Combining elements of both old school and new, Tribute Games’ Flinthook gives players the chance to be a pirate in a roguelike platforming adventure. Should you set a course for treasure, or is this one not worth plundering?
Roguelike aficionados will know what to expect with Flinthook. Each set of stages is set up around a different bounty, each with a massive reward on their head. As a space pirate looking for treasure, it’s up to you to explore ships with randomly generated levels as you find Ghost Gems. Find enough Ghost Gems, and you’ll be able to experience an over-the-top boss fight full of projectiles and enemies.
The levels themselves follow a grid-like structure full of dead-ends. Some rooms require players to clear out an area of enemies to proceed, while others are full of treasure or Perk-filled bazaars. It can get repetitive, especially with similar looking rooms and constant enemy reappearances. In addition, there are some serious difficulty spikes that can set you back upwards of a half-hour upon failure. These moments can be frustrating, but those looking for a challenge will appreciate its style.
It’s a fairly straightforward structure, one that plays heavily on Flinthook’s XP and Perks system. Had a bad run? Not all is lost, as the loot, experience, lore, and other goodies gathered before will no doubt make it easier for the next go-around. Said perks let you increase your health, critical shots, experience gathering, or any number of variables, allowing you to create the perfect playstyle. It can feel random at times regarding what Perks you get, but that is surely part of the allure for some.
Anybody raised on a healthy diet of video games will recognize a number of Flinthook’s gameplay elements. Our hero packs a hookshot, a time slowing mechanic, wall jumping moves, and a trusty pea shooter. The Quick Hook tool works as you think it should, with the ability to latch on to a number of designated hooks and enemy weak spots. However, things are a little unorthodox when it comes to its controls. Aiming is done with the right analog stick, while movement and your gun’s aim is done with the left. This makes for a somewhat awkward situation, especially when the heat is on. The directional pad goes unused in this game, which bucks the standard platforming system these games are typically known for. It’s not ideal, but this added hurdle just takes a little bit of extra time to get used to.
If nothing else, the game is an absolute looker. The pixel work on display here is second-to-none, with lush backgrounds and characters will multiple frames of animation. Those weaned on 16-bit platformers will appreciate its style.
Despite cribbing gameplay elements from a number of different games, Flinthook manages to be its own unique beast. Its unforgiving and repetitive design is not for everyone, but those craving pixel perfect platforming with a dash of difficulty will find a lot to like here.