Flinthook is a platformer that has “roguelike” elements. With rare relics and powerful perk cards to collect and daily & weekly challenges to play. Should Flinthook swing on to your console? Read our review below…
Flinthook is a side scrolling 2D platform game that takes little bits from other classic 2D games and utilises them here within the core gameplay. You take control of Captain Flinthook a bounty hunter who thrives on collecting loot and taking down space pirates. The aim is to hunt pirates while looting their cargo and taking out their ships on the path to the final boss, your main bounty. To do this you have to get through each cargo ship to collect ghost gems to feed your compass so it is able to lead you to your bounty but on the way you can collect other things like coins, gems, perk cards, sub weapons and bombs that all help in your quest and ultimately help you level up Flinthook. Each ship will have a number of different enemies to battle with and each one will require you to approach cautiously as they all have their own unique abilities that will test your skills and patience levels too.
The gameplay is very familiar and you have a number of attributes that you will use fairly regularly throughout the campaign. Your gun and grapple hook are the main two things that you will be using throughout each level and you will have to rely on quick reflexes and timing to get through the very challenging and at times, frustrating levels. Overall Flinthook plays as well as you would expect and everything has a good feel to them with the jumping being the only real weak point of the gameplay. Standard jumping is fine and is pretty standard but where it is let down is in its wall jumping that is just far too inconsistent and frustratingly unreliable which ruins an otherwise solid gameplay experience.
The grappling hook takes a while to master but once I got to grips with it, I found it to be incredibly effective especially on the larger vertical levels and it combines really well with Flinthook’s slow-mo. This ‘bullet time’ style mechanic got me out of some scrapes on more than a few occasions and when utilised with the jumping, grappling hook and shooting, it becomes an essential use in your abilities. The levelling up system is very tough and can be a bit of a grind at the beginning but as you progress through you will collect XP perks that will enhance the rate in which you will be able to level up and unlock other perks. At the beginning you will have only a few blocks freed up to assign your perks to and deciding which ones to assign is key at the start so you really have to make sure you choose wisely.
Visually Flinthook is nothing special and it tries to capture that ‘retro’ look that a lot of these type of games are going for and while it’s not a terrible looking game it certainly isn’t an eye catching one either. I understand that developers think that this style suits certain types of games and I don’t disagree but Flinthook lacks any real vibrancy with the levels and characters all looking a bit muddy and dull and the whole game looks very washed out, even in the cutscenes. It’s a shame that Flinthook looks quite dull because the level design itself isn’t too bad with different routes you can take throughout where each level will have a mixture of platforming style puzzles that lead to the next room for you to explore. The audio in Flinthook is quite underwhelming especially the main in game music, that started to become really annoying the more I played through and some of the sound effects became repetitive, annoying and I found myself turning them off to be honest.
Where Flinthook is really let down though is the incredibly unforgiving progression system. There are no autosaves in between levels so if you die, even on the boss fight, you have to go all the way back to the start of the stage and do it all again. As you can imagine, this takes all of the fun away, especially if you’ve worked your way through, battled through all the ships in the stage on route to your bounty, only to find that you’ve got to do it all again to have another crack at the boss if you get killed. I am all for a challenging campaign in a game but that system is a bad decision in my opinion and it’s going to frustrate gamers more than it’s going to encourage them to play on. It’s something that really lets an otherwise decent platform shooter down massively and I hope the developers decide to implement an auto save option, even if it’s just one right before the boss fight.