Video Game Review: The Messenger

Details: Played for about thirteen hours. Official site is https://themessengergame.com/

Score: 6.3/10

Edit: When I wrote this review, I did not beat the game. I have since beaten it and my review still stands. It’s a fun game, but flawed and mostly appeals to nostalgia. I bumped the score up from 6/10 to 6.3/10.

The Messenger is a game that tries to emulate older games like Ninja Gaiden (for the Nintendo and Super Nintendo era). I started out enjoying the game, but lost interest about halfway because it forces a cardinal sin in video games, which is forcing players to backtrack through levels they’ve already played before. There is a ton of backtracking in this game and after about seven hours of playtime, I just didn’t care about this game anymore.

The story in this game is barely there and not the focus. The focus is on the gameplay. This is a very self aware game and there are a lot of fourth wall breaking or meta jokes. The lack of story definitely makes it harder to progress through the game because I just didn’t care about any of the characters.

The gameplay itself copies gameplay of old games like Ninja Gaiden for the Super Nintendo. Gameplay consists mainly of jumping and doing a short range sword swipe attack. There is gliding, a grappling hook and ninja stars, but the core of the gameplay is just jumping around and doing your short range attack. This game can get difficult and a key move you need to master is attack+jump. After you attack something in mid air, you get to do a jump. It’s annoying, but integral to getting through a lot of areas in the game. Mastering your timing and where you jump is also integral.

Bosses were fun and varied.

The worst part of this game was the back tracking. After about halfway through the game, the game becomes open ended and you have to go search through the nooks and crannies of levels you’d already beaten in order to find collectibles. This was such a boring task and I tried to stay interested, but it just sucked out all interest I had in the game and made me uninstall it. I just don’t care. I want to see new levels, not retread old level because the developers were too lazy to create new ones. I also didn’t want to solve platforming puzzles in order to get unnecessary collectibles. I wanted to attack things and fight bosses. This would’ve been a lot less painful if there was actually a decent story to motivate me to do these repetitive tasks, but the story here is almost nonexistent.

Visually, the game looks like it was made for the Super Nintendo or the Sega Genesis. They deliberately made this look like an old game. If you like well made sprites, you’ll enjoy this.

The music is good, but it’s that old synthesized style that they had for the older video game consoles.

Overall, the game is all right. It’s fun, but ultimately felt pointless to me. I need a story or at least something new to do. Retreading old ground and doing the same thing over and over again without a narrative reason is just boring.

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