Welcome to page two, noble explorer! Let's take a look at some of the best MetroidBrainias on Switch to get you started on your journey.
A quick recap on what makes a MetroidBrainia:
- Progress gated by knowledge, understanding, or finding answers to puzzles
- If you know the ending, you can skip to it from the very beginning
- Few, if any, hard gates related to mechanics
(But I'm making a lot of this up as I go, really, so if you disagree with this definition, let's chat in the comments!)
Best MetroidBrainias on Nintendo Switch
It's not out on the Switch yet, but we know it's coming, so this one counts — and I wanted to have it on this list, because it's one of the best "MetroidBrainias" out there. I won't tell you anything else about it, except that you need to play this incredible space exploration game, like, yesterday.
Return of the Obra Dinn has potentially the widest gulf between the pitch — "insurance claims adjuster examines boat" — and the amount of fun you'll have while playing it. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece of logic puzzles and deduction, and I envy anyone that gets to play this for the first time, since it's not an experience that can be repeated.
The Sinking City is your quintessential detective game. You play as Charles Reed, a private investigator who arrives at the town of Oakmont to investigate the possible cause of his nightmarish visions. The town itself is pretty much open for exploration once you’re done with the opening section, but your progress is dictated by your ability to piece clues together via the brilliantly named ‘Mind Palace’. You take a bunch of seemingly disparate statements or thoughts and combine them together to produce a potential solution. It’s literally a knowledge node puzzle!
Any of the Sherlock games on Switch count as "MetroidBrainias" to an extent, largely thanks to its "Mind Palace" feature. At the end of each case, once you've found all the evidence and spoken to all of the witnesses, you'll be able to go into Sherlock's brain and draw conclusions until you think you've nailed a suspect. However, you can quite easily get it wrong if you've missed some vital information — but that won't stop you from accusing the wrong person.
Inkle are the masters of MetroidBrainias, with three entries on this list, but Heaven's Vault is arguably the best one (or maybe I'm just saying that because it's so perfectly catered to me). You play as an archaeologist with a specialist interest in language, who is uncovering a forgotten civilisation through the fragments of text they left behind. Your translations of each individual word will dictate which new locations you unlock, and your general understanding of what happened to this lost empire... and perhaps even what happens to you.
The Forgotten City is utterly brilliant, and though the Switch version is a Cloud version, it's still a good way to play the game. Time loops, mysteries, murders, and questionable motives abound in this Roman narrative exploration game, and you'll need to find out why everyone keeps being turned into gold statues at the end of the day... before you get turned into one, too.
The second of three Inkle games on this list, Overboard! is a murder mystery with a twist: You're the one doing the murder, and you have to hide it. You'll be given as many chances as you need to get it right, whether that involves seducing the captain, praying to God for help, or just pushing everyone over the side of the boat. No one can accuse you if they're all dead, right?
Although Sam Barlow's brilliant MetroidBrainia, Her Story, isn't on Switch, you can still check out its spiritual successor, Telling Lies, in which you watch the video calls of a group of people with a whole host of secrets to hide from one another. Because all of the calls have already happened, you can't change anything — you can only find out what went on by detangling all of the out-of-sequence narrative threads.
This brilliant adaptation of Steve Jackson's choose-your-own-adventure books was done by (you guessed it) Inkle, and it's coming to Switch this year. It's told in four chapters, and each one has knock-on effects to the next, so it's all about making good decisions and paying attention to the small hints you'll find here and there while exploring. It's really, really good.
But those are just the ones on Switch (or, nearly on Switch) — there are plenty more fantastic ones, and we highly recommend you put your favourite ones in the comments!
Let us know in the comments below what you think of "MetroidBrainia" as a genre/type of game, what you like so much about them, and if you have any other suggestions for the name, please, please tell us.