During this past weekend’s PAX East in Boston we had the chance to play the very promising upcoming indie title, Flinthook, from Tribute Games, as well as speak to the developers about the game that hits Steam PC, PS4 and Xbox One on April 18th.
Check out our PAX East audio interview below with Dominique Ferland of Tribute Games, where he breaks down Flinthook, tells us about the game’s hookshot mechanics, art, replayability, and more.
Flinthook puts players into the role of Captain Flinthook, a spacefaring, treasure hunting pirate, as he takes on the biggest and baddest space pirates in a plot involving ancient evil threatening the cosmos. With controller in hand, players take Flinthook through 2D levels room-by-room that take place in space pirate ships, but unlike side-scrolling platformers of the past, Flinthook’s specialty isn’t running and jumping, but hookshotting and blasting. Instead of platforms strewn about, it’s a series of rings and hoops suspended all about, making the game far more vertical and using more of each area than platformers of the past. The entire game is designed around the fast & fluid hookshot mechanic and the unique level design it opens up, making for one of the most unique and energetic platforming experiences in a long time.
During our hands-on time at PAX East the controls were very easy to pick up and exceedingly intuitive, with the left stick controlling Flinthook’s movement along with a small red reticular to point his hookshot. The combination or overlapping of the movement and hookshot-aiming controls works surprisingly well.
The public demo consisted of a level somewhere around the middle of the game that the team had built tutorial-esque components into so that attendees could pick up and play quickly. Each level’s map is procedurally-generated, taking pre-designed rooms at random and connecting them to form the level, making for a unique level each time, along with keeping all the finely tuned room design for rampant hookshotting and enemy encounters. For a fairly brisk demo (the booth was always overstuffed with attendees waiting to play anytime we passed by), by the end we were not just enjoying traversing the levels and combatting baddies, but also just the fun of trying to touch the ground as little as possible.
For the press demo, the developers also dropped us into a later-game boss battle to demonstrate just how hard the game can be, and how skilled players can become with the hookshot mechanics. Not only is Flinthook equipped with his hookshot, but also a gun blaster and slow-motion ability. These three components together make for very zippy movements, flinging Flinthook all over the place to combat and dodge enemies, and slow down time to make some very precarious and thrilling plays.
Art-wise, the game has a modern pixel-art look and charming animation, you can tell a lot of dedication went into its look. It’s hard to find anything of note to criticize about our hands-on time with Flinthook, and we look forward to playing it again soon.