The Messenger: Picnic Panic Review: A Fast and Fun Side Quest

by David Sanchez September 2, 2019 @ 12:37 pm

Reviewed on PlayStation 4

The Messenger is easily one of the best action games of the year. If you previously played through it and are looking for a reason to return to Sabotage Studio’s ninja-themed Metroidvania, you’re in store for a treat — a bite-sized treat, but a worthwhile one nonetheless. The Messenger: Picnic Panic is a free dose of DLC that adds about two hours of play time to the main campaign, and it makes for a highly entertaining two hours.

Does This Make Sense? Who Cares!

The Messenger: Picnic Panic takes place in an alternate timeline from the original. In this continuity, the Phobekins — those adorable, rotund critters you met in the main story — decide to have a picnic at the beach. Things go awry when they’re kidnapped and their fear is being used to power an evil energy. Like the story in the base campaign, the plot of Picnic Panic is sort of just there to give you a reason to dive head first into adventure. It works for what it is.

The first stage in Picnic Panic begins like any other picnic: with a ninja surfing across the ocean and battling a giant sea monster. Yeah, The Messenger may have had some funny moments before, but this DLC kicks things off in a really wild manner. Speaking of the game’s humor, sadly, the writing isn’t as sharp this time around, which is a shame considering how great the dialogue was in the original campaign.

More Messenger — For the Most Part, That Is

While The Messenger did a good job of providing traditional Metroidvania mechanics and combining them with fast-paced combat and slick acrobatics, Picnic Panic is more straight-up platformer than Metroidvania. Throughout the roughly two-hour campaign, there’s not much reason to go back and forth between areas. The straightforward approach is fine in this instance given that this is a short DLC add-on, but if you dug the way the base game challenged you to explore the world, that element will be missed here.

Most of what’s offered in Picnic Panic is fun. Well, with the exception of a late game boss. That guy kind of sucks, and even after I’d figured out how to defeat him, I just didn’t find the encounter all that fun. Thankfully, the finale is salvaged by the final boss, which is a great throwback to a classic NES game.

There are a few collectibles and secrets here and there, but overall, Picnic Panic is a simple dose of more Messenger. It’s entertaining, it has some great music, and it’s free. I would’ve probably paid a few bucks for this expansion anyway, but at no cost whatsoever, The Messenger: Picnic Panic is a neat little addition to an already fantastic title.

Score: 7 out of 10

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