgusting children unto the planet.

A Robot Named Fight is meant to be played in a single sitting, around an hour or so. Upgrades and power-ups are procedurally placed and hidden and must be gathered again every run.

There are a few cryogenic chambers scattered around the map that revives you once per use. Otherwise, dying sends you back to the beginning of the game, resetting everything and changing the map’s layout.

While bosses are decently tricky, the real challenge is executing the fight flawlessly. A Robot Named Fight demands focus and mastery to defeat the Megabeast. Additionally, its procedural nature and short playtime make it a perfect casual game.

Carrion

While the previous game saw you fighting lumps of flesh, Carrion lets you take control of a massive fleshy abomination. Described as a reverse-horror Metroidvania, guide your sentient biomass to escape the subterranean lab and amass enough power to even make David Cronenberg flinch.

The Monster moves eerily fast. It glides through rooms with unmatched speed and clings to surfaces. As you’re surprisingly fragile, you need to quickly bounce away from the gunfire.

The right analog stick is dedicated to your multi-faceted tentacle. Carrion lets you freely toss objects and people around using your appendage.

As you explore and backtrack through the lab, you’ll come across parts of your DNA. These increase your biomass and install new powers for traversal and combat.

You won’t be on an unstoppable rampage most of the time though. There are many competent enemies who can stop you if you attempt a head-on approach. You have to use the environment and approach combat like a puzzle.

Gato Roboto

Gato Roboto lets you play as a cat named Kiki piloting a mech suit. It’s a relatively short, but charming Meowtroidvania that presents its adventure in a monochromatic and minimal pixel art style.

After Kiki’s owner crash-landed on an alien planet, you have to explore the surface to find materials to repair the ship. Kiki can freely jump in and out of the mech to squeeze through small surfaces or solve puzzles.

The game doesn’t necessarily need to be in black and white. There are unlockable cartridges that can change the palette of the game.

The game’s difficulty tends to spike hard during boss battles, especially when compared to the casual exploration segments. Don’t be fooled by its wholesome story and cute protagonist, these bosses will test your mastery of the game’s mechanics and abilities.

Gato Roboto’s pacing is nearly purrfect. Its five-hour adventure is packed with pure action and interesting platforming segments, making it one of the best Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch.

Mummy Demastered

Good movie tie-in games are a rare breed. Fortunately, Mummy Demastered, based on the 2017 film The Mummy gives us another quality Metroidvania game on Nintendo Switch.

As an unnamed soldier employed by Prodigium, your task is to find Princess Ahmanet and eliminate her. It’s a simple, bare-bones story that you don’t need to watch the movie to understand.

You’ll start out with a rifle with unlimited ammo that you’ll use to defeat various monsters and gods from the Egyptian pantheon. Then, explore the depths of the catacombs to find more potent weapons, like a flamethrower.

Be careful because your soldier becomes possessed and becomes a zombie if you die. You’ll continue the game as a new soldier with almost nothing armaments, and you have to reclaim your lost gear from your old character.

As it’s a shorter experience, there are only a few bosses. But these bosses aren’t a pushover, and it is usually a test of endurance and patience.

Shantae and the Seven Sirens

Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a refreshingly vibrant and colorful game, especially compared to the gloomy entries on this list. It’s one of the best casual Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch because of its beginner-friendly approach.

Seven Sirens is the fifth adventure of the half-genie heroine. This time, Shantae and her crew were invited to Arena Town, to a festival celebrating half-genies. Unfortunately, the other half-genies were kidnapped during their dance, and it’s up to Shantae to save them.

Shantae retains her signature hair whip that she’ll use to defeat the island inhabitants. While the combat is simple, platforming and enemy placements prevent the game from being a complete cakewalk.

Seven Sirens returns the franchise to its Metroidvania roots. There’s an interconnected world for you to explore, with areas locked away without the proper abilities.

However, the game’s highlights are the self-contained dungeons. Similar to The Legend of Zelda, these zones have a new ability that is essential to completing it, and it caps off with a fun boss fight.

These abilities are transformations that Shantae can use for combat and platforming. Unlike previous games, transformations are seamlessly incorporated into gameplay.

Shantae can also perform special dances with different effects, like shocking all enemies on screen. There are also cards dropped from monsters that grant special effects.

Finally, Seven Sirens added alternate modes that revamp gameplay. For example, there’s Definitive Mode which makes the game more challenging, and Full Deck Mode which immediately unlocks all cards.

Timespinner

Timespinner is a narrative-focused Metroidvania that takes inspiration from classic Castlevania games. This is one of the best Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch for those who miss the action-platformer formula of older titles.

Lunais is the newest Time Messenger, chosen members of the tribe who act as keepers for the titular Timespinner. Time Messengers use the device to travel back in time to warn their tribe of any imminent danger.

However, the evil Lachiem empire attacked her village and destroyed the Timespinner, sending Lunais into a strange world. Guide her through the past on her quest for revenge, while simultaneously learning about the true events in history.

For combat, Lunais wields magical orbs in each hand. These orbs act like weapons and spells, that you can collect and customize.

Lunais can also equip different necklaces to grant her new spells. These special attacks consume aura as they are powerful and devastating attacks.

Timespinner has other RPG elements thrown in to spice up gameplay. For example, there’s armor, trinkets, and relics that all provided unique bonuses and effects to your character.

Lunais can also bring a companion along in the form of a Familiar. These loyal creatures stay by your side and assist during combat.

Timespinner’s signature mechanic is the ability to pause time using a resource called Sand. This mechanic is central to getting through combat encounters. It’s even used during exploration and platforming, as pausing time lets you use frozen enemies as platforms.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is the fourth installment of the Momodora franchise. It doesn’t use an overwhelming amount of gameplay features and elements but instead offers a straightforward Metroidvania experience.

Set four centuries before the first game, you’ll control a priestess named Kaho who travels east in search of a way to stop a curse that’s been spreading across the land. She’ll learn that the queen is the curse’s source and that only by defeating her will it stop.

Kaho is armed with a maple leaf for melee attacks and a bow for ranged combat. Kaho has a simple but effective move set, and can even roll out of danger.

You can find and buy new upgrades, active items, and passive items throughout your adventure. The map is chock full of hidden secrets so be sure to pay attention to the environment.

Significant abilities are gated behind difficult major bosses. Enemies hit astonishingly hard—pair that with your limited consumable healing items, it’s in your best interest to play patiently.

The main objectives aren’t gated away from regular exploration. But, be sure to note inaccessible areas and return to them for some worthwhile goodies.

Aside from hidden items, Momodora also has a lot of secrets in its story and NPCs. For example, you can unlock an optional boss fight by giving a character a specific item.

Short, sweet, but insanely replayable, Momodora is one of the best Metroidvanias on Nintendo Switch.

Yoku’s Island Express

Yoku’s Island Express blends the exploration style of Metroidvania with the addicting simplicity of pinball. While it does sound like an oddball, you shouldn’t miss out on one of the best Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch.

Yoku’s Island Express is the ultimate way to relax and have a good time playing games. Play as a dung beetle named Yoku, a postmaster on the island of Mokumana.

Even though the game is a platformer, you can’t jump. Instead, you have to control pinball paddles to fling Yoku and his ball through the island.

First and foremost, it’s a pinball game. The large open world is broken apart into smaller pinball segments, each with its own ramps, bumpers, and paths for Yoku to go through. Navigating is also done primarily through pinball, if the thought of too much pinball puts you off, this game isn’t for you.

As a Metroidvania, Yoku’s Island Express is free to traverse and contains many secrets. You’re completely free to explore the island, meet and fulfill its inhabitant’s quests, and search for upgrades.

Blaster Master Zero

Here’s an interesting game for this list. The original Blaster Master on the NES was one of the earliest reiterations of a Metroidvania, aside from Super Metroid of course. Blaster Master Zero is both a sequel and a reboot of the original.

Set in the future, Jason Frudnick is a young and brilliant robotics engineer. After following his pet frog named Fred who jumps into a wormhole, Jason finds himself in the past. Fortunately, he finds an armored tank called the SOPHIA III, and uses it to attack mutants while searching for his beloved pet.

Blaster Master Zero has two main modes: one where you control the tank in an action-platformer side-scrolling adventure, and a top-down perspective where you control Jason. You can also hop out of the tank at any time to use Jason during the 2D segments.

As one of the best Metroidvania games on Nintendo Switch, there’s a focus on free exploration. There are many upgrades for the SOPHIA III, and collecting power-ups even affects what ending you can get.

There are dungeons scattered around the map that you can enter as Jason, these begin the top-down portion of the game. Jason has his own set of power-ups, upgrades, and weapons that you can find to enhance his character.

If you crave more of this retro franchise, check out Blaster Master Zero 2, where it improves on many of the game’s elements. And finally, Blaster Master Zero 3, a fitting end for the trilogy.

La Mulana 2

Out of all the entries in this list, La Mulana 2 is certainly the hardest to recommend. While the protagonist’s attire and whip make it seems like Indiana Jones or Spelunky, its core gameplay loop is the complete opposite of a fun adventure.

Instead, La Mulana 2 is one of the most cerebral Metroidvania puzzle games on Nintendo Switch. As the puzzles are truly unique, you also have to match the game’s wit.

It’s best to go in as blind as possible. Although it’s oftentimes cryptic, the game gives you enough hints to solve the puzzle.

It’s good practice to frequently take screenshots and notes as the puzzles become even harder. It’s especially useful when the further you are into the game, as previously mechanics, items, and puzzles compound to form more complex challenges.

As a Metroidvania, La Mulana 2 lets you gather items and knowledge that can be used to solve puzzles in previously locked areas. There’s a lot of backtracking in the game’s interconnected ruins.

However, it’s understandable if sometimes you have to search for hints or solutions online. A truly blind playthrough can around 60-80 hours, and that’s actually a decent time to complete the game.

To break the intense riddle solving, La Mulana 2 adds some enemies, mini-bosses, and boss battles. These monsters keep the game tense as also have to navigate the levels with these threats hot on your trail.

If you’re up to the arduous task of the game, La Mulana 2 offers unique gameplay no other titles can offer. The sequel is more accessible than the first game and ramps up difficulty smoother.

But if you find yourself wanting more, the first La Mulana is also available on the Nintendo Switch.

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