50 Best Games of 2017: #1 – Flinthook

Don't let its charming visuals fool you: Flinthook is one tough son of a bitch.

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Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Tribute Games
Platform(s): PS3, XB1, PC

Our 50 best games of 2017 countdown isn’t in any order, we’re just going through fifty of the finest the year has given us. Find out more here.

I have a secret to tell you: I love all roguelikes. Doesn’t matter if they’re particularly good, either. If they feature 2D sprites, side-scrolling, and a challenge that makes me want to pounce my head off of concrete, I am all for it.

Flinthook was one of my favourites from 2017, a charming pirate plundering adventure where the difficulty doesn’t relent. Rather than being a deterrent, however, I was obsessed with getting through one more room, making inches of extra progress before it all came tumbling down once again.

Playing as space captain Flinthook, your job is effectively that of a bounty hunter. You have to hunt down the bad guys across the galaxy, but you have to get past plenty of their buddies first. You hop from spaceship to spaceship, collecting items needed to help you track down the big bads. Make one mistake, however, and you’re right back to the beginning of your hunt.

As with many games of its ilk, Flinthook is all about making the small progress to eventually go the distance. You’re likely to keep grinding away at a particular ship and look like finally cracking before some dumb decisions bite you in the ass. It can be infuriating, but because of Flinthook’s unique, erm, hooks, you will want to keep trying again and again.

One of the most interesting things that distinguishes Flinthook from its peers is its grappling hook, which can be used to swing up to a better vantage point to shoot enemies from, or to get past a puzzle to claim the delicious, delicious loot. You will need to become adept at it quickly, like some kind of ghostly and cutesy Spider-Man. The bosses are going to make you want to cry unless you have the utmost in precision and patience.

As an added quiver in your bow, Flinthook can also slow down time; pretty essential when you have the hazardous environment and a room full of naughty dudes. It’s not a revelatory mechanic by any means, but it certainly adds to the game, meaning it’s one that you can approach from all kinds of different angles.

While it isn’t a perfect game (some of the environmental damage you take feels incredibly cheap, for instance), Flinthook is overall one of the better attempts in its subgenre from last year. Plus, even if you don’t think you will like it, try it out and just dare to tell me that you aren’t utterly hypnotised by its soundtrack.

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