A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Flinthook is a downloadable action title with randomly generated levels and an emphasis on encouraging players to "grind" through a bunch of cartoony violence, with enemies exploding into a shower of coins. Grinding means playing repeatedly to earn experience points, amass gold, and buy different character enhancements that boost your stats. Controls are easy to learn, but the repetitive play and the mix of random power-ups can take some getting used to.
What's it about?
There's barely a story in FLINTHOOK. You play as the titular masked space pirate, a tiny hero on a major quest to thwart another treasure hunter with a sinister plan to unleash an ancient evil on the cosmos. This is all hinted at lightly through the game's tutorial and with quick animations between levels. Beyond that, there isn't much character development or even dialog -- you're teed up to go around blasting enemies while collecting treasures and power-ups.
Is it any good?
It's hard to fault this action game with its charming graphics, energetic soundtrack, and fast-paced action that's easy to pick up and hard to put down. But after you spend a decent amount of time with the game, though, you'll start to see the randomly generated rooms in each level more as work than a fun challenge. That's because for all of its embellishments, you're basically doing the same thing all the time: zipping around each room with a grappling hook, defeating the enemies that randomly appear, and then exploring the map more to do it all again. There's a bigger loop at play, too, which is that as you level up you're able to unlock permanent upgrades or equippable perks that help make the difficulty level more manageable.
The repetition in the game isn't necessary a knock against it, since it only becomes apparent when you play for marathon sessions, which Flinthook easily inspires. Not a lot of games use a grappling hook, and the extra ability to momentarily slow time down allows you to routinely do some ridiculous acrobatics as you avoid bullets and environmental hazards. Also impressive is the fact that you'll be able to master these skills pretty much out of the gate without much practice needed at all. The random generation helps provide a sense of variety in the game, making it perfect for quick sessions or another of those "one more game" titles.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about games or other things in life that encourage you to beat your own record. Does the ability to beat your best score or time in a video game transfer over to other areas of your life? Why or why not?
Why are video games able to be so satisfying even when there isn't much of a story at all to spur you on?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $14.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Tribute Games Inc.
- Release date: April 18, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Space and aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Comic Mischief
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.