Gaining traction like the mystical ball of red fury that it is, Flynn: Son of Crimson drew a lot of attention and momentum when the delightful-looking platformer hacked and slashed its way onto Kickstarter, only to smash its way through its $40,000 goal two weeks later.
This is the first “major” cross-platform game for developers Studio Thunderhorse, whose previous work includes mobile titles Samurai Blitz and Raccoon Rascals, both endless-runner style games for iOS. Built in the recently released GameMaker Studio 2, Flynn: Son of Crimson is looking lovely; the action adventure game boasts beautiful pixel art and animation in every layer – from combat and NPCs to the scenery and backgrounds of the world Flynn occupies, all realised in excellent detail.
Studio Thunderhorse recently released a small playable alpha demo via their Kickstarter which I was able to have a play with for the 15 minutes of vague productivity I have between getting home from work and falling into a stupor of playing RimWorld and eating knock-off Pringles from Aldi.
The demo is pretty much meant to just show off the gameplay without any story elements; slowly introducing you to mechanics and variations of weapons, it seems like a fairly typical action platformer, albeit with a jump mechanic that is slightly too quick and short. This minor gripe is offset by the combat and general controls feeling tight and satisfying; with dodge rolling, weapon swapping and special direction attacks based on each weapon (including a special “turn into Taz from the Looney Tunes” attack when using the claws) giving combat enough variety and skill to feel wonderful.
Fun combat aside, I felt myself stopping and gazing at the environment, enemy designs and weapon effects – I enjoy studying the small details and appreciating the effort put in for things that will go mostly unnoticed – which are all seriously impressive for a small studio’s first “major” title; I’d like to draw special attention to both the Crimson Axe’s hefty feel as Flynn smashes enemies’ bones and misconceptions about the effectiveness of magically summoned chopping weaponry, and the enemy designs of the Scourge with are beautifully creepy and organic in their monstrosity.
For a pre-alpha peek at what is to come, Flynn’s demo delivers a surprisingly polished and beautiful experience which – whilst decent – still has some work to go in development and refinement of the core mechanics (I allude back to that slightly iffy jump system), but is definitely worth checking out.