Feb 15, 2023 10 min read

The best Metroidvania games on Steam Deck

There are countless great Metroidvania games available on the Steam Deck — we run through the very best.

The best Metroidvania games on Steam Deck

There are countless great Metroidvania games available on the Steam Deck — we run through the very best.

Metroidvania, Search Action, Explor-action. Whatever you choose to call it, the sub-genre popularised by Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has exploded in popularity in the past decade.

That's in no small part due to indie developers taking advantage of the genre’s non-linear exploration, sprawling maps and upgrade-based progression. By condensing these big-budget ideas down into a 2D format, these developers can create deep, immersive experiences and large game worlds for a fraction of the cost of 3D AAA games.

The Steam store is absolutely overflowing with fantastic Metroidvania games, which means that now your Steam Deck is the best way to get lost in a brand new adventure, wherever you happen to be.

Here's our list of the best Metroidvania games on Steam each game is either Verified or Playable on the Steam Deck, and they are shared in no particular order.

Top Metroidvania games for Steam Deck

Hollow Knight on Steam Deck

Hollow Knight

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

If you’re talking about Metroidvania games on the internet, you can be sure that Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight is one of the first games mentioned. A true indie success story, this hand-drawn, melancholic adventure tasks players with exploring the underground world of Hallownest to fight tough bosses and meet a memorable cast of charming characters, all set to an incredible orchestrated soundtrack.

Because the game was kickstarted, all of the stretch goal DLC was released free to everyone who owns the game, meaning Hollow Knight has a huge amount of content to enjoy for the price. As we wait patiently for any news on the game’s sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong, now is the perfect time to try one of the best Metroidvania games in history on your Steam Deck.

Hollow Knight for Steam Deck

Blasphemous for Steam Deck


🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

In recent years, developers have taken inspiration from other subgenres to flesh out their Metroidvania games. One of the most popular game styles to add to the mix has been Souls-likes, with games like ‘Salt and Sanctuary’ and ‘Hollow Knight’ blurring the lines between one genre and the next.

The best example of this is 2019's Blasphemous, which wears its wickedly challenging inspirations proudly. Developer ‘The Game Kitchen’ masterfully blends punishing platforming, giant, powerful foes and a creepy, gothic, and warped religious aesthetic — wrapping it all up in beautiful, high quality pixel art.

While you won't find much in the way of customisation or character builds, what’s on offer here is a fiendishly addictive game that feels as much like Dark Souls as it does Castlevania, with three expansions to tackle after you beat the main game too.

Blasphemous on Steam Deck

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

One of the most recent releases on this list, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights has a lot to live up to amongst such a storied genre. Boy is it lucky, then, that this 2021 release from Japanese developer Adglobe, hits all the right notes, and definitely in the right order.

While there is some obvious Souls inspiration, what makes this game’s combat stand out is the level of choice players have in how their character attacks. By defeating bosses and finding corpses strewn across the large environments, you unlock new abilities that can be equipped in sets of three. Not only does this change the way you attack and defend yourself, but many of these abilities also offer new ways of traversal that make the dark, hand-drawn world easier to explore.

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights on Steam Deck

Steamworld Dig 2

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

Where Image & Form’s first ‘Dig’ adventure mixed pockets of hand-crafted levels into a randomly generated mine, this sequel flipped the formula on its head. In Steamworld Dig 2, the world was expanded dramatically, with smaller mining areas strewn throughout to retain the franchises identity.

The improvements didn’t stop there, as there were even more boss fights, even more power ups and plenty of varied environments across this 10 hour adventure. The Steamworld series may have expanded into new genres, but Steamworld Dig 2 remains the best of the bunch, and stands out as a Metroidvania with its own unique style of exploration.

Steamworld Dig 2 on Steam Deck


🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

As game worlds go, a government organisation’s admin office doesn't exactly scream excitement and intrigue. That is not the case with Control though, as The Oldest House is a fittingly creepy, sterile backdrop to the strange, confusing narrative that Remedy offers here.

Armed with an ever changing service weapon (that may or may not have been Excalibur at one time in its history), Jess can employ a range of psychokinetic powers that allows for sandbox-style combat, physics-bending level traversal, and thoughtfully hidden secrets. Explore throughout the 70s decor inspired environments and across the Astral Plane, as the malevolent Hiss seeks to take control of the top-secret phenomena hidden in the four walls of the oldest building in the world.

➞  Control on Steam Deck

Shadow Complex Remastered

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

What was once an Xbox Live Arcade hidden gem, trapped on the Xbox 360 for some seven years, is now a fantastic Steam Deck Metroidvania — as Shadow Complex Remastered showed up in 2016. This is one of the earliest indie games to directly cite Super Metroid as an inspiration, as Chair Entertainment’s Creative Director Donald Mustard has been very open about what the team was trying to achieve back in 2009.

The design of the map and many of the game’s powerups comes directly from experience with the SNES Nintendo classic, and this really does an excellent job of mimicking the progression that players experienced in that game too, as you’ll become a nigh-unstoppable badass by the time the credits roll.

What begins with a cheesy plot surrounding an unwilling ex-CIA protagonist and his hiking date, eventually evolves into a run and gun action hero story full of mechs, high-tech exo-suits, shadowy deep-state organisations and the fate of the USA itself. Don’t let this become a forgotten relic of the XBLA again.

Shadow Complex on Steam Deck

Axiom Verge

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

While plenty of games on this list take inspiration from both Metroid and Castlevania, Tom Happ’s Axiom Verge is clearly taking most of its cues from Metroid. Specifically, the original NES Metroid game.

But it’s not just the successes of Metroid that Axiom Verge is brilliantly emulating, as the game’s glitch-based power ups and level design are reminiscent of its predecessor’s own glitches and breakable environments. By abusing the way doors function in Metroid, players could enter rooms outside of the game’s map that didn’t quite make sense. The missing blocks, impossible geometry and walls that aren’t really there all form a part of Axiom Verge’s level design, creating a unique map and interesting abilities that perfectly fits the story of Axiom Verge.

Axiom Verge on Steam Deck


🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

If you’re more of a Castlevania fan, this is one game you should check out immediately. Timespinner’s mix of platforming, combat and RPG elements feel directly inspired by Symphony of the Night, to great effect. While you will find abilities that help you unlock more of the world, you will also collect orbs that let you use a variety of different attacks and spells in whatever manner suits your preferred style.

In Timespinner, time travel is more than just a narrative device. The two time zones you explore are woven so thoughtfully into the design of the world, and recognising the changes in the environments between the past and the future is the key to uncovering everything the game has to offer.

With plenty of side quests, a story that takes the time to flesh out its side characters and a fantastic pixel art style, this is an easy game to recommend to anyone looking for some classic Castlevania action.

➞  Timespinner for Steam Deck

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Playable

Half Metroidvania, half Souls-like, all Star Wars. While there may be some debate online about whether this game is truly a Metroidvania, I have absolutely no hesitations in suggesting this to fans of the genre, or even those who are pining for a little more Metroid Prime in their ‘vania.

The story of Cal Kestis takes players across five far far away planets — each with their own interconnected worlds, and secrets that can only be uncovered when you’ve unlocked the correct combination of force powers. With some of the best Star Wars moments in gaming history, and a fantastic looking sequel on the way in the form of Jedi: Survivor, this rare AAA Metroidvania is a force to be reckoned with.

➞  Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on Steam Deck


🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

In Guacamelee, the wrestling moves you use to pile drive your foes into the ground are also your means of traversal. An uppercut punch adds height to your jump, a ground slam breaks blocks beneath your feet, and a well placed headbutt can make mincemeat of an obstacle in your way. This makes for an interestingly themed beat-em-up Metroidvania, packed with jokes and references that, while a bit dated now, are still laugh-out-loud funny at times.

As Juan, a recently deceased Luchador, you must traverse the land of the living, and the land of the dead. These two planes of existence have allowed developer Drinkbox Studios to create thought provoking puzzles, rage-inducing platforming moments, and satisfying combat encounters. I Luch-adored this when it first released on Steam back in 2013, and it shines as a handheld experience on Steam Deck too.

➞  Guacamelee on Steam Deck

Ori and the Blind Forest

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

While I would like to include 2020’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps in this list, it is sadly listed as “Unsupported” on the Steam Deck*. However, Moon Studios’ original 2015 Ori game is still worthy of a place in our ‘best of’ list.

This enchanting game swaps out the focus on combat that many others in the genre opt for, and instead offers challenging platforming gauntlets to test your gaming abilities. This is reflected in the abilities that Ori finds along the way — with wall jumping, gliding and dashing giving you greater control of the little forest spirit, while also allowing for harder and more frantic challenges along the way.

With a story that has managed to produce a tear from my cold, dead heart on more than one occasion, and beautiful painted visuals that make it one of the most beautiful games on this list, this is one game that should definitely be on your Steam wishlist.

* I’m pretty sure Ori and the Will of the Wisps works on Steam Deck, and vastly improves the combat and variety over the original, so I highly recommend playing that one too.

Ori and the Blind Forest on Steam Deck

Yoku's Island Express

🎮 Steam Deck Compatibility: Verified

Not only is this the most unique Metroidvania on this list, it’s probably the most unique variation of the genre that’s ever released. Yoku’s Island Express from Villa Gorilla blends the open world, upgrade based progression that fans of the genre know and love with pinball mechanics. What surprised me most about this game is how well that combination works.

Littered across the game’s idyllic island landscape are mini pinball table challenges, complete with flippers and bumpers, that you need to navigate and complete to progress, with Yoku attached to the ball by a string.

With a jolly atmosphere and tropical soundtrack throughout, this is a Metrdoivania experience unlike any other.

Yoku's Island Express on Steam Deck

This list only covers a handful of the very best Metroidvania games that the Steam Deck has to offer — there’s a vast selection of other great Metroidvania games available on Steam that are well worth checking out.

So, if you’ve recently fallen in love with the genre, or you’re looking for your next fix, you should definitely check out Steam’s Metroidvania page to see what others are playing.

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