Flinthook is a rather brilliant little game, full of quirk and charm that stays fresh for the whole experience. The formula here is simple, but presents the player with hours of fun, take 1 masked space pirate, add a grappling hook and randomised dungeons and voila, you have Flinthook. The developers have put a lot of love and effort into this little beauty and it shows.
The story in Flinthook is simple, but enjoyable. The main character, Captain Flinthook searches space for ships to steal treasure from and occasionally even take down a pirate captain or 2. There really isn’t much more to the plot than this, but perhaps keeping the story so simple allowed the team to work on the other areas of the game. Still even if a bit simple and straight forward, a story about pirates and treasure is always fun, especially more so when its set in space.
Gameplay in Flinthook is amazingly tight and fun. The player traverses his way through randomized dungeons in the form of pirate ships, along the way dodging traps, fighting hordes of pirates and finding ancient relics as he tries to find the end goal of each ship, the biggest chest. Finding the big chest ends the level and gives the player a ghost gem, which after collecting several of, opens the path to the pirate captain for that set of levels. You are given access to a few tools in Flinthook, some more useful than others, but all handy in their own way.
The player gains access to a few handy tools like bombs or invincibility helmets but the 3 most important tools the player has access to are Chrono Belt, Plasma Gun and the Grappling Hook. The plasma gun is the players main method of fighting the enemies, it can be aimed in most directions with a few restraints, but players can unlock a free aim upgrade that allows full 360 aiming. The gun is admittedly weak and doesn’t shoot very far, but these attributes can be upgraded as well. The chrono belt allows the player to slow down time, this serves 2 purposes, the first being that it gives the player more time to plan out actions and the second is that some obstacles simply aren’t passable unless you do slow down time, giving you a window to get past. The time slowing ability is limited, but recharges quickly enough that it never seems to be a bother.
The most important tool in your aresenal is the grappling hook. This tool plays the biggest part in gameplay as it is used to traverse through rooms, through puzzles and even to pull shielding off enemies. The controls for the hook are tight and its fun to just zip about through maps by hooking onto things and flying around. It almost feels like playing a 2d Spiderman in this regard. This is where most of the fun and enjoyment comes from in Flinthook. Its easy just to lose yourself swinging around the levels like a loon, enjoyment which is only found because the controls here have been worked on to perfection.
Treasure collecting, one of the main points of the game, benefits you in several ways. Aside from giving you funds to purchase temporary power ups (that last for the entirety of a boss run or till death) its also counts towards your experience, meaning you collecting more will help you level quicker. There’s also special treasure that is only spendable at the black market. The black market is where the player can buy equipable perks and permanent upgrades. Equipable perks may be things like extra hp, or more damage resistance, while permanent upgrades give you things like increased experience. There’s also relics and lore hidden as treasure in the levels so there’s a ton of collectables here.
Upon levelling up a few levels Flinthook also grants players access to daily and weekly challenges, these serve as a fun little chance to gain additional experience and treasure, but can be deceptively hard for the unprepared. These challenges are a fun little extra that help extend the gameplay quite a bit.
The soundtrack in Flinthook is wonderfully catchy, each track stayed with me long after having turned off the game. Although I cant help but wonder if this was because they were so good, or simply because there didn’t seem to be a whole variety on show. Still I suppose quality over quantity is something to think about.
Flinthook features some amazing pixel art. Each character and enemy is full of life and the backgrounds and environments are really pretty (which feels odd to say about a game filled with ugly space pirates) Spritework in indie games is usually hit or miss, most developers using it to be lazy, but that’s not the case at all here, the sprites are vibrant and anime smoothly.
My only real gripes here are the lack of enemy variety and lack of new gameplay features. After a short time with the game you’ve seen everything there is, with the exception of the bosses. A few additional enemy types would have been nice, but with everything else being so good in Flinthook its easy enough to forgive.
I cant recommend this game enough, solid gameplay, beautiful visuals and an amazing soundtrack all come together to make a stunning game. There’s a lot of love behind this project.
Note: This review was based on a PC digital copy provided by the publisher.