3 out of 5. A fun (and free) 15-minute parody of the Metroidvania map system that is well worth taking the time to play.
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How Metroidvania is it? Medium Fit. It's more of a puzzle game than a Metroidvania, but it does well parodying and capturing Metroidvania tropes
Primary Challenge: Exploration Focus
Time to beat: ~1 hours
Review Info: Maptroid was played on Kongregate.com

More Info

Developer: lozzajp
Publisher: Kongregate
Sub-genre: Misc Metroidvania
Features: Map System, No Combat, No Jumping, Collectathon, Family Friendly
Difficulty: Low
Linearity/Openness: High Gating - No Handholding
Platforms: Windows, PC Freeware, Linux, MacOS
Release Date: 2020/05/18
Available Languages: English

Store Links
Note: This game takes only about 15 minutes to beat. It's free on Kongregate.com (Weblink below)

    Website Link    

Buy Maptroid if you like…

  • Cute Experimental Games
  • Exploring the basics of a genre's tropes
  • Parodies
  • Short Games
  • Casual Games

▼ Review continues below ▼

Maptroid is a game that asks “What if we took a Metroidvania and skipped all that 2D platforming stuff?” In this game, you move around the game only interacting with simple text boxes describing what you’ve found. It’s like you’re a guide maker or an observation-only cartographer noting only the details as someone else does all the hard parts for you. The best thing about it is that Maptroid manages to make this concept completely engaging, and it’s a really fun way for Metroidvania fans to burn 15-20 minutes.

You start out the game using only the arrow keys on your keyboard, with the significant restriction of not being able to move up. That’s right, even though you’re only moving one square at a time through your map, Maptroid still has ability gating. You’ll come across suspicious walls or passages with new colors that you can’t yet pass through, and you’ll need to take note of where those obstacles are so you can return to them as you get more powerful. If it sounds like I just described every Metroidvana ever, then that’s sort of the point. Maptroid is like a visual essay on how Metroivania level design works.

Maptroid even has world building details hidden within it. You’ll find notes that describe the disasters that have befallen the world, journals of other travelers that came before you, and even some that give you hints on where you can find the next progression point. I think my favorite touch is the smallish screen in the top right that gives you an idea of what the area around you might look like if Maptroid was a more traditional platformer.

I think it stands as a testament to how effective Metroidvania tropes are that you can distill them down to their most literal elements and still create a fun and engaging experience from it. I really enjoyed this little experiment, and I feel that the developer has done an excellent job reminding us of something we all knew subconsciously. But don’t take my word for it, the game is free and only costs you around a quarter of an hour in time for a full 100% playthrough. I normally try to write these reviews including as many relevant details as I can without spoiling anything, and I’ve definitely more than hit my limit here, especially since writing more might mean you’ve spent more time reading this review when you could have just been playing the game. I’ve included an extra link below to where you can play it for yourself – so have at it!

https://www.kongregate.com/games/lozzajp/maptroid


Final Score

3/5

Scoring system overview


Metroidvania Breakdown

Combat
– 2

There is no combat

Platforming
– 3

There is no platforming

Exploration
– 3.5

This game is all exploration, and it's a fun casual stroll through some of the more common Metroidvania gating tropes

Puzzle
– 3

Figuring out what to do is fairly simple, but fun!

Story
– 3

Both the minimum and maximum of what a game like this needs.

Graphics
– 3.5

It's basically one step above being an Ascii game, but the little screens showing what the ''outside world'' looks like is a nice touch.

Music
– 2

There is no sound

Replayability
– 3

You can try and beat your old time or collect 100%, and it wouldn't take you too much time to do it.