What are the best Metroidvania games on PC? With mechanics that have spread to all genres, few things beat a good, traditional, and sprawling Metroidvania. Mostly 2D with some straightforward combat, tricky platforming, light RPG mechanics, and abilities to find that help you explore castles, alien-infested planets, dungeons, caves, whimsical forests, and so on, it’s quite difficult to put down a Metroidvania until you’ve beaten every boss and revealed every nook on the map. Exploration is key here, so if you’re looking for 2D action platformers without much in the way of it, you won’t find them here.
Nintendo’s Super Metroid and Konami’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night popularized the Metroidvania genre, but they aren’t available on PC. For Nintendo, it’s understandable – they’re notorious for keeping their franchises on their systems – but for some reason, Konami hasn’t brought the best Metroidvania game to PC yet. While we wait for them to get around to giving us a hopefully remastered taste of Alucard’s journey through Dracula’s Castle, there are quite a few other Metroidvania games to play on PC – some recent, many of them cheap, and a few of them some of the best PC games ever made.
The best Metroidvania games on PC in 2024 are:
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Not only one of the best new games but one that our Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review would state is one of the best Metroidvania games, too. Prince of Persia is known for its time-twisting powers, and The Lost Crown is no different; become more powerful as you journey, and attempt to overcome some seriously difficult platforming sections with an increasing range of abilities – it’s standard Metroidvania stuff, but done very well. It’s gorgeous, beautiful, and has a lovely little story that helps you barrel along, just don’t forget to pick up all of the Prince of Persia Xerxes Coins while you’re out in the world.
Castlevania Advance Collection
While you can’t get Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on PC, you can get three amazing Metroidvania games originally released for the Game Boy Advance: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. Koji Igarashi, who is considered one of the fathers of the genre, took the reins of the Castlevania series throughout the 2000s, and had a hand in all three games, making them definitive Metroidvania experiences that you really shouldn’t miss – especially considering the package is inexpensive and provides a couple of dozen hours of Dracula-hunting fun.
Each game has its unique take on magic and abilities. Circle of the Moon has a staggering amount of magical spells and combinations with its Dual Set-up System. Harmony of Dissonance lets you combine Sub-Weapons – think throwable axes and the like – with spells. Finally, Aria of Sorrow allows protagonist Simon Cruz to capture monsters’ souls, thus gaining their abilities.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
When Ken Igarashi left Konami, he eventually formed ArtPlay, and with it, crowdfunded a spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In the appropriately titled Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, you assume the role of a young Shardbinder named Miriam instead of someone related to either Dracula or the Belmonts. Like other Castlevania games, Miriam explores several dark fantasy locales while gaining powers (Shards, in this case) from monsters, finding new equipment, and gaining new abilities to explore deeper and deeper into the Hellhold. It draws a few late-game surprises from its direct inspiration, making it the next best thing to a Symphony of the Night remake and a great modern Metroidvania.
Ritual of the Night also has two retro-inspired prequels called Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and Curse of the Moon 2, though they’re not Metroidvanias. Instead, they’re linear action platformers like the original Castlevania, yet they’re still great fun regardless.
“Where’s Silksong?” has become a meme in most gaming spaces, as it’s a long-anticipated sequel to quite simply one of the best indie games ever made: Hollow Knight. A Metroidvania in every sense of the term, also pulls from Soulslike games to create a more intense atmosphere. Taking the role of the Knight, you explore Hollownest and all the horrors it holds, slowly unlocking new abilities – from an extra jump to a crystal that launches the Knight forward at alarming speeds – and discovering the world’s dark history. It’s one of the longer Metroidvanias too, clocking in at upwards of 40 hours or more, depending on how well you handle the difficult bosses spread throughout.
To say the Hollow Knight Silksong release date is the most anticipated Metroidvania in history is likely an understatement, and if you haven’t played the original yet, you can’t go wrong delving deep into Hollownest.
Yoku’s Island Express
It turns out that creepy crawlies and Metroidvanias are a match made in heaven, because Yoku’s Island Express is next up on our list. This sweet little pinball platformer charts the adventures of the eponymous Yoku, an adorable dung beetle who arrives on the sunny shores of Mokumama Island to take over as the resident postmaster. The island is awash with secrets, stories, and even boss battles, but they all pale in comparison to the unnatural slumber of the island’s deity, and it’s up to Yoku to root out the cause.
The unlikely marriage between Metroidvania and pinball mechanics in Yoku’s Island Express puts a whole new spin on standard 2D platform games. Yoku might be small in stature, but he makes up for it with the pinball strapped to his middle, which propels him through the open-world game via a series of flippers, bumpers, and other pinball machine elements seamlessly interwoven through Mokumana Island’s hand-painted environments. Whether it’s the highest heights or the lowest depths, there’s nowhere this plucky little postmaster can’t reach.
Ori and the Blind Forest & the Will of the Wisps
Right up there with Hollow Knight, Ori, and the Blind Forest and its sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, are two of the best Metroidvania games ever made. Rather than starring a sword-wielding hero adventuring through a demon-filled castle, you take control of Ori, an adorable fox-like creature as the little guardian spirit journeys to rid the stunning forest of decay by restoring the Spirit Tree. It’s a story that, despite a lack of voice acting, will tug on your heartstrings at both the beginning and end – a trend continued in the sequel which whisks Ori away to a new and dangerous region called Niwen.
Both games feature gorgeous soundtracks, amazing hand-drawn art, and one of the best platform-heavy Metroidvania experiences around, with tons of interesting areas to explore and hidden items to find.
Guacamelee 1 & 2
By far the most colorful and hilarious Metroidvania, the first and second Guacamelee pull from Mexican folklore instead of vampires and demons. You control a luchador named Juan Aguacate. However, it still features the same core you’d expect in a Metroidvania: collect abilities – this time color-coded – that work in both combat and during traversal of the vividly rendered magical Mexico. Juan can also turn into a chicken, which, you know, is awesome.
The second game picks up right after the first, with an out-of-shape Juan having to relearn his abilities as he deals with an evil luchador from a darker timeline where he failed in the first game. Playing both isn’t quite a necessity – especially because the sequel improves upon the original in every way (the chicken form even gets an expanded move set) – but if you want to see all this colorful and hilarious world has to offer, play both.
SteamWorld Dig 2
The SteamWorld games are criminally underrated. From RPGs to deck builders, developer Image & Form’s SteamWorld covers a lot of genres, including SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Dig 2 which have strong Metroidvania influences. The Dig series plays with the standard Metroidvania formula by having you dig your way through the map, revealing resources, enemies, and abilities that help you traverse and dig deeper and deeper, creating an addicting gameplay loop.
While the first game is great on its own, the sequel improves upon it, and the story isn’t that important to get a hold of – so starting with the second won’t set you back. More importantly, the world isn’t randomly generated like the original, giving it a more hand-crafted vibe necessary to make a Metroidvania truly shine.
The most directly inspired by Metroid on this list, Axiom Verge takes retro-style pixel graphics, and a strange alien planet, and combines both with a great set of weapons and abilities to make a familiar adventure for fans of Samus Aran. The weapons in particular stand out in their creativity, and over dozens of hours, you’ll amass an impressive and creative array. This, in turn, gives Axiom Verge a great sense of character progression, in terms of both traversal and combat prowess against some truly fun bosses.
Axiom Verge 2, while also a Metroidvania, places a greater emphasis on environmental puzzles by allowing you to shift into an alternate dimension called the Breach; however, fans of the original are split on which is better – regardless, both are great Metroidvanias and worth your time.
Want more Waifus in your Metroidvania games? Because Afterimage has you covered – with a pretty good fantasy labyrinth to explore along with it. Like Ori and the Blind Forest, the world here is gorgeously rendered with hand-drawn art, making Afterimage a treat just to explore with tried-and-true Metroidvania mechanics: air dashes, double jumps, and so on. It’s a beefy game, too, running upward of 40 hours to explore every nook of Engardin.
Other than Afterimage’s visuals, the simple but satisfying combat against a staggeringly large bestiary makes it one of the better Metroidvania games released within the last year if you’re looking for something fresh – just don’t expect a sensical story to go along with all the anime girls.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Nights
Also heavily inspired by Symphony of the Night, Ender Lilies: Quitus of the Nights – notice the similar title? – presents a darker tale with a rather helpless young girl named Lily as the protagonist. But don’t worry, in true Metroidvania fashion, Lily gains the abilities of those she defeats, increasing her repertoire of moves both in and outside of combat. Beginning with the spirit of a simple swordsman, Lily soon becomes a force to be reckoned with as she purifies the land.
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
Yes, that’s the title of a video game you can play. It comes from Record of Lodoss War, a somewhat well-known series of fantasy novels, anime series, and video games created by Ryo Mizuno, who also had a hand in Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth. Deedlit is the name of the Elf protagonist the game stars, and don’t worry – you don’t have to be familiar with Mizuno’s other work to get your money out of the Metroidvania take on his fantasy world, despite much of the story leaning into fan service territory.
Deedlit in the Wonder Labyrinth, like most games on this list, wears its Symphony of the Night inspirations on its sleeve: Deedlit even moves as Alucard does. It features a fluid pixel aesthetic that’s a joy to look at as you solve environmental puzzles, wield daggers and bows, and cast elemental spells.
With a bustling Metroidvania indie scene, there are many more great Metroidvania games on PC, but for our money, these are the best you can play in 2023. From direct spiritual successors to Symphony of the Night, gorgeously drawn indie takes, and sprawling epics that rank among some of the best games of all time, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Want to know more about upcoming Metroidvania games? Check out our coverage of Hollow Knight: Silksong. And if all the great indie games on this list piqued your interest, our best indie games on PC in 2023 list has more than a few great recommendations for you.