Sabotage Studio’s newly announced side-scrolling, hack-and-slash platformer, The Messenger, is a throwback to the classic ninja games from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, The Messenger is like a love letter to classics like Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi.
The game starts off as a standard 8-bit platformer, not unlike what was available on the Sega Master System or the NES back in the day, where you would scale up the platforms, rely on lightning quick reflexes to dodge enemies, and stick and move while dodging obstacles and avoiding traps.
According to Sabotage Studio, it was all about rekindling the classics while adding a bit of a new-school touch to the formula. Thierry Boulanger, co-founder of Sabotage Studio mentioned that it was all about bringing back the childhood memories…
“I’ve wanted to make a game like The Messenger since I was eight years old,”
“Together at Sabotage we set out to make the kind of game that inspired us to get into the industry in the first place, with an over the top story, arcade-style challenges and visually striking pixel art. The Messenger is that game, and we’re thrilled to finally announce and share it with a like-minded audience that loves new games inspired by generations of classic video game greatness.”
The game is most certainly an arcade-style platformer based on the trailer that teases a lot of the 8-bit gameplay. You can check it out below.
At the very end of the trailer, after seeing how you can utilize gliders to get over large gaps, wall-hops to scale the vertical elements of the levels, and a grappling hook to make horizontal crossovers.
The game looks challenging but not impossible.
Unfortunately we don’t get to see much of the 16-bit elements of the game, but the gist is that you take on the role of the Messenger who must venture through the cursed land and through time itself to fulfill the prophecy. And by venturing through time itself, we’re not talking about a change in tile placements and textures, we’re talking about an actual change over from 8-bit sprites and gameplay to 16-bit sprites and gameplay, complete with changes in frames-per animation and how the character controls.
It’s a pretty hefty feat given that it would require reworking and remaking a lot of the assets, one that’s fit for the 8-bit realm and another for the 16-bit.
The shift is supposed to be reminiscent of the move between playing NES and SNES games, and also features a sweet-arse soundtrack put together by Eric “Rainbowdragoneyes” Brown. According to the press release Brown used a modulation synth tracker known as Famitracker in order to replicate the 8-bit soundtracks common on the NES.
The Messenger will support hidden levels, upgrades, and new story arcs as you replay the game, giving it more life than the typical outing that gets played once and then gets shelved.
You can look for The Messenger to make an appearance at PAX South 2018. The game will launch first on Steam for PC but will arrive later in the year for home consoles. There are gamers on the YouTube page already asking for a Nintendo Switch version, which is completely unsurprising.