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About this game
Content Rating: Everyone10+
As a demon army besieges his village, a young ninja ventures through a cursed world, to deliver a scroll paramount to his clan's survival. Leveraging player expectations as a core design ingredient, The Messenger is first presented as an 8-bit action platformer with a simple story only to turn into an epic time travelling tale, eventually revealing itself as a 16-bit Metroidvania packed with replay value and deadpan humor.
Downloadable Contents (DLC)
Gamer Reviews99 Reviews
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Critic Reviews35 Reviews
While the Metroidvania approach doesn’t play into The Messenger’s strengths as much as the linear stages, it’s far from a deal breaker. Regardless of its mid-game identity crisis, tight controls, excellent platforming, and exciting combat make The Messenger a retro journey worth embarking on.
The tedium of the second half of the game, and the increasing frustration brought on by its level design, checkpoint system and challenging platforming somewhat sour the experience though. Had The Messenger been two separate games, I’d have waxed lyrical about the first while eliciting a “meh” for the second. Put together, it’s a package that some will adore, while others will simply grow tired of.
The Messenger is a prime example of how to study the fundamental rules of a genre that has been replicated a million times before. To then follow these rules, bend them and eventually break them into something of its own calibre of quality is something quite special indeed. In my experience, very few games set with a nostalgic sheen have ever truely captured my childhood quite the same way that The Messenger has. The balance of visuals and sounds drive this feeling further by never seeming like they’re ever overdone or underused.