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The Best Metroidvania Games Of 2022

Since the "Metroid" and "Castlevania" series forged the genre, Metroidvania titles have occupied a unique place in the industry. The category manages to blend mechanical skill with the thrill of exploring vibrant and unique worlds across various settings. It is defined by open-ended exploration, the ability to increase in power by finding and mastering new skills, and fantastic boss battles that put everything the player learns to the test. Metroidvanias have also evolved over the decades, incorporating elements of other genres, experimenting with pillar features, and creating unforgettable experiences. 

In recent years, indie titles like "Hollow Knight" and "Ori and the Blind Forest" have infused the Metroidvania genre with new blood thanks to passion-driven development teams willing to take more risks with their projects. As in the past, 2022 has proven a great year for Metroidvania releases, with several games breaking away from the pack to capture the hearts of fans.

Haiku, the Robot

Short but well-developed, "Haiku, the Robot" follows the titular Haiku as they travel "through a vast interconnected world full of corrupt robots and machinery." It features not only an adorable protagonist, but very pleasing visual design overall, making exploring its nooks and crannies an absolute joy. Fans have frequently compared "Haiku, the Robot" to "Hollow Knight," a massive compliment for any Metroidvania to receive. However, it omits the Soulslike elements of "Hollow Knight" and is much shorter, clocking in at around five hours for most first-time playthroughs. 

Despite its brief runtime, "Haiku, the Robot" has received a lot of praise and positive buzz from fans of the genre. The game allows players the freedom to explore however they wish and tackle objectives in a less strict order. It also comes with some of its own mechanics, like its chip system, which allow players to customize Haiku's fighting style to personalize their experience to their preferences.

  • Release Date: April 28, 2022
  • Genre: Metroidvania, Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-Player Only

Salt and Sacrifice

A follow-up to 2016's "Salt and Sanctuary," "Salt and Sacrifice" changed the map design of its predecessor to be more segmented and introduced a larger skill tree and more equipment options. The game blends Metroidvania 2D exploration with Souslike combat featuring towering behemoths and brutally high damage numbers. "Sacrifice" also gives players a ton of options when it comes to building their characters, allowing them to beat each of the game's obstacles in a variety of ways. 

One of the most attractive aspects of "Salt and Sacrifice" is that the entry can be played in its entirety with two-player co-op. Given the variation in builds, bringing a friend along to work together and form strategies is an absolute blast that many fans have connected with. "Sacrifice" does learn more heavily into fighting than many Metroidvanias, however, so genre fans should only check it out if they are looking for high difficulty and an emphasis on combat rather than platforming. 

  • Release Date: May 10, 2022
  • Genre: Metroidvania, RPG, Souls-like
  • Game Modes: Single-Player, Online Co-Op, Local Co-Op
  • Metacritic Score: 72 (PC), 73 (PlayStation 5), N/A (PlayStation 4)

Ghost Song

"Ghost Song" comes from a small team of developers and puts a massive emphasis on atmosphere and tone. It sees players controlling a lost soul that awakens in a strange environment desperate for answers. As players explore their surroundings, they find numerous mysteries, unsettling scenes, and creepy foes. The game offers a wide range of movement abilities and combat abilities, allowing it to satisfy any kind of Metroidvania fan out there. The gorgeous visuals in "Ghost Song" also help bring its atmospheric presentation to life, with every section of the world conveyed through painstaking detail to give it a unique identity. 

"Ghost Song" received extensive critical praise. Players have complimented the game's challenging combat, unique enemy designs, unsettling visuals, and seamless blend of Metroidvania and horror. The title's approach to the genre is also frequently compared to the "Metroid" series, so it should have something to offer fans of older Metroidvanias as well as those on the hunt for something new. 

Moonscars

"Moonscars" has proven to be an extraordinarily punishing Metroidvania that blends the most difficult elements of Roguelikes and Soulslikes to make a new experience that only certain players will enjoy. Its difficulty is too much for many people, but those looking to test themselves may find mastering "Moonscars" particularly rewarding. The game's difficulty stems not only from its high sakes combat, but also the severe decisions that players have to make throughout a playthrough. 

Players frequently lose their accumulated gear, forcing them to re-calibrate and find a new way to continue forward. Players will also occasionally have to decide whether or not to reset their builds for checkpoints and other mechanics, which leads to a very interesting experience for players that have the patience for it. While "Moonscars" is far from a game for everybody, it has found many dedicated fans that have fallen in love with its challenges.

Infernax

It doesn't take more than a quick glimpse to see that "Infernax" is a Metroidvania devoted to the old school. From its pixelated graphics to its mechanics, the game is a shining homage to the bygone days of the genre. However, if that retro approach gets in the way of some players enjoying it there is a difficulty option that can be turned on to help them along.

The inclusion of the easier mode is great, as players who can find a way to meet "Infernax" on its terms are rewarded with a highly rewarding and tightly knit experience. The title's balancing is extremely impressive, and it boasts some of the greatest boss designs of the year. "Infernax" also includes numerous combat and exploration options that are fun to experiment with, as well as a morality system that can make different playthroughs feel distinct from one another. The enty's replayability is a real boon as well, as it has a short playtime that encourages players to run through it multiple times to see everything it has to offer.

B.I.O.T.A.

"B.I.O.T.A." is a well-hidden gem of a Metroidvania that has graphics heavily inspired by titles from the original Game Boy. Its story follows multiple individuals hired to eradicate an alien presence from a complicated mine of interweaving tunnels and corridors. Each of the eight playable characters has their own upgrades available to them, offering players multiple ways to navigate the game's platforming and action-filled combat sequences. Half of the characters need to be unlocked during a playthrough, but each one comes with its own ability and starting weapon to make unlocking them feel rewarding.

Despite its old school appearance and inspiration, "B.I.O.T.A." comes with a bevy of modern features and mechanics. Players can perform wall kicks, it has full modern controller support, and its color scheme can be changed at any time to one of 54 different configurations. It also boasts several vehicle segments to mix up the pacing, multiple endings, and an arcade mode to revisit levels after finishing the game, leading to plenty of praise from outlets like mxdwn.com

  • Release Date: April 12, 2022
  • Genre: Metroidvania, Shooter
  • Game Modes: Single-Player Only
  • Metacritic Score: 71 (PC)

Islets

"Islets" from developer Kyle Thompson is one of the most adorable and wholesome Metroidvanias released in recent years. The story follows the player as they explore a shattered world to try and reunite its disparate inhabitants by forming new connections between them. It places an unusual emphasis on its narrative and characters for the genre, giving it one of the most memorable campaigns in recent memory that is filled with lovable personalities and interesting developments.

The game's playtime is also constantly interesting as it steadily introduces new mechanics and interactions for players to adapt to throughout its brief duration. This helps keep everything fresh and aids the title in maintaining its reasonable difficulty despite its family-friendly appearance. The entry's impressively tight design and engaging world has secured it many fans, and its more heartwarming focus provides a great break from the usually dour tone of most Metroidvanias. 

  • Release Date: August 24, 2022
  • Genre: Metroidvania, Shooter, Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single Player
  • Metacritic Score: 77 (PC), 82 (Switch), N/A (Xbox One), N/A (Xbox Series X|S)

Supraland: Six Inches Under

"Supraland: Six Inches Under" began development as an expansion for the popular "Supraland." However, it eventually blossomed in scope enough to become a standalone release with a dedicated following and great reviews from outlets like PC Invasion. The game is also unique amongst most Metroidvanias because of its first-person presentation. Its world is filled with puzzles to solve, abilities to find, and plenty of combat encounters as well as various tools that players can pick from to overcome its challenges. 

"Six Inches Under" stays true to the core of the Metroidvania genre by sectioning off parts of its world until the player has accumulated the necessary abilities to access them in addition to supporting a non-linear structure. It also has an incredible amount of content, with many of its greatest puzzles and challenges unlocking only after the player has already finished the base game. Metroidvania fans that don't mind the change in perspective should find plenty to love in "Supraland: Six Inches Under," especially if they enjoy uncovering mysteries and figuring things out through exploration and experimentation.

  • Release Date: January 14, 2022
  • Genre: First-Person, Metroidvania, Puzzle, Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-Player Only

Imp of the Sun

"Imp of the Sun" is a beautiful game that derives inspiration from Incan culture and mythology. It features incredible designs that give it an unique appearance alongside some outstanding animations. It also places a heavy emphasis on platforming over combat. Combat is present in small doses throughout its playthrough, but most of its attention is devoted to platforming challenges and exploration. This makes it a great title for any Metroidvania fans that want an experience that doesn't focus too much on fighting or include Soulslike elements. 

The title has received praise from outlets like Nintendo Life, as well as drawing many fans that found themselves enamored with the aesthetics. The game's world is so detailed and unique that exploring it is an absolute joy and its heartwarming story almost guarantees that any player who goes through it will end up falling in love with its protagonist, Nin.

  • Release Date: March 24, 2022
  • Genre: Metroidvania, Puzzle, Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-Player Only

Souldiers

"Souldiers" was subject to a rough launch plagued by bugs and optimization issues, but in the time since its release those have mostly been resolved with numerous patches and hot fixes. This has allowed the game's incredible charm and quality to get the attention it deserves from players and critics like RPGamer. The title boasts an impressive average playtime of around 40 hours thanks to its massive, interconnected world. 

The world of "Souldiers" is also home to tons of detail and interesting lore that helps it feel like one of the most alive and fully-realized settings of the year. Its story also does an admirable job of exploring its various characters and developing them in interesting ways that feel right at home in its lush surroundings. Fans of learning enemy patterns will also find a lot to love in "Souldiers," as its difficulty strikes a delicate balance that allows overcoming its challenges to be addicting both in its platforming and its combat.

REDSHOT

"REDSHOT" is the product of a lone developer by the name of Brian Lynch. It combines the core gameplay loop of a Metroidvania with the action and tactics of a bullet-hell shooter. It tells the story of an intergalactic peacekeeper that gets caught up in the civil war of a planet after getting stranded there. The narrative unfolds through gorgeous retro pixelated graphics, and it is filled with dry humor that helps give its characters and world personality.

The real star of "REDSHOT," however, is its action. At any given time, players can equip two weapons to use alongside a slate of skills to survive combat encounters that are filled to the brim with enemies. Combat is chaotic, energetic, and extremely satisfying, especially as players use the various abilities to navigate waves of attacks from all directions. This, along with branching paths and interesting boss fights, has helped "REDSHOT" find good reviews from outlets such as God is a Geek, an impressive feat given that it is the work of a single developer.

  • Release Date: August 2, 2022
  • Genre: Metroidvania, Shooter, Platformer, Bullet Hell
  • Game Modes: Single-Player Only