08th Aug2018

‘The Messenger’ Preview (PC)

by Britt Roberts


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. What begins as a classic action platformer soon unravels into an expansive time-traveling adventure full of thrills, surprises, and humor.


  • Dynamic, acrobatic gameplay and ultra tight controls worthy of an epic ninja adventure.
  • Character upgrades, new abilities, hidden levels, and branching paths to discover.
  • Meticulously designed 8-bit and 16-bit sprites, animations, and backgrounds in the spirit of the classics.
  • A memorable cast of offbeat villains, bosses, and associates.
  • Original soundtrack by renowned chiptune composer Rainbowdragoneyes, handmade using Famitracker.

Devolver Digital continue their winning streak with this new title, The Messenger from Sabotage Studios, a great example of retro aesthetic with modern gameplay that looks to be an absolute winner upon its full release. The protagonist is a young ninja who appears to be the sole survivor of a demonic invasion on his village (it gets out of hand FAST) and it falls to this inexperienced young chap to deliver an important scroll, beginning the game in earnest…

With one of the most catchy chiptune soundtracks in recent memory, sharpened NES-era visuals – think Ninja Gaiden and its sequels – and tightly scripted gameplay and controls (a two button setup to replicate the NES controller), The Messenger is a real joy to play. The interactions in the game have a real well-delivered sense of humour and the game as a whole moves at a really solid pace, never feeling staid or boring. Your ninja will occasionally be teleported to an otherworldly shop where upgrades can be purchased and secrets unfolded as you leap and slice your way through the various locations and boss fights on offer.

Although this is a preview, the game looks to be pretty much completed, the only issues I had with this pre-release copy was some slight juddering during one of the save points, it runs really well in its current state.

Due for release in August, The Messenger is well worth a look if you are a fan of Ninja Gaiden-esque platforming action with light RPG elements, hidden areas and collectibles. Also a great game to play regardless of your nostalgia for ‘the olden days’ as it’s so well designed that it’s easy to pick up and play with the modern game mechanics feeling accessible for all.

Right, I’m off to get my wingsuit let out a bit, it feels a bit tighter since I moved closer to Greggs, for some reason.


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