When it comes to addictive gameplay formulas, nothing beats a Metroidvania game. I've reviewed quite a lot of them in my career so here's my take on a few stand-out titles.
As the first Metroidvania that I've ever reviewed, Apotheon sure set the bar high right off the bat. It combines combat that feels like a 2D version of Dark Souls with classic Metroidvania exploration all wrapped in a very stylish package. Inspecting every nook and cranny for secrets while listening to the fantastic soundtrack and taking on legendary Greek gods adds up to make this a must-buy game. The combat can feel overwhelming while facing multiple foes and the visuals get rather stale after a while but these minor points are the only things holding Apotheon back from being a perfect 2D adventure.
Ori and the Blind Forest
To be honest, I was slightly disappointed with Ori and the Blind Forest. Don't get me wrong, it's a great game and I even included it on my Top 10 Download Only Xbox One Games list but my expectations were slightly too high. Although it has occasional frustrating moments and plenty of missable content; its gorgeous graphics, emotional storytelling, satisfying set of moves, and long campaign will definitely turn any skeptic into an instant fan. If you still haven't picked it up, why not check out the Definitive Edition?
Xeodrifter is far from the best Metroidvania title due to its extremely short length, restrictive map system, and repetitive boss battles but it's still a worthwhile experience. Gathering an arsenal of enjoyable abilities while finding secrets that increase your firepower and maximum health is great fun. If you decide to download Xeodrifter, keep in mind that it's best played on 3DS due to the visual effects during multi-layered stages. Also, the retro style feels right at home on a Nintendo handheld.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
When I was approaching my 100th review, I wanted to do something special so I decided to review my favourite game of all time. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is arguably the king of Metroidvanias. After replaying it for the umpteenth time, I can safely say that it has truly stood the test of ages. I still have my non-Greatest Hits physical copy for the original PlayStation as well as the Xbox 360 version and Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP which features an updated iteration. It's rare that a day goes by without me thinking of this masterpiece at least once. It simply is gaming perfection and I hope that Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will be at least half as good. Fun fact: with a 9.7, Symphony of the Night still holds the highest score ever given on Video Chums.
Shortly after reviewing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I played through Axiom Verge. Unfortunately, this is yet another title that I was slightly disappointed in. Exploring the sci-fi world as Trace felt way too similar to controlling Samus in one of her adventures but it still managed to be a solid game. If you want to play a superior experience then Super Metroid blows this one out of the water which is funny because it was made more than twenty years earlier. That being said, only one guy developed Axiom Verge and that's very impressive. In the end, you probably won't regret downloading Axiom Verge after exploring its vast and intriguing world.