DIYgamer.com writes: "What constitutes a Metroidvania? The genre -- sub-genre, really -- was created by both the Metroid and Castlevania games during the early 90's and late 80's, but that doesn't really explain what they are. For us here at DIY, a Metroidvania game is simply a game that consists of an non-linear map, where by the player must gather or accrue items in order to get beyond certain obstacles in the game. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Unfortunately, while the genre is actually fairly well liked by the mainstream gamer -- see Shadow Complex -- there's never been too much development in the area. Even amongst the indie scene, development has still been less than we'd like it to be. That said, however, the ones that are out there are pretty damn good. Which is why we've decided to put together this handy little list of our very favorite indie Metroidvanias:"