Top 10 Indie Metroidvanias – Decade’s Best
As the 2010s come to a close, we here at SipReadRepeat wanted to look back at the past decade of indie games and give you the Top 10 Indie games in each genre from January 2010 to December 2019. As always, these lists are purely subjective, but my hope is for a trip down memory lane. My name is Jason from The Sip, and here are my Top 10 Indie Metroidvanias of the past decade.
Rain World: You play as a slugcat desperately looking for your family in a hostile world.
Salt & Sanctuary: A 2D Souls-like game. Explore a brutal and punishing island with some of the craziest bosses you will ever see.
The Mummy Demastered: A movie tie-in that is actually amazing! *Editor note – The studio couldn’t afford the likeness of Tom Cruise which made the game very loosely linked and much better than the actual film. Funny how life works sometimes*
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: Shantae and the sketchy pirate Risky Boots team up to save Sequin Land.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet: Explore unique environments and battle bizarre creatures in this beautiful game.
Usurper: A classic-looking Metroidvania with Lovecraftian horrors.
Now on to the Top 10 Indie Metroidvanias!
Owlboy was developed by D-Pad Studio and was released on November 1, 2016. It is a story-driven game where you can fly and explore the clouds. It is a lovely-looking pixel art game with so much charm that it can be sickening at times.
There are tons of areas to explore, grand dungeons, and awesome boss fights throughout. The friend recruitment system is also a super-fun mechanic that allows you to mix up gameplay with a simple request. Owlboy is a love letter to the games of old, and it is just a joy to play.
9. Gato Roboto
Gato Roboto is a game made by doinksoft and a release date of May 30, 2019. You play as a cat. Is that not enough? Okay. Well, there is more. Gato Roboto is an incredibly fun, albeit short, Meowtroidvania game. You play as a cat that is able to hop into armor and explore a hostile alien world.
The game has an amazing progression system, and the puzzles are simply top notch. Gato Roboto often requires you to exit your armor to traverse dangerous areas in a one-hit-death vulnerable state. For this reason, playing as the cat is incredibly cute but also panicking. And since it is one of the cheapest games on this list, its value is massive. A must-have for any fan of cats and Metroidvania games.
8. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was developed by ArtPlay, Inti Creates, Monobit, WayForward, and DICO Co., Ltd. and released on June 18, 2019. This game had quite the development cycle, but it turned out way better than expected. Since esteemed game designer Koji Igarashi was at the helm, Bloodstained feels like the most Castlevania game since the last 2D Castlevania adventure.
It is a massive game. The world is huge, the enemies are wide and varied, and the bosses are grand and unique. There are secrets and hidden bosses that will keep you explored for many hours beyond the game. The music is so good that you will want to buy the soundtrack. Bloodstained is a Castlevania game for Castlevania fans. Period.
7. Dead Cells
Dead Cells was developed by Motion Twins and released on May 10, 2017. You control a failed alchemic experiment in this brutal but fair game. One of the biggest selling points of the game is the no checkpoint system. No checkpoints forces you to get better and better, and boy do you improve.
In Dead Cells, you use a plethora of weapons over the course of your playthroughs. Your alchemic abilities and those weapons are what get you through room after room of enemies. At first, it may seem unfair, but Dead Cells is a slow burn. It teaches you with each passing death how to take out more and more enemies until you can finally escape. Are you up for the challenge?
6. Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest was created by Moon Studios GmbH and released on May 11, 2015. This is an absolutely gorgeous game. From the opening sequence to each passing area, Ori and the Blind Forest will amaze you. It is a deeply emotional story that can truly bring you to tears. Few games have struck this emotion in me, and this is one of them.
The forest is dying, and you find yourself needing to build up courage and confront a dark in order to save the forest. The stages and backgrounds are hand-painted, which makes the feel of each area that much richer. It controls like a dream, looks amazing, and has a powerful story. Ori and the Blind Forest has it all.
Iconoclasts was created by one man, Joakim Sandberg, and released on January 23, 2018. In many ways, Iconoclasts is just simply great. It has great graphics, great gameplay, a great soundtrack, and a great story. It is hard to genuinely explain, but something about the game is more than great. Iconoclasts is a magical experience that must be played to understand.
You play as the renegade mechanic Robin, and it is up to you to uncover the secrets of your dying planet. It is a massive world with lots of character. The puzzles are intricate and boss fights are loads of fun. Iconoclasts may have slipped under the radar for many people, but it is truly a fantastic game. One of the best in the Metroidvania genre.
4. SteamWorld Dig 2
SteamWorld Dig 2 was developed by Image and Form Games and released on September 21, 2017. First off, I have to be honest. SteamWorld 1 and 2 deserve to be on this list, but I did not want to them to take up too much space. With that mind, consider this slot for both of them, and SteamWorld Dig 2 being the slightly better game.
In SteamWorld Dig 2, you play as Dorothy, a young robot in search of what is troubling in the grounds below. Unlike other Metroidvania games, you essentially create the map by how you dig your tunnels. The necessity of light becomes an essential thing to learn, and knowing when to surface can be matter of life or death. Both games are incredible experiences that deserve your time, partner.
Guacamelee was developed by DrinkBox Studios and released on April 19, 2013. Since its release, the original Guacamelee has evolved into the Super Turbo Championship Edition. On top of that, Guacamelee 2 has also graced us with its brilliance. Like SteamWorld before, consider this placement for all the Guacamelee releases.
You play as Juan. An average man that eventually is graced with a mystical Luchador mask and becomes super powerful. You traverse through a world strongly inspired by Mexican culture and folklore, and it is crawling with vibrant colors, various enemies, and awesome bosses. Bodyslam, piledrive, and combo your way through these wonderful games!
2. Axiom Verge
Axiom Verge was created by Thomas Happ and released on March 31, 2015. It is a mind-blowing experience right from the get-go. The themes of life, the afterlife, what is real, and what is unreal echo throughout the story. You fight through what you do not understand. Are you on a foreign planet? In the future? In a virtual reality simulation? The suspense is intense, which makes each and every encounter all the more exciting.
The fact that this masterpiece was created by one man is mind-boggling. There are tons of weapons to discover, a large world to explore, and loads of fun abilities to help progress. It is not just one of the best Metroidvanias of the past decade, but it is one of the best ever.
Axiom Verge 2 is scheduled to release in 2020.
1. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight was developed by Team Cherry and blessed us with its release on February 24, 2017. This is the quintessential Metroidvania game. Team Cherry knocked every quality of Hollow Knight out of the park. From the dazzling art style to the haunting environments to the brutal-yet-fair bosses to the fantastic soundtrack, Hollow Knight is easily my top Metroidvania game of the decade.
You play as a bug equipped with your trust nail sword. There is not one moment or area in the game that lacks importance. Hollow Knight communicates a captivating story through its lore and the various connections you make with other bugs throughout the game. There is so much to do, so much to explore, and so much to learn. It is one of the most original and unique Metroidvania games ever, and it is an absolute must-play for every gamer.
A sequel of sorts called Hollow Knight Silk Song is scheduled to release some time in 2020. Look forward to that as well.
Those Were My Top 10!
So what did you think of this list of Metroidvania games? Do you agree? Or do you think I wildly messed up? Either way, let me know in the comments below, and we will have a healthy conversation!
The 2010s were an awesome decade of gaming, but I hope the 2020s have more to offer. Here is to the future! Happy gaming, everyone.
My name is Jason Capp. Originally from the US, I currently live in Tokyo, Japan. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to knock the smile off this bro’s face.