The word 'Metroidvania' has become synonymous with disappointment and cynicism for me over the past few years. Every game with such a label either plays nothing like the side-scrolling action titles with an emphasis on exploration that I fell in love with as a child, or cannot live up to the quality of their peers in the genre. You can argue it's more down to my excessive reverence of Super Metroid and every 2D Castlevania game post-Symphony of the Night, and you're probably right, but any self proclaimed Metroidvania will be held up to my extremely high standards. That's why I'm beyond excited for the upcoming Into The Rift - with some of the best pixel art graphics I've seen in years, coupled with game mechanics that look like they've attempted to work on and improve the excellent formula of Metroidvania titles, there is a lot of promise that my expectations can be met.

into the rift 1

While there has not been too much announced so far, and the game is only in a very early stage, the developer has shared some stunning animated gifs of combat, exploration and movement on our forums. Showing numerous different environments from a desert to a castle and even a forest, it appears that Into The Rift will have a significant degree of variation, rather than falling into the trap of one generic castle that blurs into one. Furthermore, what appears to be relatively clever enemy AI that pursues your character looks quite exciting, and includes an element of urgency that is occasionally lost in the sprawling environments of other Metroidvania titles.

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Obviously, it is far too early to make too many assumptions from a handful of brief animations - hopefully Into The Rift has an element of puzzle solving to change up the pace, rather than a sole emphasis on combat and platforming action - but it certainly is a great start to begin fanning the flames of excitement amongst the iOS community. From its Facebook page - which is full of even more animated gifs to fixate over - the game seems to have been in development since April of last year, so hopefully we see some more solid details, or even concrete footage, sooner rather than later. To stay fully up to date with any development updates for Into The Rift, be sure to check out our forum thread for further details.

  • mr_bez

    The term Metroid-vania has so much baggage. The genre needs a real name.

    Imagine if every platformer was called a "Mario-like". And think how much you groan every time you hear a developer describe their new game as Mario-like.

    • NaeemTHM

      Believe it or not for like a decade most first person shooters were called "Doom clones" because ID straight up defined the genre with Wolfenstein and Doom. It's not surprising that we still call all side scrolling exploration games Metroid since that game defined THAT genre.

      Speaking of which, I LOVE Symphony of the Night, but why is the Castlevania series attached to the Metroid lineage? That has always confused me. We call these games "Metroidvania"'s all just straight up Metroid. Castlevania adopted Nintendo's formula YEARS after Metroid. And only a handful of games from that series even used it!

      • Rob Funnell

        Super Metroid was released in 1994, and SOTN in 1997, so while you're definitely right, it was these to games that really popularised the genre, and both happened to be completely ground breaking and phenomenal games (which hold up incredibly well today). I don't know about the immediate origins of the word, but I think it's become popularised because it's better than comparing it to a specific game or series, which makes it seem a little unoriginal. But really I have no idea haha

      • Aaron Sullivan

        Metroid, though, was 1986. Yes Super Metroid was the mainstream success that popularized it. SOTN brought it to the Playstation crowd a group that had plenty that didn't have Nintendo growing up I guess. So someone felt they had to combine them and it caught on? Castlevania 2 _did_ have some exploration elements.

      • Tallgeese

        Castlevania and Metroid both came out in 1986. Metroid is scifi and Castlevania fantasy, both utilize large maps, ability-unlocks, and backtracking so anything evocative of either fits within the Castleoid...scope (although I must agree, most I've seen recently (sadly long since any of the phenomenal DS Castlevanias) seem to have clung to the name strictly for marketing reasons (they're my favorite kind of game but also probably super hard to make (especially when they throw in the hundred hand drawn creatures, thankfully IGA's kickstarter game Bloodstained looks to do that someday). Wolfenstein came out before Doom, but Doom I think had a bigger media impact, and it's faster to same "Doom clone" than "Wolfenstein." So much of the world is marketing.

      • boydstr

        I remember the moment where you fight in the clock tower level where you at the right time the floor beneath you opens and you step in a gage type of lift to fight a sort of ghost and the game finished,but when you had the two rings blue and red equipped you see the real enemy above the ghost's head and when you kill him you see a cutscene where the castle turns upside down and you could play the game again with tougher enemies end a different layout had such great memories of SOTN great stuff.

      • Tallgeese

        Haha and then you realize the completion rate goes up to 200%, that's cool though I'll have to youtube that fight though, thanks!
        The Nintendo DS games do that too with multiple endings: bad if you lose the fake final boss fight, good if you win, and then with the right equipments/souls you get to unlock an extra section of the game and fight the real final boss for the excellent ending. There is a real cryptic reference to what you're supposed to equip to get through further sections, which harkens back to the days of the original Nintendy Castlevania games that required you to speak to a villager and then kneel at some point facing a wall and a tornado will take you away (CVii: Simon's Quest), or more likely buy a Nintendo Power or back then have a friend that told you how to beat the game (in DS's Aria it was the souls and armor that gave you the abilities of Dracula (panther's speed, succubi's bite, and I can't remember which armor I'll have to look it up something fluffy I think, the Angry Video Game Nerd has a great video about the OG Castlevanias if I recall correctly).
        Ya I love that kind of innovation in gaming too (probably why so many live SOTN), and I was happy they continued it in the DS line-up (I also had ideas for my own, who doesn't!?!), and it's been a while since Order of Ecclesia but hopefully they'll keep it up! Even Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid is a fan of Castlevania (and would comment on it in-game if you had a memory card with a Castlevania save, well he would say something like, 'looks like someone's a Castlevania fan'), and I always liked the innovation of having to switch what port your controller was in to keep him from reading your character's mind and thereby dodging your bullets! These cool game moments make such a great story too!

      • boydstr

        Yeah great the part where Psyo Mantis "read your mind" and told you about games you recently played and I thought how is that possible????later on I found out they did that to read data from your memory card if you had Konami saves on them but sure a memorable moment the PlayStation was a huge leap forward in comparison what the SNES could do.

    • Rob Funnell

      I see where you're coming from, and I agree that the term has an awful lot of baggage - it leads to fanboys like me making immediate assumptions of any game that has that label. However, at least at the time, it was a pretty fundamental description of a certain type of game. It's a lot less wordy than 'side scrolling non-linear action title with a massive map and progression through upgrades' or whatever, while comparing a game to Mario doesn't mean much more than platforming action.

      Maybe a less loaded word than 'Metroidvania' would be better, but it's stuck now so we're going to have to live with it unfortunately.

  • HelperMonkey

    Too good.

  • skylined87

    Wow, definitely watch listed!

  • tex42

    I think shadow complex is the last metroidvania I've really enjoyed. We need a new one of those.

    • kevin888

      Head lander

      • paintsplatterz

        Haven't played it yet but I did think of Shadow Complex when I saw Headlander footage.

    • Luciano1084

      Head lander looks dope, just beat axiom verge recently.. Such an awesome game

      • skylined87

        I'm still trying to get through that on my Vita. Amazing and tough game...

  • Fade to Slack

    The animation resembles the old Prince of Persia rotoscoping, which doesn't work for me when your character looks like he's using wires.

    I could do without the parkour, too. It's quickly becoming the new steampunk, where a developer adds it because nerds think it's cool.

  • Tallgeese

    Looks like an pixel-ly (8-bit?) parkour simulator to me...

    • Tallgeese

      It looks cools at any rate, just not sure how it would play...

      • WestonPDX

        We're looking forward to getting builds out to people. We want to hammer on the game-feel until it's buttery smooth.

  • torosama

    That looks similar to say sonic the hedgehog or a side scrolling endless runner. I hate games like that because I like to explore and find all the secrets and nooks and crannies. Games like this where everything is blazing by makes me feel like I'm missing something and the completionist in me freaks out and it stresses me out I could be missing something lol. Yes I'm cray.

    • Tallgeese

      Yeah I get that too. Fallout 4 right now might as well be "Trash Hoarder and Wiki Checker 4 with some Fun Shooty and Story Bits for me." And that's not even a Sonic speed game...

      • Tallgeese

        Cray Fo' Lyfe! Squiggly light bulbs!

    • WestonPDX

      That one GIF gives the wrong impression. The game is a 'nooks and crannies' game for sure. But there are bits of action to spice it up. You'll run from a squad of footmen, then stop and continue to search for the quest items on your list etc.

      I never liked Sonic/endless runner games either. Into the Rift is inspired by Zelda, Metroid and the back-tracking Castlevanias.

      • Tallgeese

        Well that all sounds like fun! Please keep up the great work!

  • Supaflyindie

    i remember seeing this game posted in an indie dev forum on facebook, everyone was mesmerized how the gif was looped to perfection! definitely getting a prince of persia vibe from it, looks awesome

  • Septim

    Looks like an endless runner but it's too early tell. The term Metroidvania is used way too loosely these days. There ARE true and great Metroidvania games out there and on the horizon (Chasm, Bloodstained), but it's used way too much, even saw it used for a first person game here.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      Morphite, right? The game that's patterned after Metroid Prime? That does bring up an interesting point - is Metroid Prime a Metroidvania? Personally, I hate the term. But nobody has coined anything better yet. Non-linear action game? Lock-and-key platformer?

      • Septim

        Looking at Morphite, yes it was that one dubbed a Metroidvania. Metroid Prime is considered a first person action adventure game, bordering first person shooter. The defining aspects of a Metroidvania are that its a platformer, is inspired by both the 1986 Metroid title and first Castlevania titles, has exploration and a large map with connecting rooms/segments, and portals/keys to advance to new areas. Some may consider Metroid Prime a Metroidvania and that's fine since it carries many of those aspects and the term does not have a specific rule set. It's just that when many people see Metroidvania, myself included, they vision a certain look and type of game inspired by both of the games the moniker derives from. Perhaps a safer word to pinpoint the genre would be to call it an Igavania. Morphite being more like Metroid Prime seems to me like a Metroid-like (an all encompassing term) or first person action adventure like Metroid Prime is considered. Well damn, I'm a rambling man. Who knew it was so thought provoking and fun to discuss unofficial but beloved video game genres.

  • boydstr

    Shouldn't surprise me if the dev has been inspired by "Prince of Persia" this looks so great nice graphics and beautiful animations a real gem I hope it is a "paid once"game can't wait to play this.