Developer Sabotage Studio has just released a brand-new update for its excellent retro action platformer The Messenger, introducing a welcome New Game Plus mode for players on PC and Switch.
For those unfamiliar, The Messenger's retro platform action is at least somewhat inspired by Tecmo's classic NES Ninja Gaiden games. It's a tautly designed, meticulously paced little gem that unfolds as a series of linear platform challenges - each area a delight to navigate, thanks to the game's fluid move set. I wouldn't call it ground-breaking, but it's certainly extremely enjoyable - and presentationally it's wonderful too, with some bold 8-bit-inspired visuals, a catchy soundtrack, and some exceptionally entertaining writing.
That's only half the game, however; around about the mid-point, there's a significant twist, but it's one that you might prefer to discover for yourself if you haven't already been spoiled. If so, do feel free to skip the following paragraph - and, indeed, the semi-spoiler-y trailer below.
[HERE BE SPOILERS] On reaching a certain point in The Messenger, our plucky hero is flung far into the future. Niftily, in "the future", the game's 8-bit visuals and audio are given a 16-bit makeover, bringing new life to the locations you've visited previously. Not only that, the entire nature of the experience changes from linear adventure to exploratory Metroidvania, and you're able to freely roam old areas with new eyes. It also introduces a time-travel mechanic, enabling you to hop between 8-bit and 16-bit worlds at will to reach new areas, making it all feel like more than an aesthetic gimmick. [SPOILERS END HERE]
As for today's update, the most significant addition to The Messenger comes in the form of a New Game Plus mode, which, as you might imagine, enables players who've reached 100% in standard mode to start a new game with all previously unlocked upgrades in tact.
Furthermore, all enemies will do increased damage, and bosses are granted additional HP. And both of these will be increased again should you managed to complete your second play-through and begin a third. In fact, Sabotage says that New Game Plus grants infinite play-throughs, with each new attempt adding an extra + to your save and becoming even harder.
Elsewhere, The Messenger's new update brings a number of quality of life features, including control remapping, access to in-game hints at any point in the game, new visual cues added for the underwater labyrinth (for "accessibility purposes"), and even a jukebox.
The Messenger's new update is out now on Switch and PC - and for those curious players yet to experience its charms, there's currently a 25% discount on the Switch eShop (it costs £13.49 instead of £17.99) plus 30% off through Steam, so you'll pay £10.84 rather than £15.49.