The Messenger has a lot going for it. It’s a 2D action platformer with a gorgeous aesthetic that seamlessly goes from 8 to 16-bit, it has a hilarious sense of humor, clever dialogue, and one of the absolute best retro-themed “chiptune” soundtracks out there. There was even a period of time while playing The Messenger, once I unlocked its full suite of core abilities, when I felt this might be one of the best games I’ve played all year.
But then, something happens at about the halfway point. The Messenger changes genre completely from a linear action platformer like Ninja Gaiden on the NES, to a sprawling Metroidvania. Unfortunately, it fumbles this transition, padding the back half with repetitive backtracking and boring fetch quests.