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Metroidvania

BACKTRACKING GAMES. No you can't go there yet, you need the double-jump powerup.

Note: Despite conflicts with "definitions" and diction, the generally accepted term for these sorts of games is "Metroidvania".

Multi-platform

Title Formats Description Picture
Another Metroid 2 Remake Windows & Android Fan remake of the classic Metroid II. Author was DCMA'd by Nintendo but luckily only after release. Later received updates and additional content from fans at le Reddit, and also an Android port.

For those who want to experience the AM2R that the original author made:
Official v1.1 (French Download Site) Torrent

Unofficial v1.4.2

Area4-1
Aquaria Windows, OS X, Linux Massive award-winning indie title created by Spelunky programmer Derek Yu and Crayon Physics Deluxe composer Alec Holowka. Aquaria features huge underwater environments with an emphasis on exploration, challenging-but-not-stupid boss battles and an absolutely phenomenally AWESOME soundtrack. Before you ask: yes, there is a nude mod. An absolute must-have for any Metroidvania game fan. Aquaria
Aztaka Windows, OS X Aztaka is an indie throwback to the good old side-scrolling action RPG genre. In this gorgeous hand-painted world, you play Huitzilo, heir of the Sun God, able to equip gears and cast spells. http://www.citeremis.com/index.php/games 03-Skills 547 341 100
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate 3DS, PS Vita, PS3, Xbox 360, WiiU, Windows

Developed by Armature Studios (consisting of former key staff of Retro Studios), this game has Metroid written all over it's DNA, while staying true to the Rocksteady's beloved incarnation of Gotham's Dark Knight. Armature took the elements of the 'big budget' titles in the series and carefully and expertly restructured them into a 2.5D Metroidvania environment. Control Batman as you grapple, swing, and sleuth your way around. Dynamic camera angles break from the 2D plane to create a better gameflow, as well as initiate a more 3D-brawler style of combat akin to the 'main' games. Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops-inspired comic cutscenes craft the story, adding to the already gothic atmosphere. All in all, a great game to pick up.

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Blaster Master Zero 3DS, Switch Remake of the original NES classic done in retro style but including lots of stuff. DLCs are available which allow you to play with cameo characters. Blaster Master Zero
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night PS1, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360 The first "Metroidvania", which combined Castlevania with Metroid's signature non-linear exploration. Also the debut of (Ayami) Kojima's distinct, effete character designs and Michiru's melodramatic score, which gave the series its later overwrought, Gothic flavor. Also, famously terrible voice acting. Full to the brim with secrets and extras, will keep you busy for months if you want it to. Symphony-of-the-night
Cave Story Windows, OS X, Linux, PSP, Wii, DS, 3DS, Switch Widely considered to be one of the best freeware games and the great pioneer of modern indie game development. Good story, great gameplay and cute pixel graphics and chiptune music (composed on the creator's custom program no less!). Doesn't "really" have backtracking, so you might be let down when it comes to re-exploration.

Fansite that has downloads of the game.

Cave Story
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U You are Juan Aguacate, an agave farmer by day and a luchador by night, who must defeat an evil skeleton's army to save the daughter of El Presidente. Do cool grappling moves! Make wicked cool combos! And before you ask, you can ignore the memes in the background. Includes co-op, too. Guacamelee vita pic
Hydra Castle Labyrinth Windows, Nintendo 3DS?, Linux, Pandora Guardian of Paradise creator, Buster, decided to take on a Metroidvania game in the vein of classics like Knightmare II and the original Metroid. It's done in his crew's well-known style, but the gameplay may be unfamiliar to those new to old styled games. Outside of boss fights, the game is fairly non-linear. You can find a shitload of gear before you even take on the first boss. However, it can be difficult because of this, and quite easy to get lost. If you're patient and can get the hang of it, you'll find an enjoyable game here.

Windows + Rough Translation Patch, or Linux sourcecode

Hydra castle
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet Windows, Xbox 360 The game is set on an alien planet and includes exploration elements similar to Metroid and Castlevania. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet screenshot
La-Mulana Windows, Mac, Linux, Wii A game meant to induce memories of the old MSX2 Konami adventure games, La-Mulana is one of the best. With deep challenge, free-roaming, intricate puzzles, and even quirks like using an MSX in game, La-Mulana is just great.

http://agtp.romhack.net/project.php?id=lamulana
A remake that alters some stuff and brings aesthetics to more modern times exists as well.

La-mulana1
Maze of Galious, The Windows, OS X, Linux, MSX, NES A remake of the best La-Mulana inspiration you've never heard of, which is also the cornerstone that the entire genre was built upon. Unlike later games, this one does NOT mess around. You have to find out everything by yourself in a huge game filled with areas and enemies ready to EASILY kill you. Protip: If you play the original on an MSX (or MSX emulator) you can take advantage of 2nd slot rom carts, which add power-ups from the get-go. Had a NES version which is notably different in several areas. Although there's a large hub-world, the bosses all have their own sub-worlds to tackle (somewhat like the later Portrait of Ruin on DS). The-Maze-of-Galious-remake 3
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition Windows, Xbox One Very beautiful game with cute story, and good metroidvania gameplay.
Scurge: Hive Gba, Nds The game follows the protagonist Jenosa Arma, a female bounty hunter tasked with hunting a parasitic lifeform called the "Scurge" an alien entity capable of rapidly adapting to and infecting biological, mechanical, and digital systems, including the player. Scurge hive gameplay
Shadow Complex Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One Modern interpretation of a Metroidvania where you have to rescue your girlfriend from an evil underground army. 51662 ShadowComplex-Screenshot-01 normal-1-
The Mummy Demastered Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch Great metroidvania by WayForward, loosely based on that awful Tom Cruise movie. You play as a generic spec-ops soldier, and when you die your corpse becomes a zombie so when you load the game you're playing as another soldier who then must kill the now zombified soldier to retrieve all the gear you collected. TheMummyDemastered

Microsoft

DOS

Title Description Picture
Vigilance on Talos 5 Did you love Super Metroid? If so then you need to play this gem from the Dos days. A forgotten gem of the days gone by where as you Samus A... I mean Killian Jaraad must save her Daugther from the Xenos from making her into a slave. While the game may be a rip off a from Super Metroid gameplay wise, it adds its own unique mechanics. It's also short and incomplete but worth a look as a curious look into the development of metroidvanias. Vigilance on Talos 5 DOS screenshot

Windows

Title Description Picture
An Untitled Story A platform game including a few Metroidvania elements, like a unified giant level with a map and different abilities to access new paths. MS Paint graphics, but without the usual background/platform confusion associated with it. Game is gigantic, with tons of secret zones. You'll need at least 10 hours to finish the game and 20 hours for a 100%. Also has a cute but not important story. An Untitled Story
Chelsea and the 7 Devils (AKA Bunny Must Die) Being that it's Platine, expect an innocuous, sort of cute-looking game that kills you repeatedly and without mercy.

Translation patch

Bunnymustdie

Hasslevania: The Quest For Shuteye

A Castlevania parody starring an average guy named Rovert who must stop Dracula's scandalous noise so he can sleep. Though hard and sometimes unfair (you gotta really grind for money because save points won't heal you), the game can be a lot fun if you can get some momentum. Also includes intentionally narmful voice acting.

http://www.dxfgames.com/Hasslevania/Hasslevania.htm

HVTitleSmall
Hero/Hero Core These are about a jetpack man out in a mission to destroy Cruiser Tetron and his world domination plans. These games have a charming minimalistic style both in visuals using only black and white and in gameplay as you can only shoot left or right. Though both games have the same style and mechanics, only the sequel (Hero Core) is a full fledged Metroidvania game as the first one lacks some traits like power ups to get to new areas, a map and the backtracking feel as it is more straightforward. Both have multiple difficulties wich must be unlocked, secrets and bonus content. First game. It also has a handy guide for if you get stuck. Second game. There is no guide since it doesnt need it. Herocore7a
Ikachan Daisuke Amaya/Pixel's first masterpiece (the guy behind Cave Story). This game, Ikachan, is the original title that the gameplay engine used in Cave Story was developed for, and it shows. Instead of running around, you're swimming around however as you play the squid Ikachan in this amazingly charming title that mixes in elements of Metroidvania platformers (without actually platforming seeing as how you swim) and RPGs. While there's hardly any story to speak of, Ikachan is a must-play for any Cave Story fans. Ikachan
Kurovadis A hentai game that has a surprisingly good gameplay, mixing Metroid with some beat 'em up elements. The H-scenes you get after dying are pretty average quality, some border on bad. Unfortunately, ultimately short and has few real action abilities for unlocking new areas aside from 3 nearly-identical-in-function beams. Good for an H-game though. Kurovadis PC screenshot
Knytt A game which focuses on exploration. Doesn't have much combat, you can only evade enemies. Have a beautiful world and relaxed gameplay. You may also try Knytt Stories which is a sequel and have level editor.
Legend Cave Reminiscent of old Falcom and Metroidvania games. Each class starts with different equipment, but mostly play the same. There's hint tablets, but the devteam seems to have died before they finished translating it (it's playable without reading though). Find gold for shops, use keys, and generally explore dat dungeon.

http://www.caiman.us/scripts/fw/f2158.html

Legend cave
Poacher You play as a Yorkshire poacher that gets sucked in to a centuries-old war between two ancient underground civilizations. Good gameplay and story, with two endings to be had.

http://fullyramblomatic-yahtzee.blogspot.pt/2012/04/get-poachin.html

Poacher screenshot109
Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue Initially labelled a joke, this was later announced as an actual free game for the 25th anniversary of the SMT series. Takes place during the events of SMT: Strange Journey.

https://www.atlus.co.jp/news/5854
Translation patch

SMT-Synchronicity-Prologue
The Power A simple Metroidvania that manages to be pretty fun. Everything looks like it is made out of neon lights. A bit hard at the beginning, but with a little exploration, you should find the difficulty to even out. Controls are a bit stiff but stick with it and you have a neat little game.

https://gamejolt.com/games/the-power/116

Thepower
The Underside So far there is only a demo made, but it is a DAMN good demo. It's basically Cave Story, but with characters, dialogue, and plot that are reminiscent to Earthbound. Fun platforming, weapon gaining, Metroid-esque game. This game has been under development since 2005 and he is making little progress so don't expect to see the full game any time soon.
http://www.superfundungeonrun.com/?page_id=215
Undersid5a

Nintendo

Game Boy

Title Description Picture
Metroid II: Return of Samus Sequel to the first game. Take the fight to the Metroid and make them pay. Sets the stage for Super Metroid. There's a fan remake called Project AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake) using Game Maker too. Metroid2screen

Game Boy Advance

Title Description Box Art
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Often considered the best GBA Castlevania, Aria of Sorrow takes place in the near future when Japanese exchange student Soma Cruz is suddenly spirited away to Dracula's castle while witnessing an eclipse. The castle is massive, with a plethora of varied weapons, and Soma can absorb the soul of every different species of monster, with varied results. Includes multiple endings and a fucking cool secret extra mode. An engrossing Metroidvania. Dawn of Sorrow (NDS) is a direct sequel. Part of the 'Castlevania Double Pack' along with Harmony of Dissonance. Castlevania-aria-of-sorrow.440979
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon The first GBA Castlevania, Circle of the Moon is a (retconned) entry starring Nathan Graves, who has nothing to do with the Belmonts. Collect several spell cards which you can combine for dozens of different results. The small sprites and the fact that it can get hard to see (the game is quite dark) are potential issues, but it is wholly worth playing for series fans. It is possibly the most old school-feeling Metroidvania, and the toughest of the three GBA ones. The bonus modes warrant some replays, since each new one you obtain forces you to fight a bit differently due to altered stats and abilities. Castlevania-circle-of-the-moon-gba-cover-front
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance The underdog of the GBA trilogy, Harmony of Dissonance takes you through Dracula's castle with Juste Belmont and his fabulous thigh-high boots. Here you collect elemental grimoires and combine them with sub-weapons to cast spells. The bosses are rather underwhelming (mostly large versions of regular enemies), but aesthetically it may be the moodiest of the three; the soundtrack helps, too. Oh and you can do some interior decorating! There's also a decent bonus mode featuring Maxim Kischine. Part of the 'Castlevania Double Pack' along with Aria of Sorrow. Castlevania-harmony-of-dissonance-gba.451466
Metroid: Zero Mission Whether or not you think Metroid Fusion is too linear, it's harder to argue against Zero Mission; a remake of the original Metroid with new content. Metroidzeromission

Gamecube

Title Description Picture
Metroid Prime
and
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
First Person Metroid, and masterfully done. Get these if you already have a Gamecube, otherwise get the remastered editions in Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii, because the wiimote makes the first-person shooty bits eleven times better. MetroidPrime2 boxart

NES

Title Description Picture
Clash At Demonhead Pretty incredible for its time. It's a little unlike modern Metroidvania games because there is an overworld map to break up the action, but the concept remains the same. Tough-ass action platforming, large world size, great gameplay. Controls take a bit of time to get used to. ClashAtDemonhead
Metroid The original 1986 classic. First Metroid game. Metroid (U) -!- 002

SNES

Title Description Picture
Super Metroid "The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace." Subsequently, all hell breaks loose and Samus descends to Planet Zebes for the final showdown with Ridley. This is the gold standard against which all other Metroid games are compared. Play it. Avaliable on Wii U eShop if you are one of the 5 people with one. SMETROID
The Addams Family A surprisingly AWESOME metroidvania experience. While there are no permanent character "enhancements" like new moves or armor, the game is packed with non-linear goodness. There are extra alternative sections where players who reach the boss are rewarded with a permanent health boost, however! The real neat thing about this game: there are secret areas EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE. Even the Game Over screen has a secret room in it! This game is goofy, fun, and full of neat things worth experiencing. The Addams Family SNES screenshot

Sony

Playstation

Title Description Picture
Tomba! Little-known Metroidvania, you run around beating up pigs and doing tasks. Awesome! Known as Tombi! in Europe. Tomba
Tomba! 2 See above, only now with polygons and hair-tearingly difficult minigames (MINECART). You can also retrieve a savegame from Tomba! to unlock a secret quest. Both it and the prequel are horrifically difficult to find, but are available on PSN for a fairly cheap price. Known as Tombi! 2 in Europe. Tomba2