A Sci-Fi Sea of Thieves
One of the most mesmerizing aspects of the rogue like genre is it’s ability to suck gamers into an addictive gameplay loop. In a rogue like, you run through procedurally-generated (or randomized) levels to obtain loot, fight enemies, and snag a few secret abilities until you die and are forced to start over again. While this sounds frustrating, the compelling point is you maintain all of your experience to level up your character. Each new run progressively becomes easier and easier (until the game throws in some different enemies for a healthy challenge). There’s no defeat in death; only growth.
Flinthook, developed by Tribute Games, recently released for Switch/Xbox One/PS4, is just that kind of game. Set in space, you play as a ghost-pirate, named Flinthook, on the hunt for treasure. But the bandits you’ll be taking from won’t let their booty go so easily. Each area requires you to collect green tablets to feed to your Goo Compass in order to locate the final boss ship. Each ship in the boss’ fleet has it’s own personality and challenges. You’ll come across ships that are sprawling labyrinths, while others are infested with enemies, and more. Sometimes, you’ll come across ships with multiple challenges to really make things difficult.
The gameplay in Flinthook is built around the use of the MC (main character)’s hook. You’ll use your hook to traverse levels, open doors, remove bubble shields from enemies, and more. It’s this mechanic that makes Flinthook’s fast and frenetic gameplay thrilling. In some cases, one false move, or one well-timed move, makes all the difference. You’re also given the use of subweapons: smaller weapons that allow the use to slow down time, freeze enemies for a few seconds, summon a shield of floating skulls, and more. You obtain these new subweapons via the Black Market, which is available via a menu that opens up after you die during a play through.
This is where the game opens up and allows for customization. By leveling up from each play through, or run, you gain experience that awards you Perk Packs that give you a random perk to use in your next run. Each perk is different as some give you more health, make your weapons stronger, give you super speed, and more. There’s a wide variety to choose from. Line up the right perks and you become a force to be reckoned with. And that’s part of the game loop also: trying different perk combinations to see what works and what doesn’t. It can be a frustrating process of elimination but fans of the genre will find it incredibly rewarding.
If this all sounds great but you’re still curious about the game, I spent some time streaming it over on Twitch. The stream is archived on our YouTube (video provided below) so check out the video for yourself and see if Flinthook might be your next game to play!