The Messenger Image
Metascore
86

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 223 Ratings

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  • Summary: 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.

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The Messenger - Teaser Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Aug 28, 2018
    100
    The Messenger is without a doubt one of the best indies available on the Switch right now. It has a lot of competition with the sudden sea of metroidvania games available, but its stunning look, fantastic soundtrack, and clever writing coupled with the amazing gameplay put it a step above the rest. When I walk away from a game every night only wanting to play more, there's little to complain about.
  2. Aug 28, 2018
    95
    The Messenger is not just a brilliant love letter to the 8-bit and 16-bit games that inspired it. It’s proof that even in a market saturated with retro-style platformers, there are still clever ways to approach the genre. It is one of the most well-designed games I have ever played on both a gameplay and storytelling level. Sabotage really created something special here and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
  3. Sep 9, 2018
    90
    Twist after twist, The Messenger turns out to be an amazing game. Everything looks and feels perfect, from its sense of humor to its level-design. It’s a must-have for every retro games lover.
  4. Oct 4, 2018
    85
    The Messenger is a very good game that has lots of twists, whether it's in its narration or in it's gameplay. This game seems more aimed at the nostalgic gamer rather than the younger audience with lots of references to games from the 8 and 16 bit era.
  5. Games Master UK
    Oct 4, 2018
    80
    Two retro styles for the price of one, this is a great, if occasionally frustrating, homage to a hardcore classic. [Nov 2018, p.84]
  6. Sep 4, 2018
    80
    The Messenger is a really solid game for fans of the platformer and Metroidvania genres. Had the first half of the game been a little more condensed, and the second half not been too dragged out, the game could’ve been near-perfect. Even so, if you have even an appreciation for retro or old-school games, you can’t go wrong with The Messenger.
  7. Aug 29, 2018
    70
    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.

See all 43 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 65
  2. Negative: 7 out of 65
  1. Aug 30, 2018
    10
    The Messenger is one the most entertaining, refreshing and innovative game I have played in a while. It feels like a what a triple AThe Messenger is one the most entertaining, refreshing and innovative game I have played in a while. It feels like a what a triple A production would have been in the 90s. The mechanics are simple, yet they provide for a very challenging experience when mixed together in such great levels. The story is well written, and much deeper than expected at the beginning. The characters are lovely and I found myself reading all the optional dialogues, which I never do. The visuals are gorgeous and diverse. Each level has a 8-bit and 16-bit version.

    Sabotage Studio really accomplished something by crafting a real love letter to what we enjoyed about retro games. It stands out in the sea of pale copycats by finding its own modern identity while hitting that nostalgia nerve all the time.

    From a side-scroller to a metroidvania, this game offers a depth that is unexpected. It is very polished and well-paced, offering a 20+ hours experience that is worth every penny. Highly recommended 10/10 - This should make short list for GOTY.
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  2. Feb 4, 2020
    10
    One of the best platformer I ever played. On my Nintendo Switch this is one of the best game in my collection.
  3. Sep 14, 2018
    10
    I knew I was going to like The Messenger from the moment I watched the trailer. I like ninjas. I like video games. I like video games aboutI knew I was going to like The Messenger from the moment I watched the trailer. I like ninjas. I like video games. I like video games about ninjas. What I didn’t expect from The Messenger was to be completely enraptured by it, teleporting me back to my childhood where I couldn’t get the game out of my head.

    For a week straight, it seemed like all I could think about was The Messenger. When I wasn’t playing, I was wishing I was. If I wasn’t playing, I was listening to the soundtrack. If I wasn’t playing, I was searching for developer interviews, watching twitch streams, or simply just thinking about the world and its characters. With The Messenger, Sabotage Studios has created a modern classic that doesn’t just play immaculately, but engages the player in new and surprising ways that speaks to both the child and adult within you.

    On the surface, The Messenger begins as a fairly standard Ninja Gaiden-inspired platformer. You do sweet front flips and you cut up demons with some of the tightest, most responsive controls anyone can ask for. The story? Deliver a scroll to the top of a mountain on the other side of the land to stop those demons from destroying the last of humankind. However, it doesn’t take long before the game starts standing out on its own by introducing new mechanics and some great writing. If you’re at all interested in what I’ve said so far, I’d just go play the game and stop reading. The Messenger is meant to surprise and catch you off guard and while I’m not going to specifically spoil anything, I do want to dive a little deeper into the game.

    The Messenger really starts to shine by showing its personality and the motto of developer Sabotage Studios, “retro aesthetics with modern game design.” The game looks absolutely gorgeous with some of the best pixel art out there and the music is equally awesome. Playing the game is a dream, but The Messenger also had me looking forward to every new level to see the artwork and hear the next track. Amazing NES aesthetics? Check.

    Beyond the aesthetics, your ninja will evolve as you play with some handy upgrades that push his abilities from rookie ninja to grand master. Exploring the environment will net you time shards that you can use in the shop to purchase a wide range of upgrades from shurikens to new attacks to health upgrades. Each upgrade feels impactful and worth the purchase. Other upgrades come as you progress through the game like the Wingsuit, which lets you slowly glide over chasms or ride gusts of air vertically. Even for someone like me, who explored every nook and cranny and unlocked every upgrade well before the end of the game, I never was bored with the gameplay because mastering both the character and the levels were so much fun.

    And speaking of the shop, The Messenger’s shopkeeper is just as important (and frankly, more memorable) as the main character. The shopkeeper is the game’s main way to give flavor text to the environments, present some backstory, tell stories, and dole out a heaping helping of comedy. He’s my favorite character of the year. Maybe he’s a woman actually? I don’t know. But I love him. Without going into any spoilers, I just will say that the game’s writing is commendable. The game seamlessly walks the line of being philosophical and satirical while never ceasing to be flat-out entertaining. It’s the main reason why I feel like the game pulls off what so few games, or any other media, accomplish: speaking to both the child and the adult within you. Playing the game felt like going back in time, but hearing the story and listening to some things the shopkeeper says really spoke to the man I am today.

    The Messenger is a game that sets out to play with your expectations. Just when it feels like your NES adventure is about to come to a close, the game turns into something new and fresh, giving you a whole new experience to play on top of what was already a solid game. I would love to sit and chat about every aspect about The Messenger but that’s not what this review is meant for. I’ll leave you with this; The Messenger is one of the best games I’ve ever played. Period. And all I want to do is go back to playing it a hundred more times. See ya!
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  4. Apr 13, 2019
    9
    You're a ninja, you've been given a scroll and have a banging soundtrack to kick ass too........lets go save the world.

    I knew limited
    You're a ninja, you've been given a scroll and have a banging soundtrack to kick ass too........lets go save the world.

    I knew limited information about The Messenger before diving in and damn am I glad I took a gamble. This game rocks. From its epic chip tune soundtrack to the simple but effective gameplay 'The Messenger' will keep you hooked until you reach its conclusion and reveal what the message you are carrying is all about.

    Without giving too much away, which arguably may have already been revealed to you if you have seen any trailers for the game, the game is split into two halves. The first half, a traditional platformer and the latter half a metroidvania. Utilising some clever gameplay mechanics and a dynamically changing soundtrack I couldn't wait to jump back in each time and start kicking ass all over again. The writing is very clever and never afraid to poke fun at itself which made the story that much more enjoyable. Please keep an eye out for the sarcastic shop keeper.

    The one criticism which has been raised in other reviews and I accept it too is that the pace slows a tad at the mid point. Its very easy to fall off the band wagon at this point but I'm very glad I stuck it through.

    An indie gem and a standout title for 2018. Now go and deliver that message.
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  5. May 30, 2022
    9
    Really fun platformer in Ninja Gaiden style with metroidvania twist. Its have some stupidly hard segments but overall difficulty wellReally fun platformer in Ninja Gaiden style with metroidvania twist. Its have some stupidly hard segments but overall difficulty well balanced, and level design are good. Game is not cheap, but it takes like 16 hours to beat if you try to find all secrets Expand
  6. Jul 4, 2020
    8
    This game is extremely entertained in all ways. At the forefront, of course, is the hilarious writing which deserves all the praise in theThis game is extremely entertained in all ways. At the forefront, of course, is the hilarious writing which deserves all the praise in the world. I was going through the adventure if only to see what new wacky dialogue the Shopkeeper would have in store for me next. Though in reality there was more keeping me engaged than the writing. The graphics and the sound are phenomenal, and the fact they had to go through and make two different sets of the whole game is just breathtaking. If there's anywhere the game struggles even a tad it's the end, because it just feels like it ends without any of the problems really having time to be solved, and you don't get to know the final boss much in the first place. Expand
  7. Jun 30, 2022
    0
    this game has a easy going through history with not good content ahead. im so sad about this one

See all 65 User Reviews