Title: Flinthook

Platform: Windows, Steam, Playstation 4, Xbox One

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Roguelite, Action Platformer

Players: Single player




Written by Bad Demoman 14th May 2017























Roguelites have come a pretty long way. I mostly attribute Binding of Isaac with popularizing the trend, but there’s been plenty since, of varying levels of quality. So whenever I hear of a new one, I tend to approach it with a degree of caution. Is this going to be the next big thing, like Nuclear Throne was? Or just another crappy cash in on the fad? Of course, it helps massively with that judgement when a stellar developer like Tribute Games are the people behind the game. Formed from former team members from the Scott Pilgrim game, they’ve got some decent games under their belt, including Mercenary Kings, a personal favourite. So is Flinthook Tribute’s latest great game, or a forgettable foray into Roguelites?


In Flinthook, you play as the titular Space Pirate. The first, and most obvious part of Flinthook that you’ll notice are the graphics. While I’m sure for many retro-style pixel graphics are getting a tad old, there's always room for it in my mind if it’s done well. And Flinthook definitely ticks that box. Rather than feeling like a cheap attempt to drive up your nostalgia meter, Flinthooks graphics really come into their own, not trying to imitate anything else. Tribute certainly know a thing about stylish animation - all of their games have looked fantastic and Flinthook isn’t set to break that trend. The music is catchy as all hell, and if it weren’t for the fact I’ve been listening to it so extensively lately from actually playing the game, I’d probably be listening to it outside of the game too. These swashbuckling tunes go a long way to set the theme of Space Piracy before you even start playing.

























Most people would agree that grappling hooks make everything better. Most people I ask say the Hook Shot is the best item in Legend of Zelda, and honestly the concept of a grappling hook just radiates fun. Flinthook is massively based around use of a hook to slingshot yourself around levels while blasting at foes with your trusty Blasma Pistol, so we’re off to a good start already. Once you get good enough, you can zoom through rooms barely touching the floor. Of course, any game based around such high intensity movement would be ruined if the controls were bad. Thankfully, Flinthook is a rare case of a PC Platformer where a controller isn’t necessary. While the game works absolutely fine with a controller, playing with a mouse and keyboard gives you a great degree of fine tuning with your aiming. Since you can aim all around yourself in 360 degrees, it becomes a point of preference, rather than necessity, over which control scheme you’d rather use. Sometimes things get a little hectic - after all, Flinthook is quite a difficult game! In order to help you digest some of the hairier firefights, you’re equipped with the ability to slow down time. Zipping around bullet hell-esque gunfire with a grappling hook was already cool, but slow things down and things become not only more manageable, but absolutely awesome as well. Pulling off the perfect hookshot to both dodge and fire on a tricky enemy will always be incredibly satisfying.


As I mentioned before, whenever a game slaps “Roguelite” on the description, I’m always wary of whether it’ll actually make good use of those elements. Flinthook does things a little differently - rather than being shoved into a randomly generated dungeon and told to keep going, there’s a clearer point to everything. You’ll start by getting a bounty. This is your target, the boss you’ll be fighting next. In order to find your target, you have to feed your Slime Compass some Ghost Gems...that’s an odd sentence to be typing out. In order to collect these Ghost Gems, you’ve got to raid some ships. As a result, what would normally be a floor on the infinite dungeon of a standard Roguelite is instead a self contained level set on a spaceship. Each ship has different modifiers that let you know what you’re in for, adding quite a bit of variety to the different levels. While some Roguelites might have the problem of a limited selection of rooms, these modifiers, and the fact that each bounty comes with its own set of rooms, helps with preventing any fatigue. You’ll mostly be powering up through purchasing upgrades from shops, or occasionally through finding them in chests and special rooms. Upgrades are generally small boosts rather than huge, game changing power spikes. As a result, the skill-based gameplay remains intact, and I never felt overpowered no matter how good my run was going. It’s the perfect example of using RogueLITE mechanics rather than going full Roguelike - it adapts certain things from Roguelikes to improve its own gameplay.

























Flinthook is a delightful addition to a genre I have a particular preference for. While distinct from others in the same category, this is far from a bad thing, as it injects some much needed variety into the Roguelite landscape. I can only hope that other developers see this as a cue to do some really interesting things with Roguelites. With fantastic graphics, genuinely challenging gameplay and a damn catchy soundtrack, Flinthook is set to be a game I spend a good amount of time with (Especially since I’m so stuck on one of the bounties!).



Pros:

Challenging and skill-based gameplay,

Fantastic and unique visuals,

Unique take on Roguelites.


Cons:

Difficulty can be intimidating to new players,

Might not be what Roguelite fans are expecting.


Final Verdict,

Flinthook grapples itself an 8 out of 10 score.


Written by,

Bad Demoman



    
















Bad Demoman Morbid        Play Morbid Play Morbid Play Morbid Play - Articles Morbid Play -  Reviews Morbid Play - Staff