Metroidvania Mania

This week’s post comes following a relaxing weekend of just snacking and slacking…and video games. Being somewhat unsure what I was wanted to write about, what I’ve decided to do is highlight some Metroidvania games that I’ve been enjoying anywhere between the last few days or months….and NOT have Metroid or Castlevania in the title. The massive successes of games like Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night have spawned countless action-adventure games emphasizing exploration and acquiring newer, more powerful upgrades as you venture around the map.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

I said games NOT containing the word Castlevania in the title…but I’m going to start with Bloodstained anyway. Koji Igarashi’s successes with Symphony of the Night on the Playstation and the subsequent Castlevania releases for Game Boy Advance made the eventual release of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night a no-brainer to pick up this past summer. I love nearly everything about this game – the setting, music, art style, and characters are all great! Everything you loved about SotN or the Castlevania GBA games is found in Bloodstained. My only complaint would only be the fact I purchased the Switch version rather than PS4 which has been plagued by a number of gameplay issues. Most of the issues have been patched out, but there’s still just enough of a drop in framerate and loading issues due to the inferior horsepower of Nintendo’s otherwise phenomenal hybrid console.


A game that was described as Dark Souls meets Super Metroid, Blasphemous was an indie game I knew immediately I was going to play. Souls-type is a more recent description of a sub-genre due to the popularity and influence of From Software’s Dark Souls games. The game’s visuals and gameplay are very grisly and morbid as the setting takes much inspiration from the Black Plague and Inquisition during the Middle Ages. The heavy religious themes and imagery focus on things like pain, suffering, and guilt as you control the Penitent One brandishing a giant sword the Mea Culpa as you venture across Cvstodia, collecting Rosary Beads and Prayers to uncover the mystery around the Silent Sorrow which has decimated the population. Blasphemous is certainly not an easy game; traditional hack and slash mechanics are not enough to survive the merciless creatures of Cvstodai, but one’s survival requires a more methodical approach, as you would find in From Software games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. The giant bosses you face wouldn’t feel out of place in a Souls game. The game is VERY unsettling(and difficult), but there’s still something compelling within its bleak world…

Ori and the Blind Forest

I finally purchased Ori and the Blind Forest recently on my Switch after knowing of the game for several years. The beautfiul visuals found in the forests of Nibel can be misleading as this game has already proven to be quite challenging, despite its colorful, friendly appearance. Many have sung the praises of this charming Metroidvania title and are eagerly anticipating its sequel Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which releases on February 11. My biggest complaint of the game is the jumping feels a little too light and “floaty” making precise jumps difficult, along with the feeling of any weapons/attacks I have seem vastly underpowered, even for a game of this type which emphasizes acquiring upgrades to your weapons and attacks. I have only played Ori and the Blind Forest for about three hours, so here’s hoping this is just something I’m overly critical about in the initial stages of this gorgeous game.

Gato Roboto

In casually perusing various gaming publications, I came across Gato Roboto, which immediately had me sold using keywords like: “Metroidvania”, “Cats”, and “Mech-suit”. Developed by doinksoft and published by Devolver Digital, Gato Robot was released this past summer and was an instant purchase, especially given the meager release price of $5. I wrote up a summary of my playthrough of Gato Roboto a few months ago, cringy use of “Mewtroidvania” and all. At its worst, one could describe this rather short game simply as “Metroid, but with a cat”. But, it still provided an enjoyable experience for only a few dollars and definitely worth checking out if your a fan Metroid games….a series greatly UNDERREPRESENTED on the Nintendo Switch(just sayin’).

Hollow Knight

Another acclaimed indie Metroidvania game, Hollow Knight was released back in 2017 on PC and later released for the Switch in 2018. Similar to Ori, Hollow Knight hides a significant challenge behind its visual charm. The hand-drawn animations and music are great, but combining with the responsive controls and moody, strange atmosphere create an incredible experience. What I found interesting about Hollow Knight is for a modern Metroidvania game, it was still rather cryptic concerning clues about where to go next and relies more on pure exploration, where many modern games will offer more hints and waypoints to provide a slightly more linear experience. Hollow Knight has gone on to become one of the definitive Metroidvania indie games of recent years, with fans also awaiting Team Cherry’s sequel – Hollow Knight: Silksong.

Axiom Verge

Any Metroidvania blog post is downright obliged to mention Axiom Verge. This indie game released back in 2015 takes only a split second glimpes of the art style and level design to notice a not-very-subtle Metroid influence. This is where I come clean and admit I have never finished the game, though I downloaded it a couple years ago, but ended up buried under a pile of Switch eShop games. I will have to rectify that issue shortly, especially with Axiom Verge 2 being announced during Nintendo’s most recent Nindies presentation for a Fall 2020 release date.

What are some of your favorite Metroidvania games? Is there anything that you have played recently that you enjoyed? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Gato Roboto – A Charming Meowtroidvania Title

Greetings! Today’s post is about a game that I have played recently and really enjoyed – Gato Roboto, which was developed by doinksoft and published by Devolver Digital. Gato Roboto was released on Steam and Nintendo Switch on May 30 and I admit I was sold pretty easily upon first hearing about the game…Metroidvania, Cats, Mech-suits…YES PLEASE! 🙂

Gato Roboto begins with interstellar pilot, Gary responding to a distress signal coming from a seemingly abandoned research facility…sounds familiar, right? Upon arrival at the facility your ship crashes to the planet surface and Gary is trapped in the wreckage. Unable to proceed any further Gary entrusts his loyal companion – a cat named Kiki to complete his mission. Kiki quickly discovers an unoccupied mech-suit and begins the process of rescuing Gary and learning the origin of the distress signal. You begin at the Landing Site before making your way to the Nexus which acts as a “hub” for the interconnected regions of the game (Landing Site, Nexus, Aquaduct, Heater Core, Ventilation, Incubator, and Laboratory being the seven regions to explore in the game). As you progress throughout the different regions you acquire varying upgrades for your suit, such as missiles, spin jump, auto repeater – rapid fire ability for your main weapon. There is no grapple beam, sadly…you also don’t have to worry about missile upgrades as you have a temperature gauge which will allow you to shoot unlimited missiles, however you can only shoot a couple before you begin overheating. One unique ability in the game is the phase boost, which allows you to quickly dash between barriers, granting you brief invulnerability( I was familiar with this after playing Guacamelee); a skill that becomes necessary for boss battles later in the game.

As one would expect, you are not able to explore every corner of a given region as you make your way through the first time, you will need to gain certain skills to access specific areas. Once you acquire your spin jump you will be able to make your way up to that higher up ledge you noticed your initial pass through the area. The rewards for thoroughly exploring the regions are usually health upgrades, or palette cassettes, which act as a filter to change the appearance of your screen from the default black and white. There are a total of fourteen palette cartridges you can collect on your way to 100% completion; my favorites were Grape – a very bold purple, Meowtrix – a Wachowski-inspired neon green, and Virtual Cat – a headache-inducing bright red as a nod to Nintendo’s great(est) misstep of the 90’s. You can also acquire two upgrades to current weapons from the frog scientist(?) Rebba provided you’ve found enough palette cartridges. The Auto Repeater upgrade adds a rapid-fire ability to your main weapon, which is definitely worth the extra few minutes of tracking down those extra cartridges; you can simply hold down the fire button when shooting enemies, and bosses especially as they take a lot of firepower to defeat.

My favorite of the palette cartages that act as color filters – Virtual Cat. Just looking at this is almost enough to cause a headache.

I don’t want to simplify any description of Gato Roboto by saying it’s a Metroid clone; it certainly makes no effort to hide the fact that it’s almost a note-for-note cover of Metroid. The game outside of the phase boost, and the main protagonist being a cat, doesn’t really add anything to the formula that we haven’t seen before. If you’re looking for original gameplay and narrative-heavy storyline you will be greatly disappointed. I wrote about Back In 1995 a while back; a game that was created as an homage to a genre of games that had influenced the developers. My biggest critique of Back In 1995 wasn’t necessarily that it didn’t do something revolutionary for the survival-horror genre, but that it seemingly missed on what made the games memorable in the first place. Gato Roboto IS for all intent “Metroid, but with a cat”, but it does provide an enjoyable gameplay experience, along with some quirky indie-game charm which is all I was hoping for in the game. My only real complaint is the overall controls/jumping feel a little too loose and “floaty” but isn’t too much of a hinderance. The game isn’t overly difficult, outside of a couple boss battles and not particularly long, it can be completed in 3-4 hours. I enjoyed my first time through the game enough that I did play through a second time in an attempt to get a 100% completion. If you’re a fan of Metroidvania games, or just cats in video games, I can recommend Gato Roboto as a indie title you can play for under $10.

That’s it for this week! What are some Metroidvania games that you’ve enjoyed recently? How about just games with cats in them? 🙂

I realize I said “Metroidvania” about a hundred times, so apologize for that…AND the bad pun in the title 😉 I also thought of this recent article I read on Kotaku, lol.

Keep on playing…