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Metroidvania

Quick Definition

Metroidvanias are a popular genre of video game known for their focus on exploration and moderate to high difficulty.

In order to progress in this type of game, the player needs to seek out and explore new areas, searching for powerups that increase their ability to survive. Specifically, in order to reach new areas, the player must locate specific powerups that allow them to manipulate or overcome the environment. For example, access to the next area may be blocked by a pillar that's too high for the player to jump over. Once they find the powerup that increases their jump height or permits limited flight, they can easily hop over the pillar and continue their adventure.

Most games in this genre are Platformers like Cave Story, but there are occasionally games that deviate from this formula.

Trivia

The term "Metroidvania" is a portmanteau (or combination) of the names Metroid and Castlevania. These are two very well-known and popular franchises that pioneered the gameplay style that would characterize this genre.

Sadly, while the Castlevania franchise has brought some of its titles to the PC, the Metroid franchise is only available on Nintendo's various consoles.