Red Hot Action Platformer
HIGH Well-crafted combat and puzzle-platforming.
LOW The required wall-climbing mechanics.
WTF Mushroom dust granting elemental powers.
Hi everyone! Eugene Sax here with another review from Gamecritics.com.
Ages ago, a war raged between two parallel worlds — Rosantica, and a dark version known as the Scourge. A war separated the realms long ago, but now the Scourge has started to reveal itself once more, threatening Rosantica and its citizens. Enter Flynn — a young boy dreaming of adventure with Dex, his guardian dog who just happens to be imbued with spirits of the ancients. After an encounter with the Scourge that steals the spirit energy from Dex, Flynn sets off to reclaim Dex’s spirits and to stop the Scourge once and for all.
Players take control of Flynn in this action-platformer to search for the guardian spirits to restore Dex to their full strength and to stop the evil Scourge that is spreading across the land. It won’t be an easy journey though, as minions of the Scourge will be lurking trying to destroy Flynn and take his Crimson power. Players will travel through Rosantica and platform their way through, collecting gems that players can use to unlock new skills and abilities.
Most of the game will be focused on platforming with some puzzle elements thrown in. Players will be given elemental powers as they progress through the story, and these elements will be used for both puzzles and combat. For example, a lightning power can be used to complete a circuitry puzzle or to short out charged armor that enemies wear. The ice power can freeze enemies in place and also freeze water to create platforms that will allow Flynn to continue forward. Son of Crimson seamlessly adds these abilities during play and immediately puts them to use so the player can quickly learn how to effectively use each new power.
Enemies are scattered throughout each level, each with different levels of armor and attacks. If players can do enough damage, they can put these enemies into a stun state which will allow them to sneak in some extra damage and even a chance to heal mid-combat if necessary. The best parts of the combat, though, are the boss fights. One boss was an aquatic knight with lightning abilities. In the levels leading up to it, players have to use the lighting power to remove a shield from enemies before being able to deal damage while also learning how to chain that lightning across enemies to stun them. The boss fight asks players to use those same skills, providing a fantastic way to test players on how well they’ve learned to use each ability provided.
The platforming is straightforward, but also subtle in how it teaches mechanics. While Flynn can only jump and dodge until the endgame, I accidentally pressed the jump button in the middle of rolling and realized that I kept the momentum of the roll. I took that same discovery and used it out of combat, and was able to reach other areas of the level to gain some extra resources. It wasn’t until I got to the next area that an NPC told me about the “roll jump” mechanic, so I felt a burst of accomplishment after realizing that I had found it on my own before the developers told me about it.
While that was great, not everything is wonderful about Son of Crimson. My complaints are only minor, though. The biggest thing for me is that the narrative is weak. The campaign’s NPCs only talk to Flynn in relation to his parents and how they previously fought the Scourge before, but there’s not much dialogue otherwise — they don’t even really address Flynn directly, as a person. I also have a small gripe about the bosses. Although they’re enjoyable encounters mechanically, they’re so loosely connected with the story that I was wondering why I had to fight them in the first place.
The other issue is the Scourge mechanic. Occasionally a Scourge portal will open and dark energy will take over an area. This forces the player to go to a completely separate (and often very far out of the way) level before allowing them to progress. Narratively, the game uses the excuse that all areas are on lockdown until this Scourge portal is closed. However, this doesn’t make a lot of sense when the next level I’m going to is a boss fight with a being from the Scourge that gets locked off because a Scourge portal opened. While there is a way for players to have the game warp them to where they need to go, being forced to do this little diversion each time it appears is a real momentum-killer, and adding insult to injury, there’s no quick way back to whatever it was the player was doing before they needed to fight the Scourge!
Flynn: Son of Crimson isn’t a game that is going to revolutionize action platformers, but it’s a very solid entry into the genre that offers great combat mechanics, solid platforming, and beautiful pixel art to go along with it. This game is absolutely worth a look for fans of this style.
For me: Flynn: Son of Crimon gets an 8.5 out of 10.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Studio Thunderhorse and published by Humble Games. It is currently available on PC and Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E and contains Fantasy Violence. Players will be attacking enemies with swords, axes, and claws. Enemies explode into puffs of smoke and sprays of red collectible gems.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes for this game.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All information is displayed through text, but text size is not resizable. The sound provides ambiance, but is not necessary to play. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Controls are completely remappable.