Metroidvania Games are aplenty on the Nintendo Switch thanks to the genre’s recent popularity. 2D puzzle platformers never caught on as a descriptor, but there is plenty of variety here. These games feature both puzzles and platforming, with a mix of character upgrades.

Looking for a modern take on Metroid, right down to the movement and shooting patterns? Skip down to Axiom Verge. If you’re looking to shake it up with new ideas, read through the rest to find a new game to play.

10. The Mummy Demastered

  • Developer: WayForward
  • Publisher: WayForward
  • Price: $19.99

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You may have seen The Mummy Demastered in the eShop and passed it over, thinking its a crappy movie tie-in. While that part is true, developer WayForward made a great game that just happens to tie into a crappy movie. Seriously, while the story of this one is pretty bland, the gameplay borrows heavily from games like Contra and Castlevania.

One thing that sets The Mummy Demastered apart is its unique death mechanic. Players control an entire military team, replacing members as they die with new ones. The previously controlled agent becomes a zombie that must be fought, complete with all character upgrades earned. While fighting early death zombies is a piece of cake, later deaths become almost mini-boss challenging.

9. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

  • Developer: WayForward
  • Publisher: WayForward
  • Price: $19.99

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is technically a sequel to Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, but it isn’t necessary to have played the game to enjoy Pirate’s Curse. The dungeons and towns in Pirate’s Curse are much larger than the previous game. Shantae loses her genie powers at the end of Risky’s Revenge, leaving her to fare in the world as a pirate.

Some of WayForward’s best pixel art can be found in the game. The music is delightful and the story is worth experiencing. There are also plenty of hidden secrets and puzzles to solve. If you’ve never played a Shantae game before, Pirate’s Curse is a great place to start.

8. Yoku’s Island Express

  • Developer: Villa Gorilla
  • Publisher: Team17 Digital
  • Price: $19.99

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Yoku’s Island Express is a unique mash-up of exploring Metroid-style with pinball gameplay. The combination sounds weird at first, but the gameplay and presentation are delightful. Players assume the role of Yoku, who is hired as the new post deliveryman. As soon as you arrive you’ll be helping the residents of the island solve various problems.

The world of Yoku’s Island Express is gorgeous and features boss battles with pinball objectives. There are plenty of side-quests and collectible scarabs to find. The game itself doesn’t take long to finish and offers a unique take on Metroidvania gameplay.

7. Iconoclasts

  • Developer: Joakim Sandberg
  • Publisher: Bifrost Entertainment
  • Price: $19.99

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The colorful world of Iconoclasts is a must experience Metroidvania Switch game. Developer Joakim Sandberg has been working on the game for nearly ten years, creating a masterpiece. Players assume the role of Robin the Mechanic who sets out to help people, brushing up against a Big Brother force.

Iconoclasts features over 20 boss battles and difficulty settings to help you tailor your experience. While the Metroidvania aspects of the game are pretty light, there are lots of upgrades and puzzles to solve. Despite the hugely colorful presentation, the game’s story deals with very dark subjects. The game focuses on telling a story over exploration, but it is never annoying about it.

6. The Messenger

  • Developer: Sabotage
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Price: $19.99

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The Messenger starts off as a standard platformer, but about halfway through it transforms into a sprawling Metroidvania. The gameplay is inspired by the old NES Ninja Gaiden game, so be prepared for a challenging approach if you pick this one up.

I don’t want to spoil too much in way of the game’s story, but there are plenty of meta references here. Hardcore platformer fans will find a lot to love about The Messenger, but casual fans may become frustrated. The story’s time-travel theme features an 8-bit to 16-bit switch to create interesting puzzles to solve.

5. La-Mulana 2

  • Developer: NIGORO
  • Publisher: AGM Playism
  • Price: $19.99

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La-Mulana 2 technically isn’t out on Switch yet, but it has been announced and will be coming soon. The La-Mulana series is an homage to adventure films like Indiana Jones, complete with hidden mysteries to solve. In La-Mulana 2, players take on the role of Lumisa Kosugi, the daughter of the first game’s progatonist.

Players will explore vast ruins with multiple maps, solving mysteries and riddles using stone tablets and messages you discover along the way. Be careful though, because you may awaken Guardians in the deepest of the ruins. Be aware that the La-Mulana series does not hold any hands. There’s no complex tutorial and major emphasis on non-linear exploration.

4. Timespinner

  • Developer: Lunar Ray Games
  • Publisher: Chucklefish
  • Price: $19.99

Timespinner is a gorgeous homage to the era of 16-bit gaming, wrapped in a time-travel story. The game’s story seems to be the weakest point among those who enjoyed it, as lore bits are scattered and must be found to be cohesive. The gameplay seems to be heavily inspired by Symphony of the Night and is pretty solid. The soundtrack is a high point for the game.

Weapons can be combined to create unique abilities and combinations, so the combat is pretty robust. If you enjoyed Symphony of the Night you’ll probably find a lot to like about Timespinner. Check out the official Timespinner soundtrack on Amazon Music for an amazing treat for your ears.

3. Axiom Verge

  • Developer: Thomas Happ Games
  • Publisher: Thomas Happ Games LLC
  • Price: $19.99

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Want to play a modern game that feels like Super Metroid? Then Axiom Verge is the game for you. The game’s visual style closely mimics Metroid games, but features enough unique enemy designs that it doesn’t feel like a wholesale rip-off. Advanced movement in the game is possible through acquiring power-ups, offering a true path of progression and unlocking new areas to explore.

The only downside to Axiom Verge is the story seems purposefully vague. With over 20+ unique weapons in the game, some feel underwhelming. The enemy AI is pretty easy to predict and can be cheesed if you’re good with certain weapons. It’s a great homage to Super Metroid and is a must-play for anyone who loves those games.

2. Steamworld Dig 2

  • Developer: Image & Form
  • Publisher: Thunderful Games
  • Price: $19.99

Steamworld Dig 2 was my Switch indie game of the year in 2017. Image & Form created a world that feels amazing to explore while giving fans of the original game an impactful story end. The world is entirely hand-crafted in this game and it really shows. Hidden puzzles to solve and abilities to unlock round out an overall great experience.

My only complaint about the game is it felt a tad short compared to other games on this list. That is by no means a serious complaint, just a general desire for more to explore. Check out Steamworld Quest for Image & Form’s latest game in the series. (It’s not a Metroidvania at all.)

1. Hollow Knight – Best Metroidvania Game

  • Developer: Team Cherry
  • Publisher: Team Cherry
  • Price: $15

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Hollow Knight perfectly captures the phrase ‘Souls-like.’ Everything from the music, art design, combat, and bosses is an enjoyable experience from start to finish. You’ll start in Hallownest and descend into a world filled with puzzles and enemies.

There’s a complex world hidden beneath the surface and you’re not subjected to any hand-holding. Hollow Knight is easily one of my favorite Metroidvania games available on Nintendo Switch right now. I personally can’t wait to get my hands on the next game in the series, Silksong.