The rogue genre has been building up some popularity thanks to many great spin-offs, be it a over the top shooter like Enter the Gungeon, a dungeon Zelda-esque adventure like The Binding of Isaac or the whimsical melodious rhythm based gameplay of Crypt of the Necrodancer. As such Tribute Games decided to contribute to this current trend with their own spin on the genre, Flinthook.
The first thing that hits you right away is the intro and how well put it is. Extremely energetic and full of love and detail, it really felt like I was watching a cartoon show from the 80’s/90’s with a pixel art style. The presentation is undoubtedly one of the biggest qualities of Flinthook, from the carefully drawn backgrounds and charismatic animations from every single character to the absolutely fabulous soundtrack.
Once you get past the amazing presentation you’ll come to learn that Flinthook is equally competent in terms of gameplay. Just like every other previously mentioned rogue games, Flinthook has a fixed structure made of a tutorial and four main acts, each of these is made of several stages with randomly generated sets of rules and have a unique boss at the end. These naturally get progressively more difficult as you advance in the game, at the end of any run you’ll be rewarded with EXP and pirate chips that you can use to unlock a plethora of item and abilities.
However, unlike other games of this genre Flinthook is a 2D action-platformer. You’ll get to blast enemies and overcome obstacles in a randomly generated fashion with flair thanks to the two key abilities; the ability to slow down time for a limited amount of time and your trusty hook. You’ll have to learn how to use it to survive even the easiest of challenges as most of the platforming depends on it. Everything felt really outstanding during the first dozens of hours, but the feeling of repetition that’s inherent to the genre eventually kicked in despite the hefty amount of modes and the variety of rules that can be applied to any given stage.
Overall, Flinthook was a pleasant surprise and a great addition to the ever-growing library of rogue-like games. The sublime presentation and buttery smooth controls make for a very satisfying action platformer but the small innovations aren’t enough to break the mold of the core genre. Still, it’s an easy recommendation for fans of this style of gameplay and one of the best indies of the year.
SGR SCORE: 8/10