Title: Flynn: Son of Crimson
Developer: Studio Thunderhorse
Release Date: September 15th
Reviewed On: PS4
Publisher: Humble Games
I am all for highlighting indie games that emphasize fun experiences and replay value, and developer Studio Thunderhourse delivers that in their newest game, Flynn: Son of Crimson. Not only does it exceed my expectations, but it also has me immersed in its setting and characters. Described as a 2D Metroidvania, Flynn: Son of Crimson brings back the appeal of handcrafted platformers that reward the player with fun gameplay, fantastic characters, and lore.
Flynn: Son of Crimson begins as the Island Roscantica is being threatened by an ancient evil attempting to break the barrier between Roscantica and “The Scourge,” a dimension based on evil magic attempting to engulf the world. Flynn is the destined Hero of the Land, gaining the blessing of their Guardian Deity, Dex, while also learning about his heritage along the way.
During gameplay, the game takes the traditional 2D platformer mechanics and expands on them. Each level you come across lacks repetition while adding quick traversal puzzles that offer just as much challenge as fun moments. I never found them to be intrusive to the pacing. If anything, they contributed to immediate action, satisfying my need to feel skilled as I’m going through the game.
This isn’t to say Flynn is easy. With the basic three difficulty settings, Easy, Normal, and Hard, the player can choose which experience to have. Playing on Normal felt challenging and required I learn the mobs’ and bosses’ habits and Flynn’s Invincibility frames for dodge rolls. There are staggering mechanics for all enemies; bosses included taking away the need to use cheap trick exploits that can become common in 2D Metroidvania games.
Combat evolves as you progress through the story, allowing you to unlock multiple spells and weapons, each with its own special perks and combos that must be discovered by playing. I never felt like the combat mechanics were over-explained, and experimenting with weapons and spell switching felt close to playing a classic action-adventure game. Playing on the PS4 version, changing spells also changed the color highlighted on my controller. It was a cool addition as it added ambiance to the experience.
Flynn: Son of Crimson manages to pull you into its lore during many moments of the narrative, but the deeper aspects of Roscantica can be missed if you are one to skip past optional NPC conversations. This is a hit-or-miss concept, where some would prefer the majority of the lore be placed at the forefront of the experience, but that adds to the charm of Flynn’s journey.
Each character introduced expands the world, giving not only Flynn but the player context to the historical connection behind his heritage, the Crimson power, and the Scourge itself. The more I talked to each NPC, the more Flynn’s destiny came into realization, and the more I connected to him as a character even though he is a silent protagonist. The immersion is a massive highlight as I aim to save these citizens from impending doom that only I could handle, which was empowering to say the least. The farther into the game you get, the more the story unfolds, bringing exciting plot twists that were satisfying to experience and gave me a personal drive to keep going.
Where Flynn falls short is found in unresponsive controls. There were moments where my dodges or jumps just weren’t received, causing me to die in high tension moments or set me back during a puzzle I was completing. That can be a crucial deterrent for a platformer, but it didn’t happen often where the game felt broken, but it can cause unnecessary caution when speed is the key to completing the stage.
Flynn: Son of Crimson is a short experience but gives you so much space for fun, adding even rare collectibles to find to increase your in-game currency to buy new skills to play with, such as Upgraded combos, stronger spells, and even shortened spell casting times. This made me feel the need to explore as much as I could on each stage to make Flynn even stronger.
Through its fun stages, weapon variety, and unique spell system, Flynn: Son of Crimson makes for a fun platformer to have in your catalog. There’s enough present to enjoy one time through, but added effort was provided to add a bit of replay value to the adventure. It may be tough to find a good indie platformer given the size of the genre, but there’s a genuine adventure waiting for you here.
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