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Generation-hopping platformer The Messenger delivers the goods August 30th

I’ve always been a sucker for a good ninja-themed game, and The Messenger captures that Ninja Gaiden/Shinobi vibe well. Sharp pixel art, catchy chiptunes and an interesting twist define this Devolver-published platformer. While The Messenger looks like a perfectly solid Shovel Knight-esque platformer on the surface, the release date trailer below shows how players will be hopping between 8 and 16-bit versions of the game, and doing some clever things with this power. There’s not long to wait, either. The game will be launching in just under two weeks, on August 30th.

There’s a lot to like in the trailer below, starting with some pleasingly complex-looking movement. A wingsuit for gliding down into pits, a zippy grappling hook, and a double-jump that can be recharged by hitting background objects with your sword, and – of course – wall jumping. The latter half of the trailer focuses on the big mechanical reveal – at some point, you gain the ability to hop through rifts between two different versions of the game, with different aesthetics and level layouts. It looks like this will be used for puzzles, platforming and even during some boss fights.

There’s a vein of humour running through The Messenger as well. I especially liked the animation of the under-dressed cyclops nonchalantly putting on his loincloth with a flick of the wrist. It appears there’s some sort of (minor) death penalty as well, in the form of a cute little devil that’ll dock your income until you’ve paid off your debt to the underworld, or until he gets bored. Goes some way to confirm the old adage about death and taxes, if nothing else. It’s nice to see the developers – small Quebec-based studio Sabotage – are embracing the silliness of all things ninja.

The game was recently demoed at PAX East a few months back, and I’ve not heard a single bad word about it from the people who got to try it there, which is a good sign. I’m eager to try my hand at this one when it launches at the end of the month.

The Messenger will be launching on Steam this August 30th, and will cost £15.49/€16.79/$20.

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Dominic Tarason

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