Percentile Rank

The Messenger is ranked in the 95th percentile of games scored on OpenCritic.

Rating Summary

Based on 71 critic reviews
Mighty Man

OpenCritic Rating

86

Top Critic Average

90%

Critics Recommend

Based on 71 critic reviews

Score Distribution

Unscored Reviews

Polygon
Unscored
Unscored
Aug 27, 2018

But for those of us who love gaming history, and the ways it still impacts games today, The Messenger is a shaggy but lovable adventure that shouldn't be skipped as we enter the fall games deluge

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GameXplain
Liked
GameXplain

Top Critic

Liked
Aug 20, 2018
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Nintendojo
A-
A-
Sep 20, 2018

The Messenger is a real accomplishment for the fledgling Sabotage Studio.

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Scored Reviews

NintendoWorldReport
10 / 10.0
10 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

On top of that, it layers on an onslaught of laudatory elements, whether it's a winning, humorous tone, the excellent linear level design, or the marvels of the late-game exploration. When I first sat down with The Messenger, I thought it'd be hard for it to live up to my brilliant, childhood memories of Ninja Gaiden on NES. It didn't just meet those expectations, it annihilated them. The Messenger is a straight-up brilliant addition to the Switch and if you have any affinity for platformers of nearly any shape or size, go play it right this second.

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USgamer
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger establishes itself as an excellent tribute to old-school platformers, then proceeds to rapidly up the ante with a series of outstanding gameplay twists. I'm deeply impressed by The Messenger's ambition and polish. It's a must-own for any retro enthusiast.

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Nintendo Enthusiast
10 / 10.0
10 / 10.0
Aug 27, 2018

Here at Nintendo Enthusiast, we are covering the latest Nintendo titles in written and video format. If you're more interested in video content you can check out our official YouTube channel here. We are constantly putting out interesting features and opinion pieces that may interest you. If you want to see more indie reviews, head over to our home screen and see if anything catches your eye!

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Destructoid
10 / 10.0
10 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger is without a doubt one of the best indies available on the Switch right now. It has a lot of competition with the sudden sea of metroidvania games available, but its stunning look, fantastic soundtrack, and clever writing coupled with the amazing gameplay put it a step above the rest. When I walk away from a game every night only wanting to play more, there's little to complain about.

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Saving Content
Nov 1, 2018

The Messenger is one of the most successful contemporary takes on 80s and 90s platforming I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Where many games attempt to cash in on easy nostalgia plays and fall short of impressing anybody, The Messenger wholeheartedly embraces the design philosophies from the era of its inspiration and uses them as a framework for experimentation rather than a set of guidelines to be ignored as often as they're followed.

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CGMagazine
10 / 10.0
10 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger's intricate platforming and charming world make for a surprising journey that must be played

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Pardis Game
10 / 10.0
10 / 10.0
Sep 24, 2018

The Messenger is more than a mere homage to games from 80s and 90s and especially, Ninja Gaiden; because through its stunning looks, clever writing, fantastic soundtrack and amazing gameplay, it has created its own identity and turned out vastly superior to all of those titles. It's a quality game that makes you want to get back to it as fast as you can and play more. The Messenger is a must-play and no one should miss it

Review in Persian | Read full review

Nintendo Insider
10 / 10
10 / 10
Aug 27, 2018

The Messenger is a prime example of how to study the fundamental rules of a genre that has been replicated a million times before. To then follow these rules, bend them and eventually break them into something of its own calibre of quality is something quite special indeed.

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NoesPaisparaFrikis
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Apr 11, 2019

A game made by people who love the medium in which they work, they have not hesitated to reflect it on the screen and that love shows. A magnificent level design, an outstanding graphic finish and a combination of retro and current gameplay make the game of Thierry Boulanger one of the best indies you will find on your PS4.

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SquareXO
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Mar 21, 2019

Just go out and buy this amazing game now. It’s brilliant, funny, well made and nostalgic. Its soundtrack is to die for, it’s gameplay simple yet technical and the whole presentation on offer deserves the highest praise. Its characters and dialogue are well written and comical, it points fun at itself, at video game culture and it’s delightful.

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Geek Culture Podcast
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Sep 4, 2018

The Messenger is easily one of the best indie games in recent years where you can see the passion of the developer in nearly every aspect of the gameplay, complete with some unique twists along the way.

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Nindie Spotlight
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

Games that are so clearly terrific and special in many ways, but that have a degree of difficulty that makes me concerned not everyone will get a chance to appreciate it, always pose a scoring challenge for me. Unlike, say, a roguelike where some mild progression and sheer luck can give you good runs every once in a while here there are no tricks, shortcuts, or luck to be had. Your options are merely to “git gud” or to stop playing. It’s an approach I find admirable, and given the generally generous spacing of checkpoints I think it’s as fair as it can be without completely compromising. If you’re up to the challenge, or to give it a serious try, this is absolutely a rewarding experience and one that pays off more and more the further in you’re able to go. The evolution of its visual style and gameplay are something I’ve simply never seen before and I think will inevitably be copied, they’re so impressively done. What will be far tougher to have any hope of replicating, and what really sets The Messenger apart, is the game’s tremendous sense of humor and poking fun at itself. The result is one of the most deserving titles of “the hype” I’ve seen in quite some time.

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DualShockers
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger is not just a brilliant love letter to the 8-bit and 16-bit games that inspired it. It's proof that even in a market saturated with retro-style platformers, there are still clever ways to approach the genre. It is one of the most well-designed games I have ever played on both a gameplay and storytelling level. Sabotage really created something special here and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

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TechRaptor
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Aug 29, 2018

The Messenger succeeds in just about everything it does. It's a masterful retro throwback with challenging action-platforming and a charming story to tell. At the same time, its mastery of revealing itself over its ten-hour runtime and pushing the player forward is something that every modern game could learn from.

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Real Game Media
9.1 / 10.0
9.1 / 10.0
Sep 4, 2018

Sabotage created a game filled with nostalgia in a very positive way. This is one of the best game of the year so far! Every gamer who's played retro classics like Ninja Gaiden or Strider, should give this one a try.

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GameSpace
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jun 12, 2018

If there's any real "downside" to The Messenger, it's that its music and effects can be repetitive, but well... that's nitpicking. At its core, this game is damn-near perfection of the 2D action-platforming genre.  Humorous writing, great boss fights, well-thought-out level design, and challenging but not painful execution make The Messenger a must-have for any Switch owner.

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The Game is a Lie
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Dec 8, 2018

The Messenger is a game that, despite being heavily influenced by the classics, should be played by all. It has very few flaws and is good through and through. Its art direction is stunning, its soundtrack is exceptional, its level design is marvellous and its gameplay is intuitive, but it's not as innovative as it should be.

Review in Portuguese | Read full review

FNintendo
9 / 10
9 / 10
Nov 26, 2018

The Messenger is a marvel of a game in the form of tributes to classical 8 and 16-bit series, with accompanying styles to match. With its surprisingly involving and hilarious plot, The Messenger manages to feature both plenty of action and exploration in a retro style and to grab the player's attention to its events in a way that few games of a similar style do.

Review in Portuguese | Read full review

Hardcore Gamer
4.5 / 5.0
4.5 / 5.0
Aug 28, 2018

Truth be told, these are but brief and minor gripes in what is a twenty hour quest (should you aim for a full 100% completion) chock full of charm, wit and some of the most mechanically-sound and cleverly-designed platforming you're likely to find this side of 2018.

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COGconnected
90 / 100
90 / 100
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger is a love letter to a bygone era that drops me right back into those wonderful times as soon as I turn on the Switch. Make sure you schedule a delivery with The Messenger, because you will not be disappointed when you sign for it.

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GamesBeat
90 / 100
90 / 100
Aug 27, 2018

The Messenger comes out on August 30 for Switch and PC. The publisher gave us a Switch code for this review.

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Gaming Nexus
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Oct 22, 2018

Packed with clever story surprises and dynamic, richly-constructed gameplay, The Messenger is both a tribute to and affectionate pastiche of 8 and 16-bit game design, storytelling and nostalgia. It belongs in every Switch owner's eShop library.

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TrustedReviews
Aug 29, 2018

Despite the writing, which is definitely an acquired taste, The Messenger is a truly excellent classic platformer and a bloody good Metroidvania. There's enough of a twist on both genres to make it stand out in an increasingly crowded market. It looks great, in both the 8-bit and 16-bit sections, and the music sounds like it's ripped from the best NES game never made.

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GamePitt
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Mar 25, 2019

The Messenger is without a doubt a game that gamers should not pass up on. I very much enjoyed every aspect of the game from the hilarious banter between the Messenger and the shopkeeper to the platforming and the boss fights. I cannot see any one aspect of the game I did not enjoy. If this is the first game made by Sabotage Studio, then I would say that they have a bright future ahead of them in the games industry.

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PS4Blog.net
9 / 10
9 / 10
Aug 31, 2018

The Messenger is an excellent indie release that has found a good home on the Nintendo Switch. I spent half of my time with the game playing on the TV and the other half while in Portable mode, and the game looked just as great and was just as fun in both scenarios. A short game this is not, since you're looking at 20+ hours to 100% this release between the first part of The Messenger, the jump to 16-bits and the Metroidvania twist. You'll meet former foes who have turned a new leaf and old enemies with a new look as you try to defeat the greater evil behind all of this before it is too late, and you're going to have a blast doing so.

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FingerGuns
9 / 10
9 / 10
Mar 25, 2019

After several hours of dying and dying again the game gives you reason to think it’s all over before it just isn’t, and this could throw some people off. It certainly did me, whilst it’s no bother at all to keep playing The Messenger the pacing felt a little strange in the closing moments, and there’s a fair amount of backtracking to be getting on with. Fortunately this allows you to head back to old levels that have a 16-bit remix that you wouldn’t have seen before, which makes it worthwhile all the more.

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Nintendo Life
9 / 10
9 / 10
Aug 28, 2018

2D side-scrolling action games like The Messenger may be a dime a dozen these days, but you'd be missing out on something special by passing this one up. Featuring a surprisingly long campaign, an incredible soundtrack and tight, challenging level designs, The Messenger stands as a shining example of great game design. We'd highly recommend you pick this one up; it's the very definition of a modern classic.

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NoesPaisparaFrikis
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Sep 10, 2018

The Messenger has all the necessary elements to become the indie of the year or at least to fight it with arguments of weight. A design of outstanding levels, battles with bosses very satisfactory, plot with a lot of chicha and fun to tons. So tie your sword to your belt and jump without fear of adventure.

Review in Spanish | Read full review

PlayStation Universe
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Mar 22, 2019

Resolutely challenging without ever being unfair, frequently gut-bustingly humorous and stuffed with all manner of unexpected twists and turns, The Messenger one of the most essential platformers on PS4. It really is that simple.

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GameLuster
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Sep 10, 2018

The Messenger goes beyond paying its respects to the games of the past, effectively using the time shifting as a homage to the 8- and 16-bit eras. It’s more than a gimmick, acting as both a game mechanic and a storytelling tool. The interesting narrative draws you in while the clever writing breaks the fourth wall to make you laugh. The tight controls keep you playing, despite the slight tedium of the Metroidvania segments. The Messenger toes the line between being a tribute to old-school games and being a modern game with a fresh feeling.

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God is a Geek
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

There's a chance the trial & error nature of the bosses will put off some people, and the run-time is certainly long for the genre, but The Messenger is a staggeringly good game and a shining example of a big risk paying bigger dividends.

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ZTGD
9 / 10.0
Ken McKown

Top Critic

9 / 10.0
Sep 3, 2018

The Messenger is a horrible name for a game that pays homage to Ninja Gaiden. Don't let the name stop you, though. This is one of the best of its type and is worth checking out. I do wish it was more widely available across consoles, but Switch and PC owners should certainly not miss this one.

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GameSkinny
Sep 4, 2018

The Messenger leans on classic platformers from the 80s and 90s, but comes with plenty of its own tricks to make it feel like a wonderful twist with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor.

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Screen Rant
Aug 28, 2018

Devolver Digital presents The Messenger, a finely-tuned action platformer that will satisfy hardline retro enthusiasts and new gamers alike.

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Atomix
88 / 100
88 / 100
Sep 3, 2018

The Messenger is an essential for lovers of the design of the classics of the NES and SNES, with a high level of difficulty and a story full of irony, sarcasm and above all memorable characters.

Review in Spanish | Read full review

PSX Brasil
88 / 100
88 / 100
Mar 20, 2019

Just as surprising as the plot twists is the entertainment provided by The Messenger's dialogues. The gameplay is great and represents an evolution of the games that it takes inspiration from, but it's the unforeseen events, in the good sense, that makes this journey fantastic.

Review in Portuguese | Read full review

Cerealkillerz
8.7 / 10.0
8.7 / 10.0
Sep 8, 2018

The Messenger is an almost entirely well-made Genremix, which has his issues with the difficulty in the second half, but thanks to the humour, the flawless gameplay, the lovely artwork and the score the title manages to succeed in every discipline. Jump N`Run and Indiegaming Fans can`t go around this one

Review in German | Read full review

Everyeye.it
8.6 / 10.0
8.6 / 10.0
Sep 3, 2018

How difficult it is to make all this coexist in a single product, yet The Messenger succeeds, moreover with a maniacal attention to detail and an overall harmony

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Easy Allies
8.5 / 10.0
8.5 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018
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Cultured Vultures
8.5 / 10.0
8.5 / 10.0
Mar 26, 2019

The Messenger is a retro-styled old school challenge that starts off easy but will soon test any player's hidden ninja skills. This is a multi-genre homage to some real classics that manages to feel like a long lost gem.

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Pure Nintendo
8.5 / 10.0
8.5 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger is a finely crafted homage to the kind of game that first introduced many avid gamers to a lifelong hobby.

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IGN Italy
8.3 / 10.0
8.3 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger is a brilliant action platformer (...or is it a metroidvania?), full of irony and pretty difficult jumps. The time shift between the 8-bit past and the 16-bit "future" is what makes the game shine - even with its low replayability.

Review in Italian | Read full review

Video Chums
Sep 5, 2018

Ninja games have been around since 8-bit classics like Ninja Gaiden, Strider, and Shadow of the Ninja. The Messenger fits right in with its tight gameplay, challenging degree of difficulty, and satisfying campaign.

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GameSpot
8 / 10
8 / 10
Aug 28, 2018

Inspired by the 8-bit and 16-bit action-platformers of yesteryear, The Messenger is an ambitious and well-balanced side-scroller that's as difficult as it is funny.

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GameCrate
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Sep 4, 2018

The Messenger is a game that makes no effort to hide who its intended audience is, and its clever combining of two distinct gameplay genres ensures that it casts a rather wide net. Whether you're a die-hard retro gaming fan or a genre newbie eager to dive into the deep end, Sabotage's debut title is one adventure worth embarking on.

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Gameblog
8 / 10
8 / 10
Aug 31, 2018

Even if it tends to be a bit frustrating in its second half, as it opens up a bit, The Messenger is still a magnificient and really great to play independent action platformer with some clever ideas and a lovable personnality.

Review in French | Read full review

VGChartz
8 / 10
8 / 10
Sep 3, 2018

Arguably the finest 2D action-adventure of 2018, a year that has seen an influx of well-crafted Metroidvanias.

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We Got This Covered
Aug 30, 2018

Even with a shaky back-half, The Messenger is still an adventure worth seeking out. The agility focused platforming provides a satisfying challenge, the writing is surprisingly clever, and the graphical shifting is more than just a simple gimmick.

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The Games Machine
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Mar 26, 2019

The Messenger is a great example of "old school platform". It's fun to play, challenging but never frustrating, with good graphics and an excellent soundtrack.

Review in Italian | Read full review

Game Informer
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger is a terrific throwback to action platformers like Ninja Gaiden with welcome twists. While a mid-game identity crisis detracts from the experience, it's still an adventure worth taking

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CDavis_Games
Dec 3, 2018

The Messenger has a unique spin that sets it apart from other games and yet, ironically, it lacks an identity of its own. As a modern Ninja Gaiden game it’s excellent, but it only maintains that for half the game. The other half is a faint-hearted attempted at a Metroidvania that never quite works. I thoroughly enjoyed eight to nine hours of my twelve-hour playthrough. The other three or four were a little more tedious than I would have liked but that shouldn’t entirely negate a brilliant platformer with plenty to offer even in a year that’s been chock full of throwback retro platformers.

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IGN
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Sep 5, 2018

When you're fully geared up and The Messenger is hitting you with brand new stages and challenges that you haven't seen before, The Messenger is an amazing, must-play experience. Taken as a whole, it's brought down only by fetch quests that make The Messenger last several hours longer than it feels like it should.

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Handsome Phantom
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

For those who spent hours playing the original Ninja Gaiden or Castlevania on NES and are looking for a bit of nostalgia, The Messenger will be a near perfect fit.

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AusGamers
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Sep 11, 2018

But even so, The Messenger features an understanding of design, from the 8-bit to the 16-bit to the modern era, that make it more than a throwback.

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Twinfinite
4 / 5.0
4 / 5.0
Sep 4, 2018

Overall, The Messenger is a really solid game for fans of the platformer and Metroidvania genres. Had the first half of the game been a little more condensed, and the second half not been too dragged out, the game could've been near-perfect. Even so, if you have even an appreciation for retro or old-school games, you can't go wrong with The Messenger.

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EGM
8 / 10.0
Evan Slead

Top Critic

8 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

Sabotage Studio's debut title, The Messenger, is an impressive evolution for the platforming genre. It takes risks that at times work in its favor but also create frustrating mechanics for players to look past. The melding of 8-bit and 16-bit aesthetics into a love letter for the NES era of platformers is nothing short of genius, but the style outweighs the gameplay in some areas, including the difficulty level.

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Metro GameCentral
8 / 10
8 / 10
Mar 21, 2019

An inspired homage to old school Ninja Gaiden games, with a clever blending of genres and near perfect retro graphics and music.

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Push Square
8 / 10
8 / 10
Mar 19, 2019

The Messenger is a rock solid action platformer that balances out its retro stylings with modern touches and brilliantly slick controls. Blasting through the lengthy story is compelling, as new story beats and abilities are thrown into the mix. It perhaps flies a little too close to the sun later on as you hunt down the final few collectibles, but by and large, it's a cloud-stepping joy. Fans of 2D action games should have a blast with this, and that's a message we're happy to pass along.

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Spaziogames
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Sep 2, 2018

The Messenger is yet another quality indie title that comes to Nintendo Switch this year: if you've grown up playing Ninja Gaiden or any Castlevania game (both pre and post Symphony of the Night), this is the adventure you've been waiting for.

Review in Italian | Read full review

New Game Network
79 / 100
79 / 100
Aug 28, 2018

Less a Gaiden successor and more a general love-letter to its look and style, The Messenger allows fans to hop gleefully between cheery gaming memories without being bound by the rigid controls and punishing precision of a prior era, while somehow managing to remain entirely accessible to newcomers as a fun, unmistakeably wholehearted 2D platformer.

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IGN Spain
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

The Messenger surprises by being a round game in all aspects. A platform that becomes metroidvania and that serves as a tribute to the classic Ninja Gaiden. And be careful, because we're also going to laugh a lot with him.

Review in Spanish | Read full review

Gamers Classified
Aug 28, 2018

The gameplay, while simple, is incredibly enjoyable. It does make you think a little with what you have to conquer each boss and monster, but that’s what makes The Messenger a game of its own right.

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GameSpew
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Aug 28, 2018

Had The Messenger been two separate games, I'd have waxed lyrical about the first while eliciting a "meh" for the second. Put together, it's a package that some will adore, while others will simply grow tired of.

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Bazimag
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Sep 25, 2018

The Messenger is simple, it has near to no challenges and it's non-widespread levels make it's diverse platforming mechanics undervalued. so if you haven't experienced The Messenger yet, you didn't miss a great title.

Review in Persian | Read full review

Goomba Stomp
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Sep 15, 2018

The Messenger is a fascinating exercise in genre reinvention, a showcase for two radically different approaches to homage.

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Cubed3
7 / 10
Ofisil

Top Critic

7 / 10
Aug 31, 2018

Sabotage Studio proves its worth by delivering an title that pays homage to Ninja Gaiden but is actually better than its source material; one that nails both the 8-bit, and 16-bit aesthetic. The problem is that, although definitely a fun title, the way it is torn between being a "pure" action-platformer and a metroidvania really hurts what could otherwise be one of the year's best indies.

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Cubed3
7 / 10
7 / 10
Apr 20, 2019

The Messenger is a unique and enjoyable 2D platformer with a strong personality and exciting gameplay, and its fine-tuned appearance on the PS4 is a welcome one. The first half of the game is worthy of unfettered praise, but the experience takes a hefty blow at the halfway point from a failed attempt at expanding the scope. This aside, it remains a lovingly conceived game and is well worth playing through on this basis, but its flaws prevent it from going down as a true classic. In light of the fact that this is the first game by Sabotage, it's fair to say that the studio's future is bright.

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Fintendo
Aug 28, 2018

"One of the best looking and sounding retro-inspired games, but its difficulty curve is like a roller coaster."

Review in Finnish | Read full review