The Messenger is a 2D action platformer game released first in 2018 by Devolver Digital. The game is set in a fictional world ravaged by the evil Demon King and his minions. The player takes control of a young ninja warrior, the titular Messenger, aiming to take down the Demon King and save the world with help from a sarcastic but often funny shopkeeper, from whom the Messenger gains new equipment and can purchase different upgrades.
The 8bit pixelated world of the game is beautiful. Every level introduces a different setting ranging from bamboo fields to underground caves and mountains up high. Each setting feels completely unique and offers new challenges as the Messenger proceeds to fulfil his destiny and save the world. Where things get really interesting both in terms of graphics and the fantastic storyline, is when the whole plot is flipped upside down and 16bit graphics are introduced to the mix. I won’t get into this too much though as I wouldn’t want to give away any major plot twists.
What makes The Messenger a great experience for me is the amazingly deep storyline. The player is sucked into a world in distress from the very get-go. The absurd comedy and humour filled exchanges with the shopkeeper make the story all the more exciting. Being able to joke about while the world around is burning makes the game great, and I was thoroughly pleased with the well-thought dialogue pieces.
The Messenger is packed with action and combat. The combat mechanics are fun and innovative, and I found the action very pleasing. The way you make your way through stages slashing enemies with your sword and use different pieces of equipment to your advantage feels fluent and is thoroughly enjoyable. The game offers a nice bit of challenge too, while not being overly difficult. Great combat mechanics paired with fun platforming challenges and different gadgets to use while making your way through the games world really make The Messenger one of the most whimsical platformers out there.
In conclusion, The Messenger is a great, action-packed platformer with plenty of fun times to be had. The characters are memorable, and the humorous storyline will definitely keep players in its grasp for the whole duration of the game. Metroidvania-style gameplay offers plenty of exploring in the different stages of the game and adds replay value to the somewhat short story-driven part of the game. I would recommend The Messenger to anyone who likes platformers or Metroidvanias and appreciates retro-feeling graphics and controls.
(The author played the game on Nintendo Switch.)
All pictures are screenshots taken by the author.
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Sabotage Studio
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Release date: 30.08.2018 (Windows, Switch), 19.03.2019 (Playstation 4), 25.06.2020 (Xbox One)
Genres: Action, platformer