The Most Popular Metroidvania: A Ranking of the Best

Choose the Metroidvania you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 20, 2024 07:20
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate hub for passionate gamers and dedicated fans! Today, we're thrilled to present the ultimate face-off: "What is the most popular Metroidvania?" We've narrowed down the top contenders in this beloved gaming genre, featuring iconic titles and hidden gems alike. Will your favorite reign supreme, or will a dark horse steal the spotlight? It's time to put your gaming expertise to the test and cast your vote for the ultimate Metroidvania experience! And if you think we've missed an essential title, fear not - we encourage you to suggest a missing option and let the world know about the unsung heroes of Metroidvania. So, grab your controller, dust off your keyboard, and join us on this epic journey to crown the king of Metroidvania games!

What Is the Most Popular Metroidvania?

  1. 1
    This indie game has gained a massive following due to its beautiful art style, challenging gameplay, and atmospheric world-building. The game boasts a vast interconnected map, a plethora of secrets, and a haunting soundtrack.
    Hollow Knight is a challenging action-adventure game set in a dark and atmospheric world filled with intricate landscapes and mysterious creatures. Inspired by the Dark Souls series, it offers a similar level of difficulty and a deep, interconnected world to explore. The game revolves around the journey of a tiny insect-like creature, the Hollow Knight, as they navigate through treacherous environments and confront formidable enemies in order to uncover the secrets of their decaying kingdom.
    • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
    • Release Date: February 24, 2017
    • Genre: Action-Adventure, Metroidvania
    • Single-Player: Yes
    • Difficulty: High
    Hollow Knight in other rankings
  2. 2
    Often referred to as the game that defined the Metroidvania genre, Symphony of the Night features non-linear exploration, RPG elements, and a beloved protagonist in Alucard. The game's critical acclaim and cult following have made it a classic.
    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a highly acclaimed action-adventure game that is considered one of the most popular Metroidvania games to date. It was developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation in 1997. The game takes place in a gothic castle and follows the story of Alucard, the son of Dracula.
    • Genre: Action-adventure, Metroidvania
    • Platform: PlayStation
    • Release Year: 1997
    • Developer: Konami
    • Publisher: Konami
    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in other rankings
  3. 3
    This beautiful game has won numerous awards for its stunning graphics and emotional storytelling. Players must navigate a sprawling forest filled with danger and secrets, using platforming skills and special abilities to progress.
    Ori and the Blind Forest is a critically acclaimed action-adventure platformer game that tells an emotional and visually stunning tale. Players embark on a heartfelt journey as they control Ori, a nimble forest spirit, on a quest to save the dying forest from darkness. The game is renowned for its breathtaking hand-painted visuals, mesmerizing soundtrack, and challenging gameplay.
    • Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
    • Genre: Action-adventure, Platformer, Metroidvania
    • Release Date: March 11, 2015
    • Modes: Single-player
    • Game Engine: Unity
    Ori and the Blind Forest in other rankings
  4. 4
    Created by the same designer as Symphony of the Night, this game was made as a spiritual successor to the Castlevania series. Bloodstained features similar exploration and combat mechanics, but with updated graphics and modern gameplay features.
    Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a popular Metroidvania game that was developed by ArtPlay and published by 505 Games. It was released in 2019 and follows the story of Miriam, an orphan who battles her way through a demon-infested castle. The game combines exploration, platforming, and action-heavy gameplay with RPG elements, allowing players to gain new abilities, weapons, and equipment as they progress. With its gothic art style, intricate level design, and engaging storyline, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has become a beloved title among Metroidvania enthusiasts.
    • Release Year: 2019
    • Genre: Metroidvania
    • Publisher: 505 Games
    • Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
    • Game Modes: Single-player
  5. 5

    Axiom Verge

    Thomas Happ
    Another indie hit, Axiom Verge is a love letter to classic Metroid games. The game's trippy visuals and haunting soundtrack create a unique atmosphere, and players must use a variety of weapons and abilities to uncover the secrets of an alien world.
    Axiom Verge is an acclaimed action-adventure game that pays homage to the classic Metroidvania genre. It features a sprawling, interconnected world to explore, filled with secrets, power-ups, and challenging enemies. Players take on the role of a scientist named Trace who is transported to a mysterious alien planet after a lab explosion. As Trace unravels the secrets of this strange world, he gains new abilities and tools to navigate its various regions and defeat formidable bosses.
    • Platform(s): Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
    • Release Date: March 31, 2015
    • Genre: Action-adventure, Metroidvania
    • Graphics: 2D pixel art
    • Game Modes: Single-player
  6. 6
    This game puts a Mexican twist on the Metroidvania formula, with colorful art, luchador wrestling moves, and a humorous story. Players take control of Juan Aguacate as he fights his way through the land of the dead to rescue his love.
    Guacamelee! is a popular Metroidvania game that combines Mexican folklore with a vibrant art style and a humorous storyline. Players take on the role of Juan Aguacate, a luchador who embarks on a quest to rescue El Presidente's daughter from the clutches of an evil skeleton named Calaca.
    • Genre: Action-Platformer
    • Release Date: April 9, 2013
    • Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
    • Modes: Single-player, local multiplayer
    • Gameplay Style: Metroidvania
  7. 7
    Developed by Epic Games, this game features a modern take on the Metroidvania genre, with a focus on high-tech gadgets and explosive combat. Players must infiltrate a secret base to uncover a conspiracy and save the world.
    Shadow Complex is a popular action-adventure side-scrolling game developed by Chair Entertainment and Epic Games. It was initially released in 2009 for Xbox 360 and later made available for other platforms. The game follows the protagonist Jason Fleming as he explores a vast underground complex to rescue his girlfriend from a terrorist group.
    • Genre: Action-Adventure
    • Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, iOS
    • Release Date: August 19, 2009
    • Game Modes: Single-player
    • Perspective: Side-scrolling
    Shadow Complex in other rankings
  8. 8
    This indie game has gained a cult following for its challenging gameplay and retro graphics. Players must explore a mysterious space station, uncovering secrets and battling bosses along the way.
    Environmental Station Alpha is a critically acclaimed Metroidvania game known for its atmospheric exploration and challenging gameplay. Set in a decaying space station, players take on the role of a robotic explorer tasked with investigating mysterious events and uncovering the secrets of the station. The game features non-linear progression, intricate level design, and a deep sense of isolation and unease. With its retro-inspired pixel art style and hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, Environmental Station Alpha has captivated players since its release.
    • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
    • Release Date: April 22, 2015
    • Genre: Action, Adventure, Metroidvania
    • Game Modes: Single-player
    • Resolution: Ranging from 640x480 to 1920x1080
  9. 9

    SteamWorld Dig 2

    Image & Form Games
    The sequel to the popular SteamWorld Dig, this game features charming steampunk visuals and addictive gameplay. Players must dig deep into the earth to uncover treasures and secrets, using a variety of tools and upgrades to progress.
    SteamWorld Dig 2 is a popular Metroidvania game that combines exploration, platforming, and mining mechanics in a charming steampunk world. It offers a compelling and immersive storyline as players follow the adventures of Dorothy, a steam-powered robotic protagonist. The game features a blend of action, puzzle-solving, and upgrading mechanics, as players dig through the underground to uncover secrets, unlock new abilities, and fight against various enemies.
    • Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
    • Genre: Action, Adventure, Metroidvania
    • Release Date: September 21, 2017
    • Developer: Image & Form Games
    • Publisher: Image & Form Games
  10. 10
    This game features hand-drawn graphics and a haunting soundtrack, with a focus on challenging combat and exploration. Players take control of a priestess on a quest to rid her land of a curse, facing off against dangerous creatures and powerful bosses.
    Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a popular Metroidvania game that blends action, exploration, and intricate platforming. Set in a cursed land ruled by dark witches, players assume the role of Kaho, a priestess on a mission to lift the curse and save her village from impending doom. As Kaho, players will navigate through interconnected areas, battle challenging enemies, discover secrets, and acquire upgrades to enhance their abilities.
    • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
    • Release Date: March 4, 2016
    • Genre: Action, Metroidvania, Platformer
    • Graphics: Pixel art
    • Game Modes: Single-player

Missing your favorite Metroidvania?


Ranking factors for popular Metroidvania

  1. Gameplay and Controls
    The fluidity and responsiveness of the character's movement, combat mechanics, and the overall way the game feels as players navigate through the interconnected levels. This includes accessibility features, control customization, and how smoothly the game runs on various platforms.
  2. Level Design and Exploration
    The quality of the game's environment, the interconnectedness of the levels, and the ability to revisit previous areas with new abilities. Metroidvania games heavily rely on backtracking and exploration, so varied and creative levels that encourage exploration are crucial.
  3. Power-ups and Abilities
    The abilities and power-ups that the player character acquires throughout the game, how these abilities change gameplay, and the pacing of when these abilities are gained. They should be well-balanced and offer the player meaningful choices that affect their playstyle.
  4. Art Style and Graphics
    The visual aspects of the game, including character design, background art, and general aesthetic. This should be a consistent and cohesive style that helps immerse the player in the game world.
  5. Story and Characters
    The narrative and character development that occurs throughout the game. A compelling and well-told story, along with interesting and memorable characters, can deepen the player's engagement with the game world.
  6. Music and Sound Design
    The quality of the game's soundtrack, sound effects, and general audio design. This should enhance the atmosphere and complement the game's mood and tone.
  7. Innovation and Originality
    Many Metroidvania games can feel derivative of the original Metroid and Castlevania titles. A game should bring unique gameplay elements, story, or design choices that set it apart from other games in the genre.
  8. Replayability
    The extent to which the game encourages repeated playthroughs, either through branching storylines, different difficulty settings, or challenges that require multiple attempts to overcome.
  9. Challenge and Balance
    The game's difficulty should be well-balanced and offer a fair yet challenging experience for players of various skill levels. It should provide a sense of accomplishment without causing frustration.
  10. Reception and Popularity
    Finally, the game's critical reception and overall popularity among players should be considered. Highly-rated and well-regarded games are more likely to be considered strong contenders for the best Metroidvania games.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Metroidvania. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Metroidvania is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 164 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Metroidvania once every 24 hours. The rank of each Metroidvania is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular metroidvania

Metroidvania is a subgenre of action-adventure games, which takes its name from two classic game series – Metroid and Castlevania. These games are characterized by their interconnected, non-linear maps, power-ups and abilities that unlock new areas, and a focus on exploration and backtracking. The popularity of Metroidvania games has steadily grown since the release of the original Metroid and Castlevania games in the 1980s. Today, there are countless Metroidvania games available on various platforms, ranging from indie titles to big budget releases. Players love the sense of progression and discovery that comes with playing a Metroidvania game. As they collect new abilities and explore the game world, they uncover new areas and secrets that were previously inaccessible. This sense of discovery, combined with tight platforming and combat mechanics, makes Metroidvania games some of the most beloved titles in the gaming community. So, when it comes to determining the most popular Metroidvania game, there are plenty of incredible titles to choose from. Whether you're a fan of classic 2D platformers or modern 3D adventures, there's sure to be a Metroidvania game that will capture your imagination and keep you coming back for more.

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