A look back at 2020 and a listing of what we plan on reviewing and streaming this upcoming month of January!

On the Friday immediately preceding the first Monday of each month when we would normally post our first review, we report on what we are doing to achieve our goal to review every Metroidvania game. This announcement includes our schedule of reviews and articles for the upcoming month, as well as any planned site adjustments or other important announcements.

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Support Us on Patreon!
We very much appreciate our Patreon Support as it helps keep this site running. If you’re interested in supporting us through this service check out our Patreon page here.

Every third Monday is our Patreon review, where our Patreons nominate a review of their choice. This month’s choice is The Aquatic Adventures of the Last Human.

A Look Back on 2020

The Metroidvania Review website debuted last January, and we are quite pleased with how it has grown so far. We haven’t been able to implement every feature we’ve wanted to – such as a searchable Metroidvania database for the games we haven’t reviewed – but we were able to realize other unplanned features instead. For instance, we hadn’t initially planned on doing YouTube reviews this year, but those are now well underway for monthly updates with hopefully more frequency becoming possible at some point in 2021.

For written reviews we were able to look at 55 games, including updates to two existing reviews to consider their latest versions. This isn’t a small accomplishment considering we currently have one reviewer, but thanks to a wave of releases and announcements we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Throughout 2020, we estimate 65-70 new Metroidvania games were released in total, depending on what you count as part of the genre and whether we missed any. Without counting titles individually there may have been more than 100 games announced, either through kickstarter or just appearing as a Steam page with little fanfare. There were some weeks where we reported five or six new steam pages, and we generally have been able to report something new every week. The Metroidvania Renaissance is most certainly here to stay for a while.

Our biggest challenges for us were of course related the same global trials that had affected everyone in 2020. We would like to sincerely thank everyone for their well-wishes, support, and encouragement.

What is planned for 2021?

Given that the number of releases in 2020 was larger than the 52 weeks our Monday releases could normally accommodate, we certainly have a lot of backlog to address.

One other thing we did in 2020 was review the missing classic Metroid games that we had not reviewed yet given our origins as a Steam Curator. Now that those are done, we considered doing another “theme” for this year so that we could plan out 12 more guaranteed reviews. While thinking about what this theme should be I did a light survey over on our Discord. Something we’ve been seriously considering is slightly expanding the genres we would be covering on the site, and the “theme” would have been done with that expansion in mind. The two genres we’re thinking about adding are “Zelda-like” and “Souls-like”, since there’s a lot of crossover there anyway. Almost unanimously we were told that forcing 12 reviews for either of these genres would be a bad idea at this point – and after the discussion I think we agree. As a result there will be no “Theme” for this year, and because of that we won’t have a year-long calendar this year like we did in 2020. Thanks to the sudden nature of release dates in the game industry, it proved impossible to plan anything out that far anyway.

Therefore besides continuing to work toward creating that Metroidvania database and continuing what we started last year, our main focus this year will be to reduce the size of our requests list. The living requests list resides over in our Discord under #review_requests if you’re interested in seeing how that list develops over the course of the year (it is pinned to that channel). Otherwise I have listed all of our current requests in alphabetical order below:

We also have requests to look at the following games once they’re released:

We prioritize reader review requests based on three factors. The number of people requesting the same game improves the odds that it will be reviewed sooner than later. We also like to try and review games as close to the release date as possible, although that isn’t always possible. Lastly, the length of the game is often considered, with longer games unfortunately putting a heavier burden on our schedule and therefore are trickier to fit in. When a developer provides us a key, it also gets a high priority, and the highest priority of all goes to our Patreon pick, which will never be bumped further down the schedule.

If you would like to make a request, please check out our Discord or Contact Us.

2021 has huge potential for being a great year, and I hope that pleasant surprises will outnumber the challenges. Thank you again for your continued support.

Monthly Game Spotlight: Ato

The monthly game spotlight for January is Ato. Just like its silent presentation, this game released quietly back in spring last year. Its wordless presentation still manages to pull some emotional heartstrings, but most importantly its fast exploration and frenetic combat makes it a joy to complete. It’s not a particularly long game unless you like really pushing yourself with the challenges its other difficulty modes provides, but if you’re looking for a pure Metroidvania experience with some unique combat mechanics, don’t miss this one.

Check out our full review here!

Monthly YouTube Review: BatBarian: Testament of the Primordials

On Friday the 22th of January, we will be posting a video review for BatBarian. We have updated the site so that any pinned review that also has a Video Review will say as such on our front page, so you don’t have to miss when a new review comes out if you aren’t already subscribed to our YouTube Channel.

January Review and Article Schedule

Disclaimer – While we work very hard to keep our schedule exactly as we’ve announced it, technical difficulties or surprise high priority review requests can require us to adjust the schedule accordingly. We will post an announcement any time this happens.

Below are the games we plan on looking at this month.

Caslevania The Lecarde Chronicles 2 – January 4
To my surprise, Lecarde Chronicles 2 isn’t just an Igavania clone. Instead it’s a direct evolution of the Classicvania experience the first game provided. The first third of the game or so is actually fairly linear, but it most certainly becomes wholly Metroidvania at the end. If you’re a fan of both types of Castlevania games, and are among those that lament the loss of the classic style when Symphony of the Night came out, this game finally brings us a fine hybrid between the two.

AeternoBlade January 11
AeternoBlade is a very special request, but also one I’ve been interested in ever since it hit the Steam store. It’s another Time-Manipulation game, and in spite of what the Metacritic scores would suggest, it’s actually a surprisingly good game. The pacing is maybe too slow, especially compared to its competitors, but from what we’ve played so far there’s a lot of creativity with the Time-Manipulation powers, which may make up for its more repetitive combat.

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human – January 18
Our Patreons are helping us to fill out our underwater/flying Metroidvania games. The ocean is indeed an intriguing place to write stories for, as the deep has often been representative of the unknown in our media. I don’t know much more about this one other than what the Store description provides, but it looks like it may be as much of an exploration of existentialism as it will be an adventure.

Eternal Return – January 25
This request was actually supposed to be reviewed last month, since I made a personal promise to do it. I may not be able to keep that promise at this point, but hopefully late is better than never. This $5 Steam title promises “merciless gameplay” and I’ve been told to expect some brilliant ideas, even if they’re not necessarily completely fleshed out.

The Metroidvania Review Twitch Schedule

We are broadcasting on Twitch once a week for 60-90 minutes at 8:00 AM PST every Saturday, and every Wednesday at 6:00PM PST with r/metroidvania starring Cauldrath and Master. Tune in live if you want to ask us questions. You can also view the Archive from our Twitch page or our YouTube Let’s Play channel.

Every Wednesday we rotate who is in charge of playing the game and we come up with topics to discuss along the way. For Saturday we’re continuing on with Blasphemous, where we will be moving into the DLC content.

The Metroidvania Review on Twitch

The Metroidvania Review Let’s Play YouTube Channel

Below is our Stream schedule for December:
January 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 – Blasphemous Until it’s complete! – Then it’s onto a surprise short game and Metroid Zero Mission!

January 6 – r/metroidvania Podcast – Game Night Multiplayer Game

January 13 – r/metroidvania Podcast – Professor Q’s pick (Gleamlight – Blind Playthrough!)

January 20 – r/metroidvania Podcast – Cauldrath’s pick

January 27 – r/metroidvania Podcast – Master’s pick