What is Flinthook?
If you aren’t familiar you should check out our Flinthook PSX Interview here. But if you are, strap in because this review is about to take off.
In Flinthook you play…Flinthook, the galaxy’s smallest yet toughest space pirate. Equipped with your hookshoot and your plasma pistol you set off to loot the treasure…and save the galaxy. Seems fun? Well, what if you add your trusty chrono belt that allows you to slow down time and makes you look like a total bad ass? Are you sold yet?…do you even need to read the rest of this?
Before we dive into the gameplay, let me show you something…
Look at how gorgeous this game is. The graphics, the shading, the animations, literally everything is visual deliciousness. I can’t get enough of how amazing this game looks and feels. Everything looks and works so smooth; Shooting, dodging, slowing down time, grappling from hook to hook, I have yet to see a hiccup or get frustrated because I didn’t go where I wanted. Visually and audio wise…everything fits this type of game and story perfectly. I don’t think it could have been pulled off any other way, they nailed it. Check out the theme song:
Though the visuals and soundtrack are epic, the gameplay is where it’s at. It’s so smooth and fluid, even when you’re grappling around and dodging bullets. Going in and out of slow motion is epic! It can and will save your ass, if you start understanding how to use it properly. The hookshot mechanic is amazing and very well done, like I have announced multiple times already. The core game is very Metroid-esque in the idea where you tackle one room at a time as you travel and loot each ship. Unlike Metroid though, you are only limited to the one ship you are on. Each room is different and will never be the same each play through. You have to complete each level to gather Ghost Gems to feed your Mapping Mollusk (compass). This mollusk will then show you how to get to the wanted bounty ship. You also get a Metroid-like map where you can keep track of where you’ve been and where you haven’t. This helps with your quest for items, loot, or secrets……and if you’re not on a quest for these items, then what the hell kind of space pirate would you be otherwise?
Now branching off of the core part of the game I’ll explain what really sets this game apart. This is where it’s going to get deep…..In Flinthook, there is perma-death, but there is also perma-upgrades. Perma-death means (if you didn’t know already) that when you die, you’re dead….. forever…. But, when you die, you get to keep the Fongoolian Doubloons (Wait WHAT?!?!?) you earned during your adventure. These Fongoolian Doubloons buy perks which make you a stonger character. These perks are interchangeable before you start on a quest. Perks include HP buffs, buffs to you, or de-buffs to the enemies. The challenge is to find the right combination for your style of gameplay. You can also use this currency to purchase equipment (Permanent buffs, such as new subweapons, XP buffs, more perk slots, ETC) within the Black Market. While looting the vast reaches of space you can get coins to use in shops within the levels you may come across; there you can purchase health, shields, and even some perks. In addition to the perks and Fongoolian Doubloons, there are more collectibles to be had. There are relics which are (mostly) useless items that can be looted in the pirate ships you travel through. There is also lore to be collected to help you better understand the the backstory and general trivia about the Flinthook universe.
Ok now onto the levels, again not every level is the same. In fact, they will be 100% different every time. How? Each time you get to choose a ship level there are level modifiers on each level. These modifiers can hurt you or benefit you depending on how you want to play the game and what your skill level is. There are a wide range of modifiers and some of them include, ‘Loot’ which gets you more loot though out the level, ‘Librarus’ which will contain a room with a lore page, ‘Cornucopia’ which will have more food (health) drops around the level. Not all of these level modifiers are beneficial, like ‘Platoon on Board’ which adds an extra wave of enemies, ‘Gauntlet’ which adds extra battle rooms, or ‘Skeleton Crew’ which has tougher ghost versions of enemies. To add extra variety and depending on what random levels the game generates for you, you may have multiple modifiers active on each level you have an option of choosing. The modifiers are random and can really screw up a run. If you barely escaped the last level, and then all you have are heavy hitting modifiers to choose from next ot can get really really hairy.
I had very high hopes with Flinthook back when we got to play it back at Playstation Experience. It has taken my already high expectation and far exceeded it. Flinthook is a game that should not be missed. It truly stands apart from the platforming/rouge-like genre and has now set the bar for bad-assery. An amazing ‘hook shot’ movement mechanic, randomly generated levels, chrono-belt, humor, and collectables? This will keep you entertained for hours.
Note: GameOctane Editor Jason Germino received a code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
Check us out at Opencritic!
+ Totally fun to play, never a dull moment
+ 'Hook shot' and chrono-belt mechanics are bad ass and work amazing
+ Tons of collectibles adds to the already awesome replay value
+ 16-bit-like graphics are epic and glorious music adds to the experience
+ $14.99 is a steal for the fun
- Because of randomness you may get discouraged with progression
- Some people may get turned off of the character management/perk management