A picture of four animal statues from Animal Well.
Screenshot via Bigmode.

The 10 Best Games Like Animal Well

Here are some of the best puzzle metroidvanias like Animal Well.

Animal Well is a recent Metroidvania, a genre built on exploration and backtracking that features little to no combat and plenty of puzzles. But what players seem to have liked the most is the post-game, which challenges the players’ every assumption about the game world, their abilities, and the protagonist. Finding games like this is rare, so here are the 10 best games like Animal Well.

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The Best Games Similar to Animal Well


Turrets shooting the protagonist fox from Tunic.
Screenshot via Finji

Tunic is a wonderful game, simple on the surface but full of inscrutable deeper layers. The joy of discovering Tunic’s secrets is unlike anything else. And unlike Animal Well, with its intricate post-game puzzles, Tunic is like this from the very beginning. Learning to use the map effectively means stumbling over secrets that are only resolved hours later. Finding a new item is only the first step to uncovering its secret, but much more important, ability.

Of course, Tunic also has a lively post-game. It arguably has more than one: first in the search for the second ending and then as the solution to the ARG-lite final puzzle. And then there is the secret language, the other secret language, and other exciting secrets that are better left unsaid for now. A word of advice: some puzzles are pretty hard for a single person to complete.

Environmental Station Alpha

A picture of Environmental Station Alpha in a mushroom environment.
Screenshot via Hempuli Oy

Environmental Station Alpha might have been the closest game to Animal Well in this list if it wasn’t for the focus on combat. Still, the amount of secrets and late-game reveal is sure to feel familiar to Animal Well veterans. Unlike this newer title, the post-game of Environmental Station Alpha can be off-putting to some players. It’s hard, sure, but so is Animal Well. The difference is that much of the progression is hidden behind puzzles instead of exploration.


Fighting two fire-breathing snakes in La-Mulana.
Screenshot via PLAYISM

La-Mulana is one of the hardest puzzle games ever made. It certainly has some of the hardest puzzles in any Metroidvania. But that’s not what makes this game worthy to be on this list. Rather, La-Mulana is one of the most beloved puzzle-based Metroidvanias, which makes it a must-play for any fan of Animal Well. Before getting started, know that you’ll almost certainly need to use a guide and that beating this game in any form requires a lot of patience.


A screenshot showing the protagonist of Fez below a floating golden cube.
Screenshot via Trapdoor

Fez is one of the original ARG-lite games, puzzlers with a post-game so complex they pretty much require a whole community to complete. But Fez holds plenty of surprises for individual players too. It’s the only game I can think of that teaches you its in-game language without requiring a whole community or being built around this one puzzle only.

Fez is challenging and fun, but it’s also an important piece of video game history. The fixation of certain indie games with intricate post-game mysteries will make a lot more sense once you play Fez.

Toki Tori 2

Exploring a desert area in Toki Tori 2
Screenshot via Two Tribes

Toki Tori 2 might not look like it, but in many ways, it’s the closest game an Animal Well fan might hope for. For one, both games are Metroidvania with little to no combat and a lot of puzzles. They both feature lots of secrets, too, even if Toki Tori 2’s post-game isn’t quite as long.

The main difference that sets Toki Tori 2 apart from most other games is the lack of real upgrades. The bird protagonist of Toki Tori 2 doesn’t get better movement tools, a magical flute, or a fancier sword. In this game, the only improvement necessary is your knowledge of the world.

Anodyne and Anodyne 2

Climbing a giant tower in Anodyne
Screenshot via Analgesic Productions

Anodyne is a top-down 2D action-exploration game clearly inspired by older The Legend of Zelda titles, most noticeably A Link to the Past. Anodyne 2 often plays like that, too, while featuring an overworld in the style of early 3D titles. Both games see the player travel through weird and uncanny worlds, which often represent the dreams of a variety of creatures. Both games are a bit more story-based than Animal Well, but they have a similar variety of secret post-game puzzles.


A room containing two cubes in Antichamber lit in three colors: yellow, green, and red.
Screenshot via Demruth

Antichamber is a classic among indie puzzle games, but one that has since been forgotten by most. Almost every puzzle in Antichamber is based on impossible rooms — how perspective alters the physical space in impossible ways. Mastering this game means learning how to use this impossible reality to your advantage. And obviously, both games have no combat and are based on exploration.

Unlike a lot of similar games, Antichamber ties progression to actual items. Weirdly enough, this makes it a bit of a Metroidvania, too. That said, the twist that made it a classic is the one that turned Animal Well into a success. Your tools are not as limited as they look. Figuring out the full extent of your moveset is the real puzzle.

Outer Wilds

Translating a drawing into English in Outer Wilds. The message says: What is happening when this moon disappears? Does it move to another location?
Screenshot via Annapurna Interactive

Outer Wilds might not be the game you expected to find on this list. But while it isn’t a Metroidvania nor a platformer, its puzzles are not too different from Animal Well. Both games rely on understanding the rules of a consistent world. Both are non-violent exploration puzzle games. And while Outer Wilds, of course, doesn’t have persistent upgrades, something that characterizes most Metroidvanias, it does have persistent knowledge, both in the form of player abilities and as an in-game codex that doesn’t reset.

Batbarian: Testament of the Primordials

Fighting a demon in a room with two floors in Batbarian: Testament of the Primordials
Screenshot via DANGEN Entertainment

Batbarian: Testament of the Primordials is often referred to as La-Mulana light, but that description kind of undersells the game itself. La-Mulana is certainly a major influence (as it is for any puzzle Metroidvanias), but Batbarian shakes up the formula a fair bit. Puzzles are still the focus of the game, but the story, exploration, and combat often are just as important. The game itself is a whole lot easier, too, with many customizable accessibility options.


Using the scanner in Emuurom
Screenshot via borbware

Technically, Emuurom hasn’t been fully released yet. Its release date has been pushed further and further away, but the demo is just as solid as it always was. That said, it does have a very generous demo that ends on a satisfying note and a sense of discovery reminiscent of Animal Well. In this retro Metroidvania, the player takes the role of Marie, the guardian of a virtual world. Knowledge is your best weapon in Emuurom. Armed only with a scanner and the ability to jump, you must gather the information necessary to prevent a cataclysm and save this digital haven of legendary creatures.

Just like in Animal Well, completing the game means learning the intricacies of this ecosystem first. Some animals are activated by the scanner’s light. A dangerous beast might fear a certain color or retreat when it’s raining. The scanner is what lets you manipulate the world, but it’s also what delivers the world’s story. It worked in Metroid Prime, and it works here, too.

Those are all our suggestions for games like Animal Well. For more content about the game, check out our Animal Well content hub.

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Diana Croce
Diana is a freelance Gaming Writer for GameSkinny and loves all kinds of stories, even though she’s too lazy for most things that aren’t games. She likes writing about the smaller, unique indie games that slip through the cracks, and she's been doing so since 2022.