First impressions count, and Flynn: Son of Crimson has set the bar for controller-based games on Steam. Are you playing with an Xbox controller? PlayStation? How about the Switch? Holy crap – what a great introduction.
Why does that matter so much? Well, it’s assumed that most PC gamers use an Xbox controller, but for those who use a DualSense (because they’re classy fools like me), A, B, X, and Y gets confusing. Albeit mildly. Just this simple choice has Studio Thunderhorse at second base.
But enough with the controllers, we want the game – ug! After a cutscene that lasts 2.3 seconds or less, we’re immediately in motion and taking Dex, the guardian, for walkies. Flynn: Son of Crimson is a pixel art game, which in truth, aren’t among my favourites, but the art style here is spot-on.
Walkies is a tad more eventful than it is with my own four-legged friend, and after a brief wander around town and feeling badass for beating up inanimate scarecrows with a wooden sword, that OP bubble bursts and some fool named Rozia ruins the time with Dex.
Without giving too much of Flynn: Son of Crimson away, Flynn is important. Their bloodline means that they’re the chosen one to wield the crimson magic. Before you know it, that wooden sword is now a crimson sword, and Rozia doesn’t like it one bit. She steals Dex’s power, and then it’s a matter of shifting around the beautiful biomes, unlocking new abilities and upgrading skills at your base, and saving the land from what is known as the Scourge.
Flynn: Son of Crimson is a classic pixel art platformer, on par with Alwa’s Legacy. The controls are very good, and within a few minutes, I was speeding through jumping sections – not because I’m cool, but because it feels natural. The same could be said about the combat. An initial basic attack plus unlimited magic for ranged attacks and switch activation works well, and through progression, these can be upgraded through charges, attack combos, and beefing up health.
There are two bits of currency to collect in Flynn: Son of Crimson: the first is the red or crimson gems used for the skill tree, then turquoise crystals that replenish health at the touch of a button. Again, not giving too much away, there are additional weapons with different movesets that unlock new paths, plus there are collectable elemental-based spells.
Suffice to say, Flynn: Son of Crimson is a lovely action-adventure game that I hastily squandered the hours on. There are several difficulties on offer, and though they’re fair in combat, some of the setpieces were frustrating. An early boulder run had me repeat the section way too many times, and some element-infused baddies can cause some horrendous knockback resulting in my transition into the Hulk, only with a little less green and muscle.
What stood out most about the game was the level design. It’s pretty subtle as some stages look similar or have a similar theme of using switches and what-not, but I feel the developers were very attentive to what gamers (or perhaps I) crave. You’ll learn a new move or earn a new item, and the game will introduce a few new sections to use this ‘gift’ but will return to something you learned earlier. It’s a bit like drilling (the learning sense), as other than the boulder dash bit, I never felt stuck, and the game gracefully flowed. Like a beautiful swan with crimson feathers and sporting Reebok Pumps.
The puzzle element in Flynn: Son of Crimson is a little easy, but that could insinuate I’m a genius. Nevertheless, the puzzle elements flowed (see above), and it was tricky for me not to binge on this all in one go.
As mentioned, combat works well. I didn’t like having to charge my magic attack up to diffuse an element-infused enemy, then quickly attack them before they recharged – even when fully upgraded. This sucked a little but worked better in the boss battles (though the rage attack is massively OP, IMO. FYI).
What else? Oh, the music is sooo good. I’m not one for listening to game soundtracks, but Flynn: Son of Crimson is superb. A couple of other soundtracks that I enjoyed include Get-A-Grip Chip and Ocean’s Heart – a little similar to Flynn in art style, albeit Ocean’s is a top-down perspective.
I’m a little late to the party with this review, but I’ve turned up in style and brought a bottle. If you haven’t played Flynn: Son of Crimson yet, I can certainly recommend it. This review is based on the Steam version, but the game is on Game Pass, too, so if you have it and like adventure platformers that make you weak at the knees with all its feel-goodness, you’d be a fool not to get this. Marvellous.