Welcome to The Messenger Speedrunning!! The Messenger is a game that was made in 2018 by Sabotage Studio, based out of Quebec, Canada. It is a quick-paced platforming game, utilizing many of the traditional retro-style elements that made the genre popular.
The main hero of the game is a Ninja that is tasked with carrying a scroll to the top of the highest mountain in the land. At the very beginning of the game, you learn of the Demon Army, and it soon becomes apparent that you must defeat the Demon Army and the Demon Curse once and for all.
The information here will be a basic overview of the game as well as common Speedrunning tricks to help you learn the ropes. For further information and basic video tutorials, please refer to the guides on SRC at https://www.speedrun.com/the_messenger/guides. For even more information and help for more advanced strats, please join The Messenger Speedrunning Discord at https://discord.gg/NKJHwU .
The Messenger is available on multiple platforms to help ensure you can play in any situation. It was initially released on the PC for Steam and on the Nintendo Switch, but has since been released on other platforms as well. It is currently available for the PC on Steam, GOG, EGS, and Twitch; as well as Nintendo Switch, PS4, and the Microsoft Store. The most popular form is on Steam, which carries full autosplitter support through LiveSplit at https://livesplit.org/.
- Text Skipping: The most basic and useful Speedrun strat in the game. Holding the Jump and the Lightfoot Tabi buttons will let you speed through text. Because of Text Skipping, it doesn't really matter what language you play the game with. Simplified Chinese is technically the fastest language, but it makes only a negligible difference.
- Cloudstep: Slashing an enemy or lantern will allow you to double jump. Continuously slashing additional targets will allow you to continue to Cloudstep, as long as you keep slashing targets and jumping.
- Double Cloudstep: By learning to slash then immediately jump/slash the same target, it will allow you to gain two Cloudsteps from a single target. This is a very useful skill that will help tremendously when learning to Speedrun this game.
- RDE: ROPE DART EVERYTHING!! Rope Dart as much as you can because it makes Ninja move much faster than just walking or jumping alone.
- Water Dash: Currents Master is a shop upgrade that allows you to dash through water, allowing for much faster movement through water.
- Water Yeet: When using a Water Dash near the top of a body of water, you can jump/dash out of the water. This will allow you to maintain your momentum until you land on the ground or hit an object. By combining a Water Yeet and Cloudstepping, this will allow you to maintain full dash momentum through entire rooms.
- Windmill Shuriken: Gained by collecting all 45 Power Seals. This item is a must-have for anyone looking to play New Game+ (NG+). Windmill Shuriken are self-regenerating and allow you to attack targets through walls.
- Windmill Juggling: Throwing a Windmill Shuriken and successfully jumping/ducking around the shuriken will cause it to circle around Ninja indefinitely. Expert runners will juggle 3 shuriken at the same time, allowing for MASSIVE damage to bosses.
- Quick Glide: While using WIngsuit, quickly tap the jump button to make Ninja do a mid-air somersault. This will allow Ninja to slightly extend and slow his fall. Useful to clear obstacles while falling without fully deploying the WIngsuit.
There are a lot of advanced strats that are utilized throughout the Speedrun. For more info on these strats, please join The Messenger Speedrunning Discord at https://discord.gg/ccRjvk. We have a collection of strats as well as very knowledgeable people that can help you learn anything you need to know about the Speedrun. Examples include:
- Boss One-Cycles
- Spike Tower Skip
- Badonkadonk Ruxxtin Skip
- Badoink+ Ruxxtin Skip
- Bamboo Wanderer Skip
- Entu Skip
- One-Tile Jumps
- Grotto Yeet
- Blue Steel and Reverse Blue Steel
- DK Skip
- Ballfred and Manfred Juggling
- River Yeet
- Riviere Bird Skip
- Rhythm Bird
- Enemy Teleports
- Enemy Leashing
- Too Many Others to Name...
This game is basically divided into 3 sections: 8 Bit, Linear and Second Quest. This is a basic overview of each of the levels:
8 Bit Section
- Ninja Village: The first level in the game. You are introduced to Ninja and the Demon Army. Cloudstepping is first introduced in this level. This is also where you meet the Western Hero and are given the Scroll.
- Autumn Hills: This level presents the first real challenge in the game. Ninja gets to fight enemies and learn more about movement and Cloudstepping in general. There is also water, spikes and other obstacles. This is where the first boss of the game appears, the Leaf Golem. Ninja also get to meet the Shopkeeper and is introduced to shop upgrades and time shards.
- Forlorn Temple: Ninja's first visit here is very brief. Quickly run and jump down the platforms to proceed to the next section. Don't worry, you'll be back...
- Catacombs: Ninja first meets a new creature, the Phobekin. There are 4 total Phobekins in the game. Platforming is more difficult here and this level is very cycle based. Good timing is required to get quick cycles and avoiding spikes and other perils. At the end of the level is the second boss, Ruxxtin. We all pray for a high Ruxxtin...
- Bamboo Creek: The first level without a boss. Just keep moving quickly to get through this stage. Extensive Double Cloudstepping is required to get through this area quickly.
- Howling Grotto: Platforming continues to get more difficult in this level. Ninja learns the ability to glide with the Wingsuit, which allows for traveling longer distances in the air as well as traversing more difficult areas with pits and spikes. The boss of this level is one of the hardest in the game, the Emerald Golem. There are 2 phases to the boss fight, one that involves attacking the Emerald Golem directly and a second that involves attacking the emerald spirit directly.
- Quillshroom Marsh: Everything in this level is pretty standard and not a lot of new stuff to learn. Ninja is introduced to quick sand, which can later be traversed with the Lightfoot Tabi. The boss of this level is the Queen of Quills, who Ninja later learns is actually an ally...
- Searing Crags: Ninja gains the Rope Dart at the first shop in the level, which is probably the most useful tool for Speedrunning this game. There are multiple vertical sections in the Crags. The levels are getting more difficult at this point, but the Rope Dart makes things much easier to move forward. Enemies, lanterns and walls can be rope darted to move quickly. Rope Dart rings are also introduced, which allow for quick flying movement. By Rope Darting a ring and immediately using the Wingsuit, Ninja can float for long distances quickly. The bosses at the end of the level are Colos and Suses, the only double boss enemy in the game. Colos is attacked from the back while Suses is attacked from the front. Rope darting through the bosses can help prevent damage, as well as quickly attacking them until they send Ninja to the next level.
- Glacial Peak: This level is mostly vertical with a lot of climbing areas. The biggest obstacle is the introduction of ice physics. Learning when to run and when to let go of all directions is essential for efficient movement. There are pits and spikes all over the place, so effective use of the Rope Dart and Wingsuit are mandatory. There is not a boss in this level, so just try to get through as quickly as possible, bringing us to possibly the most difficult area of the game
- Tower of Time: This is the final level of the 8 Bit section of the game. Ninja has to use all of the skills that he has learned up to this point, and adds the additional challenge of lasers. Lasers take more damage than anything else in this game (other than pits, obviously...) . At the end of the level is the Arcane Golem. This boss is difficult and requires a lot of practice and patience when trying to learn how to beat him quickly. For reference, the fastest Speedrunners can beat the Arcane Golem in about 20 seconds...
- Cloud Ruins: Ninja is introduced to the next phase of the game: 16 bit. Not only do the graphics get an upgrade, but the sound does as well (shout out to RainbowDragonEyes for the music). Expect more platforming with a new mechanic introduced: autoscrolling. In this level we also encounter possibly the most hated room in the game, the Banshee Pit. There is a section that has almost no floor and requires effective jumping and rope darting to avoid death. At the end is the boss that is widely considered the hardest in the game, Evil Manfred. Getting a successful Ballfred or Manfred Juggle is very difficult but can help minimize the amount of time to move on to the next level.
- Underworld: This level is the culmination of the Linear portion of this game. Not a lot of new stuff to learn, just try to stay alive while avoiding a new obstacle; lava. Even though damage boosting through lava is possible, just touching lava will normally result in instant death. This is one of the more difficult levels in the game, but efficient Speedrunning the level is extremely satisfying. At the end, we find one of the main bad guys, the Demon General. This boss is the fastest that we have encountered and there are multiple strats for defeating him quickly. After beating the Demon General, we are forced down to certain death, until....
Our friend MANFRED SAVES THE DAY!!!
After we complete the Linear part of the game, we learn that there is more to the world than meets the eye. Our scroll is actually a map and we enter into the Second Quest.
Since the game opens up into a "Metroidvania" style game at this point, there are multiple branching paths that can be done in almost any order, as long as you have the items needed to progress. We are trying to collect 6 music notes to move on to the final level in the game. There are also different items that will need to be collected, depending on skill level and the game play mode (New Game, NG+, etc). There are 8 bit and 16 bit variations of every level, as well as warps that will instantly transport Ninja between the two different eras. Here is a brief overview of additional levels found in the Second Quest:
- Dark Cave: While this level is very short, it is completely dark and can be difficult if you don't know where to go or what to do. After some practice, this level can easy to do "blind," but the Ordinary Wax Candle can be used to see your way through the darkness.
- Riviere Turquoise: This level is immediately after the Dark Cave and has multiple difficult platforming sections. One of the most satisfying Speedrun strats is in this level, known as the River Yeet. Ninja encounters the Butterfly Matriarch (aka: Batterfly). This is not a very difficult boss, which can be defeated by the second phase, and the invisible platforms are always in the same spot, even if you can't see them.
- Sunken Shrine: This level is probably the most important level in regards to the lore of the game. Difficult platforming with several nice skips and strats. We also get the Lightfoot Tabi here, which allows Ninja to run on any liquid surface: water, quicksand and lava. We are also introduced to the sun and moon god(dess), who inform us that we are living in a fallen world.
- Elemental Skylands: After we free our friend Manfred from his ice prison, he carries Ninja to the Elemental Skylands. Here we have to traverse autoscroller schmup sections in addition to platforming areas named after the elements: air, earth, water and fire. Each section has its own challenges, but nothing that we haven't seen before. At the end, we fight the Clockwork Concierge, a large flying robot that has three phases. All of the phases are similar and require a lot of mashing, but it is not a very difficult boss.
- Corrupted Future: This level is pretty straightforward and Ninja just needs to free the fireflies to keep advancing until you reach the largest boss in the game, the Abomination. Ninja doesn't really fight the Abomination and only needs to run away. The easiest way to accomplish this is by doing the Abomination Skip, which just requires rope darting the ring and gliding into the note. If done properly, Ninja will subsequently fall into the pit causing him to die. By doing this, Ninja will reappear at the entrance, completely skipping the chase sequence.
- Music Box: The final level in the game. The most difficult platforming sections are here. The level is almost completely cycle based, mostly in time with the music. Very good patience, skill and practice are required to do this level effectively. At the end, we encounter Phantom. This is not the most difficult boss, but it takes a lot of skill and patience to avoid his attacks and defeat the Demon Curse once and for all!!
While this is not an extensive list of everything in the game, it is a "brief" overview of what to expect when playing through the game. Please be sure to check out SRC at https://www.speedrun.com/the_messenger/guides and The Messenger Speedrunning Discord at https://discord.gg/ccRjvk for additional info and any help that you may need to become a master at this game!!!