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!

Comfort Food Games

You know those days where you just want to relax and feel comfy? You don’t have to worry about work or any other responsibility of “being an adult” so you feel like kicking back in your pajama pants and Doctor Who slippers in front of the tv while eating some of your favorite comfort foods. For many people comfort foods are something usually like mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, or if you’re anything like me, pizza is your go-to comfort food. Also, if you’re anything like me, you may want to accompany your favorite comfort food with some video games; the games that you’ve maybe played a hundred times but still find yourself coming back to as you settle into bed or your living room. Having had a few of these type of days recently I came up with the idea of writing a post of my own personal “comfort food” games that no matter what kind of day I’ve had I always enjoy playing. Also, with Thanksgiving, a day of calorie-laden indulgence coming this Thursday, it seemed fitting to share my video game equivalents of a heaping plate of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Super Metroid

I wouldn’t be able to write a list of go-to games without including Super Metroid; there’s never a time in which exploring the planet Zebes and blasting a few Space Pirates along the way doesn’t appeal to me. The game after all these years is still considered the pinnacle of the Metroid series. I have loved this game since I was a kid and regard it as my favorite SNES game.

Far Cry 5

A more recently released title on this list, but since first playing Far Cry 5 I have been absolutely hooked. Far Cry 5 at its core is the over-the-top action movie as you run around the rugged Montana landscape with your rocket launcher, but you can kick back and enjoy some fishing or go for a relaxing(?) drive through the mountains.

Resident Evil 4

While it may not seem like the most “relaxing” game to some, the first scene in which Leon fights off a horde or villagers is anything but. Resident Evil 4 has been one of my favorite games to play since I first bought it at the Kmart I worked at in January of 2005. It’s a game that I usually run through about once a year. It’s also one of those games that I’ve purchased multiple times….you’re welcome, Capcom.


A game that I can always sit down and play whether for a few minutes or an hour, Tetris has always been one of my favorites, along with most other puzzle games. Since Tetris 99 was released for Switch Online subscribers earlier this year I have spent 60+ hours in what, in all seriousness could be my favorite battle royale game.

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country recently celebrated(well, not really) its 25th anniversary since being released in November of 1994 and with it, Rare brought back Nintendo’s aging primate to mainstream relevance. Everything about this game brings warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia rushing back to me and the platforming gameplay, sound and visuals have held up exceptionally well. I still remember the first time I cleared those mine cart levels…

Super Mario Bros. 3

Since childhood, I have probably spent more time playing Mario games than any other and Mario 3 is probably my favorite game of all time, with Super Mario World following closely. I still remember every level and shortcut of the game. Similar to Resident Evil 4, I have purchased this game in multiple forms for many different consoles as I’m still in love with this timeless NES classic. For me, Mario 3 is as close to a perfect game as I have ever played.

That’s it for now, what are some of your “comfort food” games? Let me know in the comments. I know there’s plenty I’ve probably missed, but it’s a start. If you’d like to compliment your gaming meal, I recommend checking out a post that Kim from Later Levels recently did suggesting wine pairings with video games. Here’s hoping everyone out there has a great Thanksgiving and will hopefully get some time to relax and play some games!