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Modern Metroidvanias: how Dead Cells and Hollow Knight elevated a genre

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Diving into the sub-genre to explore what makes games like Hollow Knight and Dead Cells tick

If you grew up loving Metroidvanias, there was a pretty rough stretch in the 1990s and 2000s where there wasn’t a whole lot to get pumped about. Sure, there were occasional installments of Castlevania or Metroid that scratched this itch, but they were few and far between.

In recent years, though, that’s changed. Metrodvanias have been coming out with solid regularity across a wide variety of platforms. But not all of them reach the heights of games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night or Super Metroid.

I decided to take a look at some of the elements I adored in my favorite Metroidvanias to see if there are commonalities with the greatest contributions to the sub-genre. Can we draw a line from Shadow Complex to Ori and the Blind Forest to Hollow Knight? And where do the Dark Souls games fit into all of this? Check out the video above as we explore the key ingredients for the best Metroidvanias of all time.