Shooter with a looter


This name is a portmanteau of two popular games that debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System in the mid-1980s, Metroid and Castlevania, and is typically used to describe 2D games in which the world can be explored in all directions (as opposed to classic platform games, in which you go from left to right). Players must mentally map their progress and backtrack when required because there are frequently secret chambers and sections that can only be accessed once you’ve found some key or object later on. A decent metroidvania world is like a storey in this regard, with tension, foreshadowing, plants, payoffs, and unexpected reveals built right in.


A subgenre inspired by the seminal Japanese dark fantasy game Dark Souls (and its predecessor Demon’s Souls). In essence, this is a role-playing action adventure with difficult fighting, hostile locations, immense danger, and few checkpoints to track your progress. In most souls-like games, killing opponents earns you currency that you can spend to level up your character — this currency is lost if the player character is killed, but it can be retrieved if you return to collect your body. Isn’t that completely clear? There are numerous debates on the internet over what makes a soulslike, and they, like the games themselves, can quickly become muddled and tiresome.

Crawler of dungeons

A role-playing game that eschews storey and character customization in favour of fast-paced exploration and fighting, as well as amassing an unlimited supply of dazzling items. Running through labyrinthine enclosed environments, defeating creatures, collecting up objects and money, solving puzzles, and unlocking doors are all part of dungeon crawlers. Gauntlet and Diablo, for example, allow you to perform all of this with your pals. Game developers adore them: “The genre allows you to set your game effectively anywhere and focus on gameplay and system exploration,” explains Dave Crooks of Dodge Roll Games, the great Enter the Gungeon designer.

“Dungeon crawlers, on the other hand, are frequently placed in tight locations and created with modular elements; you don’t require internet multiplayer, an expert physics coder, or even know how to write dialogue.” The most crucial aspects are that the user is compelled to keep crawling, that they are rewarded, and that the gaming loop is engaging.”