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.