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Niche Games to Watch in 2021: Platformers and Metroidvanias

Steel Assault

Last time, I highlighted some of the city building and management sims releasing in 2021. If you missed them, you can also find similar articles on strategy games, RPGs, and shooters.

Today, I’ll be focusing on some of the platformers and Metroidvanias coming our way this year. As always, I’ll be taking special care to highlight predominately niche, indie, or middleware games that you might not have heard of yet.

Be they retro-inspired, in fully 3D worlds, combat-focused, or aimed at speedrunning; chances are you’ll find at least a few platformers and Metroidvania that catch your attention.

Here is Niche Gamer’s selection of 20 of the most promising platformer and Metroidvania video games releasing in 2021:


Flynn: Son of Crimson
Developer: Studio Thunderhorse
Publisher: Humble Games
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

Flynn: Son of Crimson

Flynn: Son of Crimson is a 2D action-platformer that follows Flynn, a young orphan looking to uncover the truth of his origins. Use Flynn’s Crimson powers to form weapons and fight monsters.

You can also call upon your large canine companion, Dex, to help you in battle and get around faster. The game also features nonlinear exploration, allowing you to get new powers and upgrades to find secret areas and unlock new regions.

 

Hollow Knight: Silksong
Developer: Team Cherry
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: TBA 2021

Hollow Knight: Silksong

Another upcoming 2D Metroidvania is Hollow Knight: Silksong, the highly anticipated sequel to the indie hit from 2017. Explore a massive new kingdom as Hornet, the princess-protector of Hallownest, who comes with a whole new arsenal of acrobatic moves and abilities. Face off against over 150 new enemies and bosses, and put your skills to the test in the Silk Soul mode.

 

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Developer: Team Reptile
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is a love letter to Jet Set Radio by the developers of the Lethal League games. Explore a colorful, futuristic metropolis as you perform tricks, tag your territory, and escape from the cops. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk‘s Jet Set Radio inspirations extend not just to its aesthetics and gameplay, but also its soundtrack, which is composed by Hideki Naganuma.

 

Demon Turf
Developer: Fabraz
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

Demon Turf

Demon Turf is the latest game from the developers of the Slime-san series, and it’s their first attempt at a 3D platformer. Guide Beebz on her quest to overthrow the Demon King to become the new ruler of the underworld. Maneuver and fight using physics-based mechanics, and revisit old areas to see how your influence has changed them as you progress through the campaign.

 

Recompile
Developer: Phigames
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox One X
Release Date: TBA 2021  

Recompile

Recompile is a 3D Metroidvania where you control a semi-sapient program, seeking to gain full sentience in a computer-inspired world called the Mainframe. Hack enemies and environmental features to gain an edge in combat and solve puzzles. Choose to help or fight the citizens of the Mainframe, as you try to escape deletion and obtain your goal.

 

Tower Princess
Developer: AweKteaM
Publisher: HypeTrain Digital
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: March 2021

Tower Princess

Tower Princess is a 3D puzzle-platformer with roguelite elements where you play as a knight trying to rescue princesses imprisoned in vast, procedurally generated tower-dungeons. Ascend the tower to rescue the princess, then win her heart by combining both of your abilities to solve puzzles, fight enemies, and escape the tower.

 

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch
Developer: TiGames
Publisher: bilibili
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Release Date: Spring 2021  

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is a 3D Metroidvania brawler where you control Rayton, a rabbit with a giant mechanical fist, as he works to liberate Torch City from the rule of the Machine Legion. Explore Torch City, solve puzzles, and fight legions of enemies with your mechanical fist, drill, and whip.

 

ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights
Developers: Live Wire, Adglobe
Publisher: Binary Haze Interactive
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights

ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights is a 2D action-platformer with RPG elements set in the dark Kingdom of End following its fall to malignant powers. The pure maiden Lilly is trapped in this hopeless world of corruption, and must find a way out by teaming up with fallen allies, amassing an arsenal of mystical skills and artifacts, and banishing the foul creatures that now rule this once-majestic kingdom.

 

The Darkest Tales
Developer: Trinity Team
Publisher: 101XP
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

The Darkest Tales

The Darkest Tales is a 2D action-platformer where you control a brave teddy bear that must dive into nightmare worlds to rescue his owner, a young girl named Alicia. Explore twisted versions of familiar fairy tales, fight enemies using a pair of swords crafted from scissors, and swing through levels using threaded needle grappling hooks.

 

Gravity Circuit
Developer: Domesticated Ants
Publisher: Plug In Digital
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Gravity Circuit

Gravity Circuit is a 2D platformer inspired by classics from the past. Fight against the evil Virus Army as the sole survivor of the once great Guardian Corps in a mechanical world ruled by sentient robots. Rescue trapped civilians to unlock new abilities as you topple the Virus Army’s generals one by one. Gravity Circuit also comes with a level editor.

 

Smelter
Developer: X Plus
Publisher: Dangen Entertainment
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Q1 2021

Smelter

Smelter is a mixture of 2D action-platformer and strategy game. As Eve, you must team up with a mysterious winged creature named Smelter to find Adam on your journey across the harsh Rumbly Lands. Explore levels and fight enemies in 2D action-platformer segments, then build up Smelter’s territory and army in a strategic overhead mode to upgrade your skills and abilities.

 

Steel Assault
Developer: Zenovia
Publisher: Tribute Games
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Steel Assault

Steel Assault is a retro-inspired action-platformer where you play as Taro Takahashi, a resistance fighter trying to overthrow the evil dictator that rules a post-apocalyptic America. Use your whip to both lash out at enemies, and create ziplines that can be used to climb or traverse gaps.

 

Cyber Shadow
Developer: Aarne “MekaSkull” Hunziker
Publisher: Yacht Club Games
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: January 26th, 2021

Cyber Shadow

Another retro-inspired platformer coming this year is Cyber Shadow. Take on the role of a ninja assassin in a dark future, where the world has been taken over by robotic lifeforms. Rescue members of your clan to unlock new ninjutsu skills and weapons, so you can defeat Dr. Progen’s ruthless synthetic army.

 

Bushiden
Developer: Pixel Art Studios
Publisher: Humble Games
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Release Date: TBA 2021

Bushiden

Continuing the theme of ninjas fighting cybernetic armies is Bushiden; a love letter to the classic Ninja Gaiden games. Find your missing sister and defeat the evil Goah and his army of cyborgs. Defeat bosses to unlock new combat and traversal abilities, and purchase powerful screen-clearing Chi attacks.

 

SteamDolls – Order Of Chaos
Developer: The Shady Gentlemen
Publisher: Top Hat Studios
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One  
Release Date: TBA 2021   

SteamDolls - Order Of Chaos

SteamDolls – Order Of Chaos is a Metroidvania where you play as an assassin in a gritty steampunk world. Slice everyone to pieces on the way to your objective, or take a more stealthy and surgical approach as you assassinate key targets to reveal a grand conspiracy by the world’s leadership.

 

Ghost Song
Developer: Old Moon
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Ghost Song

Ghost Song is a Metroidvania that places an emphasis on isolation and mystery. Explore the haunting and lonely world of Lorian V, after awakening from a long slumber. Delve into the planet’s vast network of underground caves in search of the truth, and face off against powerful and terrifying foes.

 

Acid Knife
Developer: Powerhoof
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Acid Knife

Acid Knife is a more slower paced action-platformer, set in a dark psychedelic void. Your actions and abilities are based around whatever items you currently have equipped, and can be knocked out of your grasp if you aren’t careful. This gives the game’s combat a more improvised feel, as you resort to using whatever is on-hand.

 

Kaze and the Wild Masks
Developer: PixelHive
Publisher: SOEDESCO
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Q1 2021

Kaze and the Wild Masks

Kaze and the Wild Masks is a colorful 2D platformer inspired by classics from the ’90s. The Crystal Islands have fallen under a mysterious curse, turning all vegetables into enraged monsters. Save your home as the rabbit Kaze, utilizing the powers of four different animal masks to gain access to unique powers and abilities.

 

Olija
Developers: Skeleton Crew Studio, Thomas Olsson
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: January 28th, 2021

Olija

Olija is a 2D action-platformer where you play as Faraday, a sailor shipwrecked in the strange land of Terraphage. Use your legendary harpoon to fend off enemies, solve puzzles, and navigate levels. Meet other castaways from faraway lands and devise a plan to return home.

 

Gestalt: Steam & Cinder
Developer: Metamorphosis Games     
Publisher: Sold Out
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

Gestalt: Steam & Cinder

Finally, we come to Gestalt: Steam & Cinder, a 2D Metroidvania set in the ancient steam-powered city of Canaan. Explore Canaan’s forgotten depths as Aletheia, and uncover a devious conspiracy by the city’s corrupt overlords. Battle steampunk automata with blades and bullets, and expand Aletheia’s combat options by leveling up your skills and acquiring new abilities.


That’s all for our latest batch of articles highlighting some of the promising games coming our way in 2021. Next time, we’ll be taking a look at some of the roguelikes and roguelites releasing this year.

Until then, which of these games are you looking forward to? Are there any other platformers and Metroidvanias you are excited for in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

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Frank Streva

About

Niche Gamer’s resident indie expert. Digs through the Steam new releases so you don’t have to. Massive fan of miniature and board games as well.