Indie Corner: Flinthook

“In a galaxy filled with scoundrels and miscreants, everyone seeks treasure and riches! But when a malevolent treasure hunter hatches a sinister plan to unleash an ancient evil to threaten the cosmos itself, Flinthook, the galaxy’s smallest but toughest pirate zips into action!” – Flinthook.com

Flinthook, a ghostly space pirate, bastard child of Captain Flint (the parrot of Long John Silver in Treasure Island) and Simon Belmont (Castlevania). Armed with a Blasma Blaster and his trusty Grappling Hook, he will raid unsuspecting space pirate vessels, in search of fabled treasure and unimaginable wonders.

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“Flinthook” is a fast-paced platformer developed by Tribute, a rather young gaming company that has been perfecting the 8-bit platform genre ever since its conception in 2011. There is not much else to be said besides: this is a fun little gem. Treasure it, hide it away, protect it from pirates who are lusting for your booty!

Story-wise, you are actually a little ghostly swashbuckler called Flinthook. In your little space ship, you ambush space pirate vessels (think Starfox), which you enter by shooting a gigantic hook into their hulls. In search of treasure and riches, Flinthook stumbles on a rival treasure hunter who seems to want to do more than simply collect riches. An ancient evil lurks in deep space, and Flinthook needs to find out how to stop the galaxy from… blowing up? The story itself is rather minimal, but there are plenty of references to classic pirate stories such as Treasure Island and the swashbuckler films starring Errol Flynn, all marinated in a delicious space sauce.

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The gameplay mechanics can best be described as a fresh take on the original Castlevania games: each level (in the form of spaceships) needs to be conquered by moving from one room to the next. Moving around these levels, which works very fluently, and avoiding many obstacles and enemies, is done by either running, jumping, or using a grappling hook. Besides Flinthook’s agility, he can also rely on a blasma blaster (no typo) and bombs. When he really gets into a pickle (and trust me, he will), the Chrono-belt will ‘keep his pants up and slow time down’. Onwards and upwards, me laddies!

By the way, have I mentioned how cute the design of the protagonist is? Someone crochet our little hero into a doll and send me one! I want to go on adventures with him. Additionally, the general design of the game is simply delightful, and rather original too! To top it off, the soundtrack is very catchy, and it’s a genuine pleasure to simply listen to the various bits and bobs in every level.

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Is there more to add to this game? Well, I could tell you more about the perks system, which enables you to choose which ‘extra skills’ you can take on for every ‘mission’, or the black market dealer, who can boost your skills permanently for a not-that-modest fee. I could also inform you of the challenges runs, which encourage you to accomplish a variety of goals, the option to play the game on a harder difficulty (only for veterans), or even an infinity mode, which only stops when either your eyes pop out of your sockets or you fall asleep in front of your computer. I could, obviously, but I’m afraid I have to admit that I have become quite addicted to the game.

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I bid you adieu with this simple message: Flinthook is a real gem among the general muck that is the platformer world. Game design, artwork, mechanics, soundtrack, all of the elements fit nicely together and have been taken care of in the most gentle of ways. It is a game that will keep you amused for quite a while, before you hesitantly put it down, only to welcome it back in your heart when you rediscover it later.

Score 4.5 of 5:



I mainly play PC games, with the occasional 'older treasure' on my PSX (Final Fantasy VIII, IX!!!). My focus is on games that rely heavily on (visual) story-telling and plot-driven gameplay, though I also play turn-based strategy games, and point-and-click games.