Bombslinger is a western-styled roguelike game, all about blowing up baddies.
If this game instantly looks like Bomberman to you, that’s because—well—this game instantly looks like Bomberman. It might be fair to call Bombslinger a clone, but it does introduce plenty of its own unique elements.
First of all, this game has an interesting setting, and fun characters. You play as a cowboy who’s looking to avenge his wife’s death. Like I said—fun. The main character used to be mixed up with the wrong crowd, and when he turns over a new leaf, the old posse wasn’t too happy about that. Now you’ve got to blast your way through 4 levels and take down 7 big bosses.
Bomblinger sports a really interesting graphic style. At first glance it looks like your run-of-the-mill 8-bit art, but from certain angles and cutscenes it looks a bit more “Minecraftian.” You also get some O.G. LoZ vibes as you leave one top-down area of the map to enter another.
There’s a healthy variety of enemies waiting to be blown to smithereens. From old men hobbling around in… underwear? Diapers? Loincloths? Anyway—there’s a handful of vicious animals, bad dudes armed with rifles or machine guns—you name it. The difficulty curve is appropriate and you gradually face more of these challenges as you progress.
Clearing rooms and levels is fun, and you’re rewarded with gold and XP that can be spent on upgrades. The typical Bomberman fare is here, like extra bombs, bigger explosions, and what I lovingly refer to as “kicky-bombs.” But there are some new tools and powers that are more unique and I won’t spoil in this review. I will say it’s not always clear what things do, so trial and error is your friend along the dirt-road to success.
The developers even include a multiplayer mode, so you can take a break from the campaign, slide off your Joy-Con, and basically pretend you’re playing classic Bomberman in ponchos.
My experience wasn’t without bugs, sadly. I found that going into the menu and hitting “restart” would work about half the time, otherwise booting me out of the game and onto my Switch home screen. Fortunately, I never lost progress since I was actively looking to restart my run, so it was only a minor inconvenience.
Speaking of progress, as you get further and accomplish different feats, you’ll unlock new items to customize your loadout with, and more slots in your inventory. The game rewards you well, and helps equip the main character with better tools to make it to the last boss. There’s even two different endings that you can pick from, not unlike Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which I reference without hesitation because of course you played that one… right? Anyone?
Overall: Bombslinger is a great time. Whoever had the idea of combining Bomberman mechanics with roguelike systems and western settings deserves a raise… or at least your $12 on the eShop. Bombslinger gets an 8.25 out of 10.
Flinthook is an indie roguelike game for Nintendo Switch. You play as the titular character, a space pirate, as you grapple-hook and blast your way through enemy ships, stealing treasure and taking down bosses along the way.
It’s a great premise, and the execution is pulled off nicely. The first thing you’ll notice about the game is its presentation; upon booting up Flinthook, you’re greeted with an epic chiptune soundtrack cranked up to maximum volume. This game has STYLE, and that persists through its bold, 32-bit (ish) graphics, funny characters, and fast-paced action. The main character is endearing to watch and exciting to play as.
To give you an idea of the gameplay, imagine a Super Mario Bros. game where you have to get from World 1-1 to 1-4 and beat the boss—all on a single life—before you can advance to the next world. But instead of playing as Mario, you’re steamrolling through levels as Samus, and your arsenal includes a plasma blaster, grappling hook, bombs, and more.
There are a couple more systems layered over the basic gameplay, and those are found between bounty runs. In the Black Market, you can spend the treasure you’ve collected on Perks, which are customizable upgrades for your character. You can boost your life, speed, critical hit chances, and much more.
There are also some other side modes included where you can learn more about the story inside the Lore section, play daily challenges, etc. The core game is really solid, so you’ll be compelled to quickly apply some perks and try the game again. Every run, even when you die, is beneficial and will better equip you for your next attempt.
I had a great time advancing through the many challenges of this game. Sadly, I have to point out that I’ve experienced two game-breaking bugs that crashed my Flinthook run and made me lose all progress. One happened after I had just barely managed to defeat a boss and escape with 10HP. The game shut down and I had to do the entire thing over again. I reached out to the developers and wasn’t told a patch was in the works, but hopefully they’ve tracked down the error by now and have it fixed.
The thing I appreciate most about Flinthook is that they took the roguelike genre and tweaked its formula, making it completely fair. This is a skill-based title where the character powers up at the same rate at which the player grows in knowledge and strategy.
I recommend Flinthook to anyone that’s on the fence about it. It blends some of the best elements of roguelikes, platformers, and side-scrolling shooters. It’s got an awesome sense of identity, from the menus to the color palette to the level design. Flinthook gets an 8 out of 10.