The theme of the games would be irrelevant for the definition. What I mean is the genre name is not descriptive, but historically evolved, it's called that because people chose to use it in order to describe a specific set of gameplay mechanics that played a role in Metroid and SotN. Just like the genre name "adventure game" does not mean a game in which you experience an adventure (to some extent that description would fit most games), but a game in the genre that evolved from titles like ADVENT
and Colossal Cave Adventure
. Modern day adventure games are quite different from them, but they've evolved from those games and are called "adventure game" because they still share an important characteristic with them, which is a focus on the (more or less linear) story(-telling), as opposed to prominently featuring tactical, strategical or action-oriented, skill-based gameplay.
Personally, I think the definition of Adventure game isn't the inclusion of story, but more that it's a game where interactions are more-or-less scripted. In particular, you don't have puzzles that follow a specific rule set (there are puzzles in adventure games, but they're more of the type "use this item to progress", not "push these blocks so that they form squares, which will then disappear"), and there's no combat system in pure adventure games either. As with puzzles, you can have combat in an adventure game (I actually made a topic about that some time ago), but there's no combat system. (The topic even had mention of a game where combat consisted of verbal debates, if I remember correctly; the game involved rabbis IIRC.)
The genres that are defined by a focus on story are visual novels (where story is the focus, with very little gameplay) and kinetic novels (where there's no gameplay at all).
"metroid-like" carries with it the themes I described. Also the "one big location" thing I would call a mechanic or design choice rather than a theme. I guess that's where metroidvania is the most useful.
Counter-examples here (where the game takes place entirely in one mega-dungeon (as I call it), but which would not be metroidvanias:
Etrian Odyssey (and other Wizardry-likes that have just one dungeon)
Of course, going the other way, I could mention
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
(which appears to be a metroidvania, but has separate areas accessible by world map)
personally I'd also consider Walking Simulators a subgenre of adventure games, and maybe even Visual Novels.
What about kinetic novels? (Take a visual novel, remove all the gameplay, and the result is a kinetic novels.) Are those still adventures? (If not, then gameplay does matter for the definition, as the only difference between visual and kinetic novels is the presence or absence of gameplay.)