Flynn: Son of Crimson is an action platformer with light RPG elements developed by Studio Thunderhorse and published by Humble Games. There’s an evil Scourge, and you must harness the Crimson power alongside man’s best friend, Dex, the giant dog guardian of Rosantica.
As a whole, Flynn: Son of Crimson is a totally standard action platformer. You traverse one level at a time, jumping, slashing, rolling, and using magic along. I can’t attest to the game breaking any ceilings narratively or gameplay-wise, but it’s a tight and just challenging enough platformer for sure. Fans of the genre will find just enough uniqueness in its mechanics to be enjoyable. The enemies have a stun bar and flash right before attacks, making dodging the most essential part of the game to prevent taking damage. Healing is also outside of the norm, as rather than health pickups, you essentially refill a potion bottle with limited uses and heals you a few health points at a time.
The powers you accumulate are quite cool as well. The Crimson you learn to master comes in the form of weapons you acquire for each boss defeated, elemental magic that can be used for both combat and platforming, a rage mode where you unleash total fury for a short time, and several other special combat moves. Each new move feels unique and comes well-paced throughout the game to keep every level feeling fresh. I enjoyed fighting throughout the levels, especially as I gained more and more skills. But the bosses, interesting as they may have been, felt more like races to fill up my rage meter more than anything. The mechanics for the fights were undoubtedly a step above those of any standard enemies, but knowing that I could eventually just rage out made me less worried about getting through the whole fight on my own skill.
The level design itself is also nicely varied. Some levels will have you fighting hordes of enemies, while others will have you dodging ground lighting or solving torch-lighting puzzle mazes. Every once in a while, a portal to a Scourge level will open and you’ll be forced from your current level sequence to close it. These levels offer challenging and dark culminations of many of the platforming skills you’ve been working on.
The absolute best part of the game is when you get to ride Dex and use him as both a combat and traversal mechanic unto himself. It’s not really that special; there’s just something about an action platformer where you get to ride on the back of a giant dog that is really hard not to find exciting.
The art also does the game wonders. In a 16-bit fashion, the sprites are vibrantly colored, as are the different worlds. There’s great detail in the backgrounds and foregrounds. I could maybe do without the 8-bit looking photo montages after boss fights—they look weird, and it’s sometimes hard to even tell what they’re depicting precisely. But putting those aside, the character design for the NPCs holds a lot of personality, and the numerous creatures that inhabit this world feel like they were created fresh for this game—not too derivative of fantasy tropes or other games.
The same can’t be said of Flynn: Son of Crimson’s soundtrack, although I’m pretty okay with that. Although it wears its Nintendo and Square Enix soundtrack influences pretty heavily, it’s also one of the best parts of the whole game. Every track in the game is excellent. They all create the perfect ambiance for each level, and the piano is delivered with really high fidelity. It’s easily one of the strongest parts of the game.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Flynn: Son of Crimson. It feels just different enough from its genre brethren with cool unlockable weapons and upgrades and a whole heckin’ dog to fight by your side. It’s nothing special though and despite a constant feeling of progression, the basicness of the game wore on me eventually. For fans of action platformers though, it will be an enjoyable new addition.
Flynn: Son of Crimson is available now on Xbox via Game Pass, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Mac, and PC.
Flynn: Son of Crimson
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Flynn: Son of Crimson. It feels just different enough from its genre brethren with cool unlockable weapons and upgrades and a whole heckin’ dog to fight by your side. It’s nothing special, though, and despite a constant feeling of progression, the game’s basicness eventually wore on me. For fans of action platformers, though, it will be an enjoyable new addition.