Flinthook is awesome to control. As a rogue-like pixel-art game featuring a grappling hook, Flinthook has some of the tightest controlling platforming I’ve ever seen. Grappling from hanging chains covering the walls and alternating between them with momentum was a joy. Being able to quickly bypass several traps and enemies without ever touching the ground felt great, especially because the game just knew where I wanted to go when aiming my grappling hook.
As a rogue-like you’ll be making your way through various procedural levels, all of which following a tutorial that introduces the various mechanics in-game. Players have your grapple, a pistol projectile, a limited stock of bombs, and a watch that slows down time momentarily. Each can play into platforming challenges, such as grappling a bubble surrounding a bell that needs to be activated, or slowing time as you jump through lasers.
Both visuals and music within Flinthook are very much inspired by a retro era of gaming. It retains a pixel-art style, but with advanced animations and resolution that could never have been supported on older consoles. The anchor is a recurring theme as it appears on both loading screens, in-game to bring you to new depths, and is your grappling hook, the main feature of Flinthook.
Frequently, enemies will spawn, requiring you to grapple your way around their attacks (which I suspect will become more and more like a bullet-hell shooter the deeper you dive into Flinthook). Additionally items will drop randomly from chests gained from defeating waves of enemies or found during your journey. These fall into the one-use category of rogue-likes where discovering what each one does is a game itself. One item I found, an old divers helmet, granted me brief invulnerability. The only problem was I had held onto it until the end of the short demo playable on the PSX show floor.
Boss encounters challenge your ability to star afloat while also dodging projectiles and attacking. Levels will end with a results page showing your XP gained, best time for the run, and items acquired. Shooting at enemies beneath you can be a bit difficult, since the aiming only appears to allow for an angle shot instead of straight down, but that was the only thing I can think of as less than ideal throughout my time with Flinthook.
While my time with Flinthook was very short, I found what was presented very promising. So long as the content strung throughout continues to be engaging and not repetitive — a common pitfall for many rogue-likes — I can see myself spending a lot of time with this game, despite my hesitance towards that genre.