The Music Never Stopped


Time to check out a drama film involving a whole lot of music. Music has been shown to have a lot of positive effects on the mind over the years so it’s not surprising that it would have a lot of medical applications as well. Even for exercise and studying it’s been shown that having music on helps a lot as well. In this film we see it put to practical use.

The movie starts with Henry and his wife Helen being called to the hospital as their son has been admitted to the hospital. He suffered severe damage to his brain and an operation was needed. He has now lost the ability to store new memories and also can’t really move or talk much. It’s not that he physically can’t, but his mind has been crippled to a very serious degree so his actions are limited and don’t always make a lot of sense.

Henry takes this especially hard as he finds it hard to talk to Gabriel in this state. Ultimately his job quickly fires him since corporate saw this as their chance so Helen ends up getting a job which means that Henry will be the one who visits Gabriel. The situation doesn’t change for a while and the doctors offer no hope but that when we get a breakthrough. Music is the way to reach Gabriel. Henry is able to find a music doctor who specializes in using music like this although she has not handled a situation quite like this before.

The music works but only for tracks that Gabriel has a history with. Each song is tied to a specific memory and as the film goes on he is able to have normal conversations outside of the memory but he is still doomed to forget them as soon as the song ends. So it’s a tough situation but clearly a better one than from the start of the film where any kind of conversation was completely hopeless.

The movie is apparently based on a true story or at least from a story created by a neurologist based on a true experience so it’s sort of 2 layers deep. I’m not sure exactly how closely it follows those events as this film is an indie title so it’s not easy to get a lot of details out there. I’m sure it’s around if you’re willing to look such as Wikipedia and such but if you haven’t seen the film yet then it may make sense to go in without knowing the details or you may spoil the ending and the adventure for yourself.

Henry’s a good main character. He certainly isn’t perfect with how he handles the situations but you can also see from his side why he’s not too happy with Gabriel’s decisions. The guy decided to skip college, started losing track of time and hanging out with his friends at long hours and even tries to sneak away to a concert. Just when things seemed to be going well he went and burned the flag which is something I doubt the two could ever properly see eye to eye on. It’s no small thing to do something like that.

Still, Henry does make the effort to get to know Gabriel more in the present as they start creating new memories. Even if Gabriel may not remember them, at least the events did happen. As for Gabriel, I definitely didn’t like him in any of the flashbacks but at least he’s mellowed out a lot after the accident. The film also shows enough improvement where you can reasonably believe that he will continue to get better after the end of the movie as well.

Helen’s role grows smaller after the beginning scenes since most of the movie is about Henry and Gabriel finally connecting but she was consistently good in all her scenes. She put on a brave face at all times and when Henry would make a questionable move or wasn’t ready to handle the situation yet she was always right there to make things right.

There were also some supporting characters of course like the music psychiatrist who helped make a lot of the breakthroughs with Gabriel. Without her the characters definitely wouldn’t have seen nearly as much progress. There’s also Celia who was one of the cooks at the hospital. I would say her plot is definitely more on the somber side due to how it goes though.

One thing you’ll notice about the film is that it likes to keep on throwing more emotional moments at you. The characters are never really allowed to just rest and have a good time. There’s always another tragedy they have to deal with to the point where even by the end you’re always waiting to see what will happen next. Gabriel and the others really can’t catch a break.

Overall, The Music Never Stopped is certainly an emotional film. The events had to be really tough on everyone who was involved in the real situation. If you want to watch a film about tragedy and overcoming it then this is a good one to check out. While it keeps a rather sad tone throughout the movie it never goes out of its way to be too dark and you do have your share of happy moments even if they don’t stay for long. You’ll also get to hear a whole lot of different music during the film as well so maybe you’ll see a few tracks that you like.

Nomads Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

This is one of those films where the whole thing doesn’t make much sense so you just have to roll with it. The problem is that you can only roll with a film that actually has an engaging cast and quality characters…this one has neither. So Nomads is really doomed from the start and at no point in the film does it become all that engaging or interesting. You’ll definitely want to stay pretty far away from this one.

The movie starts with Jean being treated in the hospital but he doesn’t quite make it. Before he dies though, he manages to bite Dr. Eileen. The bite isn’t quite like a radioactive spider bite though because instead of super powers, she now has to relive the last few days/years of Jean’s life. She sees as he begins to unravel as he sees Nomads everywhere and they are going to take care of him for good. Can Jena avoid having the same fate or is she doomed here?

A really big portion of the film is devoted to the flashback of what happened to Jean. Ignoring the huge problem in that we already know he’s going to die anyway so the whole thing is rather empty, he’s just not a good character. His wife Niki is pretty reasonable the whole time and just seems like a nice person. Jean decides not to tell her anything though and then goes on pretty dangerous hunts to follow the Nomads and take pictures of them.

He takes a lot of pictures throughout and is constantly daring them to see him. Maybe he’s planning to write the biggest essay to end all essays but he really didn’t need this many pictures. Of course they would find him. He also knows that they’re dangerous since from the start they are writing disturbing messages all around and they flat out murder some random guy in a later scene. All Jean is doing is putting his wife in danger as well. The fact that he is keeping all of these secrets also means that Niki won’t be prepared when it’s her turn.

It’d be fun if we got to see Eileen reacting as she sees this by shaking her head or something. Unfortunately the magical bite from Jean means that she has to physically relive his events. So she is sort of playing a VR game you can say as she retraces his steps and looks rather crazy doing it. At least that makes it easy for the Nomads to track her down although to be fair they probably would have found her anyway.

So, this film is going for the classic horror approach of making the villains more powerful than any mere mortal. The characters can’t possibly do anything about them since their sheer numbers are crazy and they are probably all undead monsters anyway. The Nomads seem to want to torment the characters as much as possible by overloading them with fear before finishing them off. At least that would explain why they keep some characters alive. I guess maybe the guy in the dumpster scene didn’t give them the scared reaction they wanted so that’s why they destroyed him? I dunno and I don’t think the film does either.

Unfortunately Eileen isn’t a great character either. Sure, she’s better than Jean but it isn’t saying much. She immediately starts keeping secrets as well as she tries to uncover the French warning that Jean gave her before dying. Unfortunately it was not very helpful though. It basically boils down to “They’re coming to get you!”. Okay, it wasn’t that direct but essentially it’s that their spirits are everywhere so it’s not like you can beat them either. I wouldn’t say the end of the film leaves much hope for them either. In some ways you can draw some similarities to Fallen. The villain is around and you just have to hope that you don’t catch their attention. Once you do then it’s check mate.

The film can get randomly violent at times although I wouldn’t put it in the same ballpark as your average horror film or anything like that. Characters get beaten up pretty badly and since the opening takes place in a hospital get ready for one character needing to get live stitches. Still, it’s a little tamer than you would expect, but it’s not like that is going to do anything to save the film anyway. The whole story just feels like nonsense and the character cast is incredibly weak.

There is no real reason to fear the Nomads or find them as interesting characters because they have no personality. They seem like a bunch of juvenile delinquents who just so happen to have super powers and a matching fashion sense. They all wear the same leather jackets and try to take down as many heroes as possible. That’s it….that’s the extent of their character development. Then characters who are starting to have some development like Eileen’s doctor friend…just vanish later on. I suppose there isn’t much reason to keep them around but the cast was rather tiny so maybe at least have him help in the fight.

Of course, the odds of anyone believing you are slim since the Nomads only let some people see them. Pretty handy for their crew since it mans no backup will be coming. To get invested in a film you need something to latch onto but this film has nothing. There’s no scene where you can grab on and say “This was pretty interesting”. It just doesn’t happen and since the film is rather aimless, the scenes hit with the power of a bowl of soup.

Overall, Nomads is not a film I would recommend in the slightest. It could have been worse I suppose like if the guy owned a dog but the whole thing feels really pointless. There isn’t anything particularly positive to say about the film. If Jean had just minded his own business from the start then maybe none of this would have happened. If he had been frank with Niki then maybe at least he could have had a real plan. Instead he goes rogue and takes much bigger risks than he ever should have even considered. At least in that sense he’s like one of those old school horror protagonists who always makes the wrong call at every turn. If you want to watch a horror title definitely skip past this one.

Overall 2/10

ABZÛ Review


Abzu is one of those games where you’re going to be doing a lot of exploring. The very premise of the game is effectively that you are underwater and just trying to have a good time. Unfortunately as things go on you can expect to face off against some powerful foes and this may be a deadlier swim than you had ever intended. The fact that the game has some lore and a bit of a story is always a nice bonus. The game isn’t very long but the time could definitely end up extending if you get lost or something which is very easy since there is no map.

The first half of the game is really focused on just swimming around but there is usually a general pattern. You have to find a way to power up the two chains leading into the main statue. To do this, you will have to usually find either a generator to turn on or have your robot blast through something. Your little drone robots are incredibly handy I should add so if you find one on the ground, make sure to pick it up. That being said, I think it may be mandatory anyway so you’ll find yourself doing that at some point.

The only active button you need to use in the game is the square button which allows you to interact with objects. This is how you progress items and get farther in the game. If you see an orange triangle show up anywhere then you have found exactly what you were looking for. That is your ticket. There are also meditation zones where you can space out for a while. It’s an interesting concept to be sure but….I don’t think you really need to worry about that one for too long outside of trophies.

The soundtrack is fairly mild here as it’s going for a very laidback array of music where you don’t even notice it half the time. I’d love some more rock themes or something of course but I do get why they didn’t go that way. The graphics are good. They don’t look quite as solid as the Thumper levels of course but all things considered I think they did a good job here. The explosions from the enemy squares were also good.

The second half of the game definitely picks up in the excitement factor since we get some actual action scenes and a sense of danger. It’s still nothing too high end of course as the focus is ultimately on exploration but it was a nice way to make things more interesting. There are a lot of paintings to establish some kind of lore and my personal guess is that humanity was wiped out by these robotic aliens. The main character managed to escape but he’s just not sure what to do anymore. That’s why he’s wondering around all over the place. I assume perhaps he has amnesia or something like that which I think would make sense in the context of the story.

I’ll definitely give Abzu credit for having large levels though. Part of why you can get lost in the first place is because the levels are absolutely massive. You can just be running around for ages and ages as you get used to the place. While you are in the water for 99% of the game, there are brief moments where you get to go on land. That was definitely fun and I wouldn’t have minded more sections like that. Land based movement is ultimately still the best if you ask me although 3D flying comes at a close second. Being able to do both kinds of movement like in Superman for Gamecube is ideal.

Overall, Abzu is a very low key game. My first impressions of it weren’t great but the game did soften me up as it went along. It ultimately became a game that could stand up on its own. Slowly but surely it got more interesting and that’s a good way to go out. Better to have an unimpressive opening and a solid ending than vice versa. Things got a little dicey for a minute there when it seemed like something was going to happen to the Shark but fortunately that was not the case. It’s not really the kind of game I would go out of my way to buy personally, but when it’s free like this I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. If you’re up for a game about exploring then this is as good a title as any to check out. That said, if you want something that’s a lot more plot focused involving water then you’re going to want to check out Super Mario Sunshine which to this day may be the definitive water based game.

Overall 6/10

Q-YO Blaster Review


It’s time to look at a game I got for a pretty solid price on the Nintendo Eshop. After buying the latest Super Smash season I had some gold coins to spare and considering this game usually goes for 10 it was a steal. This is your classic bullet hell kind of game. It’s definitely nothing fancy and the game is fairly short, but it makes for a fun ride. I’ll give the game some extra props for actually having a real story mode with an ongoing plot. Even if the story is a little hard to follow.

From what I gather, there is a group of space fighters who have been dealing with a powerful enemy across many planets. They’ve finally tracked him down but he has a few more tricks up his sleeve. Right from the jump I can confirm that not all of the characters make it through this adventure so don’t grow too attached to them. Some of them just weren’t ready for this kind of rumble and it shows. The cutscenes can also get a bit violent which you may not expect from such a seemingly upbeat game. Don’t let the cartoons fool you, the game has some Bendy kind of themes beneath the surface.

Part of what made this game standout to me was the colorful art style. It reminded me a bit of Cuphead and I haven’t even played that game yet. You just get that nice fantasy feel only this time you’re in outer space. The villains range from cartoon type creations to giant abomination type monsters. You really never know what you are going to expect from each level and the constant guessing is what will keep you intrigued. This game is really about being as surreal and out of the box as possible which works out pretty well. It helps the game stand out which is important since the Eshop has almost limitless games at its disposal.

For the gameplay you start out by picking your fighter and weapon of choice. Afterwards you’re thrown into the levels and the idea is to blast away at the enemies in front of you. Grab as many orbs as possible because they let you fire off your super laser more often. Additionally you also have a pulse that turns all enemy bullets into coins so you should definitely save that for when you really need it. It takes a while to reload this so if you use it early on, chances are that you won’t get it again until the next level. You want to pace yourself here although the levels are pretty short. I recommend saving all techniques and power ups for the boss at the end of the level because that’s when it will be most efficient.

After each level you are able to pick a power up to use. By the end of the game you will have them all so it’s really just a matter of which one you want to go after first. The order doesn’t make much of a difference but I do like this approach. It’s always really handy to be able to see your character improve as the game goes on. The length of the game is pretty short though. You should have it completed in around 30 minutes. For replay value you can play the game on hard, but I don’t think that will be a very tempting offer for most. Part of the issue here is that the enemies don’t really get more difficult in terms of attack patterns, mainly they just get a lot more health. It’s hard to beat just about anyone and makes the levels drag on more. I only did around 1 level of hard mode before calling it a day here.

The graphics are pretty nice. As I mentioned earlier, the art style is solid which is important. My only real complaint is that the font color they used was a poor choice. It’s a light blue that seems to camouflage with the various backgrounds throughout the game. That’s just not a very good stylistic choice. You have to strain your eyes to keep up with the text which just feels like a basic mistake. I’ve never had a game mess up with the wording colors before and am surprised it wasn’t caught during play testing. It’s not a huge deal but it is quite noticeable.

Overall, Q-Yo Blaster is a fun bullet hell game. Considering that it’s only a dollar on the Nintendo Switch Eshop right now I’d say that’s a bargain. It’s not particularly long and you may not play it for long but I’ve always said that you can’t go wrong for a dollar. It’ll last you longer than a cheeseburger from McDonalds or any other kind of food that you can buy for that price. You just can’t go wrong here and I think that’s the important thing in all of this. I’d recommend checking it out and testing your reaction times. You’ll need to be fast to dodge all of the attacks.

Overall 6/10

September Review


It’s time to look at one of those films that is pretty terrible. The very premise should clue you in to this though so at least it won’t come as any surprise. The whole plot basically revolves around cheating with none of the characters being strong enough to leave the house. That would have been the best way to avoid the drama. It drags on and on so by the time you walk out of the theater (Or more realistically walking out of the TV room since nobody is seeing this in theaters right now) you’ll just be ready for a good meal and to act as if the film never happened.

The film starts with Lane and her friend Stephanie meeting up at Lane’s place. For some reason I thought they were sisters, but they’re just best friends. They’re joined by Lane’s parents Diane and Lloyd as well as a guy named Howard and Lane’s boyfriend Peter. Having this many people around the house definitely ensures that there will be drama, but things get a little worse than that. Peter decides that he wants to start going out with Stephanie even though she is currently married. Howard wants to be with Lane, but that plot is so pointless that the film doesn’t care about it either so it gets almost no screen time. Meanwhile Diane just wants to have her book written but everyone is too selfish to help her out with it. What cane Lane do about all of this?

Whenever a movie is all about cheating it’s just not going to be good. The whole premise is pretty mean spirited and none of the characters are good. Stephanie is pretty guilty for even giving Peter a moment of her time. She claims that she was trying to get him to notice her for a while so she started the whole thing even though she’s married. That’s already a pretty big strike against her character. There are some things you just don’t do and trying to have an affair once you are taken is a big one. She also gets pretty defensive at Lane afterwards for this even though she is the one in the wrong. It’s a common reaction and one that doesn’t help her case.

Meanwhile we have Peter who is also terrible. Whether he was encouraged or not it doesn’t change the fact that he knows Stephanie already has a man as well. He is also quick to ditch Lane and blames it on being overly emotional. That’s not even remotely a good excuse and short of being mind controlled I can’t think of any that would have saved him either way. The guy is just quick to use people.

Then there is Lane and she’s not a good lead either. For starters she is never around and doesn’t try to confront Peter all that much. She’s too cautious and keeps her emotions grounded which doesn’t let her face up to what is happening right under her nose. She doesn’t handle any of the situations in the film well. Her hand in life is definitely a tough one here since nothing goes her way, but it would have been nice if she could have done something earlier.

Diane is the most enjoyable character in the film although she still makes mistakes of her own. Her decision to move back into the house when Lane was going to sell it was pretty selfish. It was probably the only time in the film where she appeared to be super unreasonable. Her decision to have a book made isn’t quite so bad because it is still her life. At the end of the day if she wants her story to be told then I don’t really think the other characters can object all that much. Also lets face it, Peter wasn’t going to finish his novel anyway.

Then there’s Howard, but there’s still nothing to say about him. He is pointless in the film as his plot gets the least amount of screen time and it doesn’t amount to anything. He’s way too old for anyone to be going with him here and he seems to realize that as he just walks out pretty silently. If the other characters could have just walked out like that rather than sticking around then maybe the film would have ended up with a happier ending. As it stands I can’t see the group getting together for a nice dinner anytime soon. The whole business probably left them pretty sore with each other.

Beyond the fact that the plot is lousy with a terrible cast of characters, the film is also pretty boring. It all takes place in one setting at the house so there is no variety. The plot is small enough for a 30 minute special so it has to be stretched out quite a lot with random plots to be a full movie. Nothing eventful happens here and you’d probably learn more just watching the news for a little while. The film makers weren’t able to succeed in getting any kind of emotion from the audience with the scenes found here. It’s all just darkly lit possibly in the hopes of saving on the budget.

Another part of the problem is really how half heartedly the characters resist making the wrong choices. If they were villains then at least you’d expect them to travel down these dark roads without remorse. By half heartedly saying that they won’t do this thing and then cheat a few minutes later it makes the characters look even worse. They couldn’t have been very serious if the situation would flip so suddenly. The only sympathetic characters here are the ones trying to buy the house and after the way they were treated I’d be surprised if they still wanted to make the sale.

Overall, September is definitely a pretty terrible film. Whenever the main characters are involved in an affair like this it’s just not going to go well. It’s a pretty big betrayal to say the least and with none of the characters getting a satisfying ending except possibly for Diane you can’t end the movie on a high note either. There’s nothing particularly positive about this film so I’d suggest staying as far away as possible. Hopefully if they make a film called October someday it will be a lot more impressive.

Overall 0/10

Transistor Review


It’s time to look at a video game I just managed to complete today. It’s not a title that I was familiar with before playing so it’s always fun to enter a game blind. It’s definitely got a very cryptic environment which works well like Bendy or Undertale. Like those games there is a deep plot that you’ll understand if you pay attention and do a lot of the bonus content, but if not then you’ve got the dedicated fans who will spell it out for you online. It’s a fun experience although I do have to give the ending a thumbs down.

The movie starts off with the lead Red as she wakes up next to someone who’s been stabbed. The enemy had tried to destroy her, but they ended up getting this guy instead. When she takes the sword out it talks to her and reveals his name to be Transistor. Red’s voice was unfortunately damaged so she can no longer talk. Red used to be a singer so this was pretty tragic. The whole city (Maybe the whole world?) has been taken over by a robotic army led by the Camerata. Red needs to take them all down and steal their souls to try and find a way to revive Transistor. Unfortunately the entire city is basically a ghost town at this point so she has to wonder how much progress she is actually making.

If you want a more detailed plot definitely check out Wikipedia as they’ve got it all down there. You’ll get the basic plot as you play the game, but don’t expect to learn it all right away since it is part mystery. The pieces start to add up and you’ll come across a lot of news articles and blogs in the game. There are terminals that can be found just about anywhere. You get extra trophies for interacting with everything so it’s not a bad idea to check them all out. Now lets talk about the gameplay. You are able to hum with one button and another lets you sweep a bit. You’ll never need to use either technique, but it’s nice to have them around.

The actual gameplay is Xcom style, but with a dash of real time action. You manuever your character through a sealed off area as you try to eliminate all of the enemies. You can attack in real time with one hit at a time or you can freeze time and use a few actions as a combo. The latter is pretty much mandatory as you progress through the game. Hitting an enemy from behind will deal more damage but then you have to try and calculate their trajectory to land the follow-up hit. There’s a ton of strategy to consider here which is pretty cool. Then you’ve got a robust level up system which unlocks more powers. You have to choose which ones to equip and which to keep on standby as you have very limited space. You also have limiters you can put on which further restricts your memory, but gives you more XP per fight. I turned on every limiter I had until the very final boss.

It was fun to take off my limiters as if this was DBZ and then go wild on the guy. It will ensure you have more of a challenge throughout the game, but in my opinion it’s worth it because every level up helps you out considerably. This is the kind of game where level ups make a huge difference. You also have a beach house you can go to in order to do extra fights and grind some XP as well. There’s no need to do it as the game is challenging, but not crazy. Still, the option is there so you will want to keep it in mind. Also make sure to destroy the enemy cores after you beat the minions since they will revive within 5-8 seconds otherwise.

The actual game is fairly short at about 3-4 hours. You can stretch this out to around 8 or so if you go for everything. I think one of the trophies is for beating the game twice as well so getting the Platinum will take quite a lot of time. It’s a short title, but a fun one so I expect you’ll have a fun time regardless. The deciding factor here will likely be how you enjoy the gameplay. I liked it a lot since strategy is my thing. It’s the kind of “puzzle” in a sense that I can actually enjoy. I also did like the cryptic plot. In a way games can be extra fun when they never tell you what’s going on. You get to fill in all the blanks and whenever a game/film/any kind of media hides things rather than spelling it out I think it works really well. It just adds on to that mystery angle.

The graphics here look pretty good. It’ll remind you of some of the alien games for the Wii. Naturally this isn’t going to look at high end as the average AAA PS4 game, but it’s all still very smooth and leak. I also like the illustrations that pop up after each level. They look quite grand and I’m sure quite a lot of effort was put into them. Some of these are interactive as well so always be sure to stay sharp. As for the soundtrack, I can’t say that it was very memorable. It was cool that we got actual songs though. The song that played during the first level was quite good. I was surprised that we didn’t get many more after that, but considering that it has a full soundtrack I imagine there are a ton more that were created for the game.

As I mentioned the ending isn’t very satisfying though. I can’t really talk about it at all without spoilers, but it didn’t really work. I will say that it’s not all that selfish on Red’s part since as I mentioned there aren’t a lot of people around anymore. I was just against it on principal, but in her shoes its not as if the decision doesn’t make sense. It makes sense for sure, but in the same logic that a lot of villains tend to use in various series. It was unexpected though, I’ll definitely grant the game that. I did not think it was heading in that direction at all.

Overall, Transistor is a fun game. It’s definitely one of those titles that is a lot of fun for the experience. Once you know how things are going to end up I don’t think you would be able to play it through for a second time. At least not for a long while. At the same time the new game + may give you extra story details which would be cool. There is a lot of post game content here as well as you try to max out your level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I’d recommend checking it out. I don’t think you should really be paying more than $20 for it though considering the short length. Once you start you will definitely be sucked into it and hopefully we do get a sequel someday. It doesn’t feel very likely based on the ending though.

Overall 7/10

The Messenger Review


It’s time to look at a recent game known as the Messenger. This one takes your classic 2D platformer genre and throws in some Metroidvania mechanics. It’s also part parody so it pokes fun at a lot of the usual tropes. It’s a pretty solid game, but one that would have risen up to great status if it had just not added in the Metroidvania aspect. The title didn’t really need it to be a complete title as the story and length would have still been pretty sufficient.

The game starts with the main character’s village being attacked by demons. The lead had been complaining about how boring the place was so he starts to feel a little regret as everyone is slain and he is powerless before the Demon King. Fortunately there is a prophecy that a legendary hero will arrive to save everyone. Unfortunately the hero was late so he gives you a letter to deliver to someone on top of a mountain to really save the day. You are now the Messenger and the fate of the planet rests on you. If you don’t deliver this letter then everyone is truly doomed.

That’s the basic plot but of course there’s a lot more to it than that. The second half of the game in particular really throws in a lot of other elements like time travel and other dimensions. It’s all explained pretty well though so you’ll have no trouble getting what is going on. There is also a long cutscene near the end of the game to explain the origins of how this all happened. It’s pretty interesting and the game has a nice vibe to it. The main character has more personality than I would have expected.

The writing is particularly strong here. As I hinted at earlier with the parody elements, the script is a lot of fun. The characters are constantly throwing shade around and insulting each other. For the soundtrack, it’s pretty calming. The best theme in the game is the shop tune. There are 2 themes that are randomly selected when you go to the shop, but at least 50% of the time. You’ll be hearing the really hype tune. Then for the graphics it’s all very clear. It’s got that classic sprite vibe, but it’s not blurry or retro in the slightest. It’s like a very modern version of a sprite game and that’s definitely okay by me. You always feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.

Meanwhile the gameplay is just as solid. You run and jump through the levels and are armed with your sword as well as Shuriken. Those are the only weapons you have, but they get the job done. Then you have the interesting air mechanic which is basically an extra jump you get whenever you hit an opponent or an obstacle while in the air. This leads to some pretty intense platforming sections during the later parts of the game. You’ll actually have to try quite a bit if you want to clear those levels. It’s no longer a walk in the park. It’s a satisfying level of difficulty and there are constant checkpoints so you are never worried about being sent too far back. The game design was quite solid.

So far this is sounding like an amazing game right? Well, that’s because it was quite great throughout. From the start of the game all the way to the big confrontation with the demon king’s right hand man it was a fast paced adventure filled with great platforming and a solid level up system. After that is where the game hit a big hurdle. Up til this point it was a straight forward adventure, but after beating the demon you are sent back to the time chamber and must now go back through all of the old levels to find some music notes. Keep in mind that going through these levels took hours the first time. You are given some portal shortcuts to jump around, but not nearly enough. Get ready to spend 4-5 hours just running around collecting. To get a music note you must first do other things like helping explorers and dragons.

This part was pretty tedious. It’s handled far better than a game like Metroid since you at least know where to go thanks to hints from the shop owner. Of course that will cost you quite a few shards so it’ll keep you from buying other power ups for a while. You’ll be crossing the same levels over and over again multiple times as you try to near the end. This part just felt like it was here to stall for time and I think it shouldn’t have done that. I definitely prefer when things are linear or if you’re back tracking with a purpose. At the very least you should have the ability to quickly get to where you want to go instead of having to hoof it the old fashioned way.

Ah well, that’s really the only gripe with the game that slows it down quite a bit. Once you have the music notes then you enter the climax and things get pretty exciting again. All in all, the game had a lot of really fun ideas. The shop owner was definitely one of the best characters in the game but I also liked the lead a lot. The game throws a quick fake ending at you twice and both times it worked really well. I actually think it would have been awesome if the game ended with the first ending as it would have subverted everything so convincingly. It still works without ending there of course, but it shows that the writers really knew what they were doing. They made the game in a way where you would be satisfied no matter what.

As for replay value, there are some things to do here. When you beat the game you can start a New Game +. Additionally you can work to getting the Platinum Trophy in this game which certainly won’t be easy to do. I managed to get most of the trophies in the game but there are 2 tough ones that I feel would take a long time which is the dark cave one and another where you have to beat most of the game without dying. That’s a pretty tough thing to do, but if you’re dedicated to clearing the game then you’ll manage. I definitely recommend getting as many of the upgrades as you can early on. Earning money isn’t very tough so you shouldn’t have much of a problem. Getting the upgrade that gives you triple attack is extremely handy.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out The Messengers. It’s around 10 hours long so it’ll definitely last you for a while and it’s just a fun look at the platforming genre. Keep in mind that the second half of the game will slow things down, but all in all the first half and the climax should still keep things up. The game does end with a “To be Continued” message so maybe someday we’ll get a sequel. I’d be down with checking that out and it would be interesting to see where the plot goes from here. The ending was fairly definitive if you ask me so I’m thinking it’ll either be a totally new main character or he is just thrown into some crazy situation that the blue cloaked warriors didn’t tell him about.

Overall 6/10