Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to video games:


Metroidvania is a genre of games that features an interconnected map where shortcuts or entire portions of the map are locked away. These inaccessible areas are opened by in-game keys, or with new abilities acquired by the character during play.

This term comes from its first popular use in the SNES title Super Metroid and the PS1 title: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The interconnected nature of this design encourages exploration without tedious backtracking.

Metroidvania-style games often fall in the action/adventure genre of video games, but exist in other genres as well.

Metroidvania games will often include abilities and items that encourage players to rethink and re-explore places that have already been traveled through during the first part of the game.

The player will often encounter branching pathways where one or more exits are made inaccessible by being too far, too high up, or too hazardous to access.

These games will often have maps that loop back on themselves after unlocking more of the map through a key or new ability, which creates this feeling of an organically expanding world instead of a series of curated experiences.

Some examples of these types of abilities are:

  • Missiles (Metroid Series)
  • Double Jump (Symphony of the Night)
  • Cut/Surf (Pokemon Series)
  • Pollo Power (Guacamelee)

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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