Retro-ninja game The Messenger is free on the Epic Games Store

The Messenger is a retro-platformer with an interesting twist. It starts off like a fairly standard action-platformer from back in the day, but soon turns into "an expansive time-traveling adventure" that makes use of both 8-bit and 16-bit graphics and audio. And not just for visual flavor but as an actual mechanic: Players can swap between the two styles mid-level to solve puzzles, for instance.

In late 2018 it got a new Game+ mode with a more challenging difficulty, and earlier this year new levels were added in the free Picnic Panic DLC. And now it's free for the week on the Epic Games Store: Hit the page, click the "get" button, take it from there. You know how it goes.

There's only one free game this week, because The Messenger is rated E10+ by the ESRB. (Access to "Mature" games can be disabled by Epic Store parental controls, so whenever the weekly freebie is M-rated Epic gives away a second, more family-friendly game as well, to ensure that everyone gets a game.) There will be just one free game next week too, the tile-based RTS roguelite Bad North: Jotun Edition, which despite the title is actually quite good.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.