More so than any other medium, video games have a knack for spawning jargon that’s both absurd sounding and inscrutable. Near the top of that list is “Metroidvania,” a term that would prompt any normal person you said it in front of to quickly begin searching for the nearest exit. Even people who love Metroidvanias seem to hate the name, which at once means so much while also explaining nothing at all.
On this week’s episode of Splitscreen, we go deep into the 2D side-scrolling genre’s roots, baggage, and modern incarnations. Indie homages to Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night continue to proliferate every year, and we discuss some of our favorites, including the often overlooked gems like TimeSpinner. Even Nintendo couldn’t stay away, finally deigning to deliver Metroid Dread 15 years after it was originally conceived.
We also discuss Axiom Verge 2, which I recently reviewed for the site and does a very thorough job of deconstructing the Metroidvania formula before augmenting it into something flawed but original. Long story short: what if more 2D side-scrolling action games focused on challenges besides killing stuff? In the back-half of the show, we take our best stabs at renaming the genre altogether. We’d love for you to rate our suggestions and offer your own.
Listen to the full episode to find out why forgetting your keys, wallet, and everything else is the real Metroidvania. And a reminder that new episodes come out every Friday, so like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher to get them as soon as they go live. You can leave a review, too, or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or want to suggest a topic. Or if you want to deliver your hottakes in realtime you can reach us on Twitter: I’m @ethangach, Fahey is @unclefahey, and Lisa Marie is @lisamarie_lynn. Until next week!