From Ninja gaiden to Metroid and 8 to 16 bit
The Messenger starts out as a 8 bit Ninja Gaiden clone and around the half way mark the game morphs into a 16 bit Metroidvania.
The Messenger is a side scrolling platformer and though there are many of these titles on the switch, this one definitely stands out from the crowd with beautiful visuals and tight controls. Constantly moving from left to right ( in the first half of the game at least ) attacking enemies and jumping from platform to platform. The game also has an upgrade system, as you fight enemies you collect Shards which you then trade in for various upgrades ( ie an ability to glide after jumping, add health or even enhance your cloud jump ability which adds on extra jump anytime you attack an enemy or certain structures in the game). Everything in this game feels very tight, from the combat to the platforming, which is very important considering how difficult this game is. You will die, and you will die a lot. Death in this game is also handled quite uniquely ; when you die a small creature will pick you up and bring you back to your last checkpoint. He will then fly behind you stealing all the shards you collect until he feels he is repaid, or gets bored and flies off. At around the half way mark of the game, you defeat a boss and will think the game is over when in reality you are about half way through and the game is about to completely change its mechanics. The game will then change from an 8 bit to 16 bit game( when travelling through rifts), even the sound track changes to 16 bit. At this point the gameplay switches to a metroidvania style, having you constantly backtrack for various reasons. The switch version had a few slow downs and crashes but after a system reboot everything seemed to run smoothly for me.
If you’re a gamer from the 80s/90s you are in for a treat. The Music in this game is fantastic. The attention to detail is quite astounding, when going underwater the music distorts just as it would if you were underwater hearing music above you. When the game switches to 16 bit you can really hear the difference from the 8bit to 16 bit , almost like going from an Nes game to an Snes game. After completing the game I immediately went online to find the soundtrack.
This is the one part of the game that is lacking. There is a Demon invasion and your town is destroyed. You are set with the task of delivering a scroll across the land. Thankfully the writing in this game is amazing, the conversations between you and NPC’s and bosses is very comical and had my laughing out loud on multiple occasions. Even the demon who saves you when you die will often make fun of how many times you died at one particular section of the game. Make sure when you play this game to talk to as many NPC’s as you can because you can see all the love that went into the interactions between characters.