I’m a sucker for a Metroidvania. I get it, I’ve got plenty of good ones on the rise, but Tribute Games is really bringing their flavor strong with Flint Hook, a pirate-exploration Metroidvania. Imagine this: you explore, you fight pirate monsters, ghosts, anchors fall from the sky, you get ability power ups, have bullet time, and can flash around just about any stage because you have a massive hook that swings you around. Sound cool yet?
Flint Hook is stylish, beautiful, and just moves. This is probably my favorite game I’ve seen across all the things at PAX East 2016. Call it my game of show. It’s got essence and style, and for being the first time it was ever showed to the public (or anyone in general, I believe) it was just polished, fun, and I wanted nothing but to play more of it.
Flint Hook is as it may look in screenshots: a 2D sidescrolling action platformer, more along the scale of something like Megaman, but with Metroidvania hooks in there. There was definitely something about the art that just popped out to me. It reminded me up the enhanced look of Cave Story+, which still has some of the most beautiful and flowing pixel art I’ve ever seen. Flint Hook evoked that in every regard, and it also benefited from an incredibly fast paced speed. You quickly receive your “hook” which you use to bolt around hooks in the room, but also to latch onto doors, which then suck through mailshoot-style tubes into the next room. It makes movement a breeze and quick, but it also makes escaping out of a room much easier. That may be why most of the rooms needed to be cleared before I could use any door.
You also have a gun that is aimed with the same stick as movement, and just was a quick single-shot pistol. What worked was the bullet time mechanic just kind of throne on top of all this, where you could also hold a button to slow time and aim and shoot a bit more carefully. With how breakneck the movement is, it made sense to be able to slow it down to aim and shoot since you use the same stick for aiming as you do movement. It all felt well thought out, and just flowed with an ease that made the game a joy to play.
I was zooming around rooms, slowing down, shooting enemies from above within a few minutes, and it was fantastic. Past the very beautiful look of the game in general, the look mixed with that effortless feeling of motion just worked. The controls and visuals worked in synchrony in ways that 2D fighters have benefited from for years.
Tribute honestly knocked me out of the park with this one. The rooms were concise and challenging, the demo was brief but a ton of fun, and the ingenuity of the ghost-pirate ship design seems like a gift that will just keep giving throughout the experience I can not wait to see more Flint Hook. The team told me that they don’t have any set platforms right now and are looking at next year, more than likely for release, but nothing is official yet. Regardless, this one is at the top of my Metroid hitlist.