Quick Intro (eshop description):
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.
The Messenger starts out in a village of ninjas, you play as a young rebellious ninja who is apparently late for everything. You start off learning the controls trying to get to the morning training. As the legends foretold, the village is attacked and destroyed by a demon army. You are the only living ninja and you must deliver a scroll to the top of a mountain. You will meet lots of characters and the game doesn’t take itself too seriously which is nice. There is some sarcastic humor and it’s a fun ride. There are some neat twists that happen but I won’t give anything away.
The graphics in The Messenger are very nice. It starts out in an 8 bit style that will remind you of Ninja Gaiden games from way back. Eventually as you progress, the theme will switch to a 16-bit style and move back and forth between the two aesthetics. The art in the game is fantastic, you can tell a lot of work was put into the pixels. The soundtrack is especially bad ass. The tunes were created by rainbowdragoneyes, who makes sort of metal music but instead of instruments, they use fast paced chiptunes. The music in this game is awesome and I still listen to the sound tracks (there are two, one for 8 bit The Past and one for 16 bit the Future) over and over again.
The Messenger is an action platformer, but it eventually ends up as a metroidvania. Once you’ve gone through each of the levels in the map, you end up back having to backtrack and use your new skills to reach the levels you passed through. The controls are very tight, and the combat is mostly simple slash em up. You have a samurai sword and shurikens, the usual ninja loadout. You will get mandatory upgrades like the climbing claws that let you scale certain walls, but you can also upgrade your abilities in the shop by spending time shards. Some can upgrade your attack power and defence while others cause enemies to drop health and things like that. You have a goofy companion called Quarble, who revives you when you die. He is nice and sarcastic and a fun side character.
As mentioned before, there are two styles in the game one is the 8 bit, or the past and one is 16 where it’s the future. You can pass through portals that send you from one to the other. Some areas of the map are only accessible in one or the other. There are often puzzles to solve where you go back and forth and they are quite fun. No part of the game was too overly difficult (except the one part I am about to mention). I found the bosses fun and never unfair. I died quite a few times but never got discouraged.
One thing that did get me angry while playing is that there is a double jump move you learn early on, called cloud striking, where when you strike an enemy or platform in mid jump, it will launch you higher. But some of the stretches in the game where you are required to cross chasms with this technique can be very frustrating. You think you hit the strike point or enemy or your timing is off and you end up just dying. These deaths were the only ones that I felt were unfair, but I eventually got a hold of the move and was able to use it well enough.
I played through the story line and collected all of the upgrades and the one play through took me about 15 hours. I paid 14.99 for the game so it was right on a dollar an hour. Game wise I loved it and will probably play through it again. There is a harder new game + mode if you 100 percent (collect all the upgrades) your game. It lets you re-use your upgrades and add more hp to the enemies and bosses. The price is perfectly fine for the game and they ended up adding some free DLC later on, which definitely makes it a good price.