Review – Flynn & Freckles

If last year was the platformer revival year, I can already assume that 2018 will be known as the pirate game revival year. We’ve already had Sea of Thieves and that terrible Pirates game for the Switch, as well as the upcoming Skull & Bones and Abandon Ship. While all of those games emphasize more the seafaring aspect than anything else (some of them failing miserably while doing so), there’s not a lot of emphasis put into the swashbuckling adventures while on land. Enter Flynn & Freckles, a PS4 exclusive that tries to provide a more platforming-centric pirate experience, which also fails to deliver.

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Thank goodness they’re not Cucoos

Flynn & Freckles tries to sell itself as a back-to-basics 3D platformer just like the crown jewels from the 90’s and 2000’s, but it didn’t feel a lot like its supposed sources of inspiration. The game felt more like just an average 3D game from the Nintendo 64 era in terms of gameplay, that game that has a bit of jumping, a bit of combat, a bit of talking, just a bit of everything but absolutely no personality or innovation whatsoever when it comes to its gameplay. I’ll give the game credit for having a great presentation and art style, with great character animations and design, even though your character looks like a straight plagiarized version of Guybrush from the Monkey Island series. Sadly, that’s where the praise ends.

The beginning of the game didn’t feel like a 3D platformer at all. It felt more like the introductory hours from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, in the sense you were forced to do mundane chores for lazy people just because the game forced you to do so. Grab some chickens, get a piece of pie. Give piece of pie to old hungry pirate who lives three feet away from a cart full of melons, get a lamp. Use lamp in order to enter a very well-lit cavern in order to get an egg. Give egg to pirate buddy in order to access the thrift shop version of Wind Waker‘s Forsaken Fortress. Endure a ton of game-breaking bugs throughout the experience. You get the deal, it’s a bunch of loosely connected chores until the game tells you to stop, either by actually ending or until some glitch forces you to restart your PS4.

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Dude, there’s a watermelon RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU

The boring objectives and glitches aren’t the only problem in this game, however. There’s a lot more to talk about.

The game’s “combat” is comprised of two to three sword swings with some faulty collision detection, all while being forced to listen to the most blatant copy of Adult Link’s swordfighting screams you’ll ever hear in a non-Zelda game. The game is completely devoid of any sound effects besides those small voice clips, by the way. No step noises, no wind noises, not even sounds from the ocean. It feels extremely incomplete and even a bit unsettling. The soundtrack isn’t interesting at all, and it loops constantly. There are times the background music stops from out of nowhere, only to come back 30 seconds later without any apparent reason.

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Why did I have to grab a lantern to enter this perfectly lit cavern?

Finally, a massive problem regarding a game that calls itself a platformer: the actual platforming. It’s bad. The controls are unresponsive, the camera isn’t exactly helpful, and the jumping mechanics are just bad.

Think about your favorite 3D platformers. Think of Mario 64, think of Banjo, think of Jak. It’s actually fun to jump in these games. It feels fluid, natural, responsive. Your character starts running the moment he finishes his jump, allowing for faster gameplay. That’s not the case with Flynn & Freckles. Not only does the game feature a bit of input lag, but your character loses momentum whenever he lands. There’s no way to quickly jump through a bunch of platforms, for instance. When the actual platforming in your platformer is completely devoid of fun, you know something is really wrong.

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Discount version of Forsaken Fortress

The game’s heart and soul are in the right place, but Flynn & Freckles is just a glitchy and boring mess that’s impossible to recommend at this state. It tries to provide a somewhat retro platforming experience with an adorable pirate coat of paint, but it’s too broken and overall uninteresting to captivate players for longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Graphics: 8.0

The graphics are adorable. Vibrant colors, very good lighting and excellent animations. Shout out to the little chickens.

Gameplay: 3.0

The gameplay and control scheme try to emulate the feel of 3D platformers from the 90’s, but end up failing at that by being glitchy and unresponsive.

Sound: 3.5

The soundtrack isn’t exactly bad, but it loops constantly. Besides that, the game is pretty much devoid of sound effects (except voice clips) to the point of making it look somewhat unfinished.

Fun Factor: 3.0

The game does tries its best to provide a somewhat nostalgic platforming experience, but its myriad of glitches and overall boring design severely hinder its fun factor.

Final Verdict: 4.0