At E3 2018, we got some hands on time with Devolver Digital and Sabotage’s upcoming retro inspired action platformer, The Messenger, and it looks like its shaping up to be a worthwhile experience.
Heavily inspired by Ninja Gaiden, The Messenger takes place in a feudal Japan like setting and will have players take on the role of a ninja who must deliver an important scroll to his village to help stop the demon invasion. As the story continues, the ninja will discover how to travel between the past and the future, learning plenty of new and important information along the way. The developers stated that The Messenger is aiming to be a 2018 game with more modern gameplay, surrounded by a retro feel with graphics, music, and plenty of tropes.
To set itself apart, The Messenger has a few unique mechanics. The first of these is the cloud jump. Taking place of a normal double jump, a cloud jump requires you to jump, hit a lantern with the attack button, and jump again immediately after that hit, requiring more precise timing than a standard double jump. Cloud jumps don’t become completely necessary until later on, but there are plenty of chances to practice beforehand.
Another unique mechanic, and the key feature of the game, is using time travel and going back and forth between 8 bit and 16 bit graphics to solve puzzles and progress. A path blocked in the 8 bit era may be open in the 16 bit era and so on. The music, composed by chiptune artist Rainbowdragoneyes changes along with the graphics, so every track featured in the game has been composed in both different styles.
The Messenger has plenty of familiar elements as well such as enemies that respawn offscreen, the rope dart (also known as the grappling hook), the air glider for wind puzzles, climbing claws for wall to wall action, and a shop with various upgrades.
The shop is where you’ll obtain necessary upgrades but it will also be where you meet the game’s most peculiar character, The Shopkeeper. The Shopkeeper not only gives the player useful items, but also likes to mess with them. For example, when he sees you wearing a sugegasa hat, he will mention how cool it looks and the next time you see him he’ll be wearing the same type of hat and claim that you’re imitating his style. He’ll also tell you long and pointless but humorous stories if you ask.
The Messenger is also set to feature plenty of story elements players don’t necessarily expect. As for what exactly this entails we’ll just have to wait and see.
The Messenger will launch in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. You can watch 11 minutes of the gameplay shown at E3 2018 below.