Roguelite? How about... Metroidvanialite...? Maybe?

I‘m playing that game Carrion, the second best game out of Eastern Europe in 2020. It’s a real 7 out of 10. Fun premise (for those who forgot about it or haven‘t heard of it, the elevator pitch is that it’s a “reverse horror game,” you play as a grotesque killmeat alien very reminiscent John Carpenter's The Thing and traverse through some sort of science facility while hyperviolently stalking humans), great visual and sound design. Some of the control and interactivity designs are odd and end up being a bit finnicky.

What I find most strange about the game is that it seemed to initially set itself up as a Metroidvania. Maybe it's the 2D space and the verticality of it all, but it also has collectable abilities that allow you to interact with new objects and traverse new obstacles. A somewhat winding and looping around level structure at the beginning that capped off with a new ability that expanded what I could manipulate/traverse through made me start to anticipate when the physical space would open up and I'd access some sort of map of some kind...

Weirdly, though, I think I'm a good ways through the game already and the promise of a wider open space with nonlinear progression has just not really been a part of the game at all. The critical path is almost exclusively linear, you never get anything more than maybe 2 forks in the road and you just choose which one to do first (aka Fool's Nonlinearity). With so many of the trappings of the genre convention present, it feels devoid of non-linearity and even siderooms with only minimal secrets (that aren't even hidden particularly well), to the point that the absence feels glaring, as someone who has played and enjoyed their fair share of Metroidvanias. Heck, even _Celeste_ felt less linear than this.

Dunno exactly where I'm going with this, did anyone else play _Carrion_ and feel similarly? It is so weird to put in so many of the building blocks of that style of game but not put in what is arguably the foundation, non-linear progression and exploration.

Maybe what I meant to say was that if a Roguelite is a Roguelike with less aggressive, player-hostile mechanics, it seems like an odd choice to make a game that's like 60% Metroidvania but is mostly linear with very few secrets