The Gate Guardian intro boss in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Flintlock The Siege of Dawn – A Soulslite for the ages

A charming game with plenty of visual flair.

Coming from New Zealand-based indie studio A44, Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn will be only the second game in their portfolio after the release of Ashen, a co-op-based Soulslite, back in 2019. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is a properly fun romp through an accursed land, with weird coffee shop owners and gun smoke smell thick in the air.

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Some devilishly strong core combat mechanics, a gripping premise, a fantastic main character, and a sickeningly cute dog/fox/God companion to boot all make this one something to sink your teeth into and enjoy.

An Introduction to the World of Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

Intro cutscene in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides


That's one of the first things you see upon checking the store page for Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn, and the game quickly shows you exactly why that's so. Hordes of the dead spill out from 'The Door', and Nor Vanek (Olive Gray) must track down her adoptive father Baz (Elias Toufexis), who has run off into it on a bit of a suicide mission.

You make your way through the trenches to track him down, and eventually, you do. You continue on with your comrades before meeting a foe none of you could possibly even hope to best, the 'Gate Guardian', and you are unceremoniously smashed into the ground and batted away into the dark waters below.

  • The gate and first boss arena in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
  • The Gate Guardian intro boss in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
  • Being finished by the intro boss in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.

Eventually, you awake, albeit in an unfamiliar place, and it is here you meet 'Enki' (Alistair Petrie), who introduces himself as a lesser God and wants your help killing the rest of them.

That's where I'll leave the general story explanation for now, but what I'd like to highlight is the really great introduction section. Already Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn has established a compelling world setup and showcased some exceptional art direction. The wonderful mix of early 20th century trench warfare, combined with revolutionary war garb and weaponry, along with the eerie monsters and magics makes for a gripping first few minutes that left me wanting to continue on immediately.

Live by the Axe, Die by the Axe (and gun)

A parry/riposte finisher in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Gameplay wise, Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn doesn't disappoint either. The trenches section acts as the first real tutorial, and you're introduced to all of those great Soulsborne-like (what a word) trademarks: yep, you can hit, shoot, block, parry, and riposte.

Melee combat is quick and responsive and feels very nice and weighty (as it should when you're wielding an axe), and gun combat is treated both as a utility and a defense, with a system of gun parrying akin to Bloodborne. Whilst you can dodge, it isn't your primary defense as it would be in a traditional souls game, as the emphasis is very much on parries and gun breaks. And frankly, I found that to be a great change. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn takes the elements that work from its inspirations (which it proudly wears on its sleeve) but makes them work in new ways to catch even the most seasoned players off guard.

So, already, combat is strong enough to carry the game as is, but then you meet Enki, and it only gets better. Enki leads us to a strange place—a bright purple light mixed with needles of stone suspended in the air. Enki asks for some gunpowder, which you provide, and he gives you your first major ability: powdered mobility.

  • Enki in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
  • A powder jump in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
  • A powder dash in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
  • Using powder jumps to cancel fall damage in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.

There's no other way to describe this ability other than that it absolutely rocks. It allows double jumps and mid-air dashes, as well as the ability to cancel fall damage, but also offers plenty of combat applications for aerial dominance and tactical positioning.

In addition to this, there's another set of abilities you get shortly thereafter, these ones focusing on Enki and how he can aid you in combat. Enki can "mark" enemies for death, which allows you to build up a charge when you attack them further, and when it's full, you can absolutely rag someone about for some huge damage. He also grants you "Withering," a sort of ultimate ability that can outright kill a group of enemies or leave some considerable mark buildup on the ones that keep kicking.

Your Reputation Precedes You

Charging at a group of enemies in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

A lot of the Souls game influences of Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn show themselves in other ways, like the limited healing resources and highly punishing death scenarios. Progression, however, differs greatly, as your primary improvement resource is a form of XP known as "Reputation," which is gained through fighting and killing enemies, albeit with a great twist.

Reputation is gained through the act of combat itself as opposed to just killing, and performing certain actions grants multipliers to your reputation gain. As opposed to the typical stat-based leveling of Souls games, reputation is spent on weapon upgrades or skills, which will be discussed later.

Another important facet of Reputation is the "banking" system: you will continue to gain multipliers, and increased reputation until you take a hit, in which case any reputation you've racked up will be claimed, and any multipliers will be lost. This leads to an invigorating risk/reward system, with you needing to carefully measure your own abilities to know if you've got a chance to get the greatest returns.

The three skill trees in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
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In Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn, there are three distinctive skill trees to spend your Reputation on. First there is the 'Path of Powder', which is dedicated to your use of black powder in combat. This tree focuses on gun attacks and some hefty modifiers to your melee, with skills such as charged gunshots and aerial slam attacks being two of the first you'll grab.

The 'Path of Magic' focuses on Enki and how he interacts in combat. This tree will grant him the ability to passively taunt enemies, as well as hold them in place. There are more options, but these were two of the standouts in my playtime.

Finally, there is the 'Path of Steel' tree, which focuses on your melee and defensive abilities. Here, you'll gain dodge attacks and the ability to riposte ranged attacks, both of which are essential skills for prolonged combat encounters.

The Wonderful World of Kian

  • A landscape of an open area in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
  • An elder, who holds a renown boost in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
  • The 'Sebo' minigame in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.

Exploration is a further key element of Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn. Once the game opens up a bit after the introduction section, you'll have a surprising amount of freedom to roam around semi-open areas. Doing so is important too, as you'll be able to find materials for upgrading your weapons, secrets for upgrading some of your core kit (such as Enki Feathers), special combat encounters, and some chances to earn extra reputation via a very addicting little minigame known as "Sebo" (in which you move tokens to form a pattern, or prevent your opponent forming one themselves), or "Elders," strange desiccated corpses scattered around, who hold pickups that can boost your reputation gain.

  • The 'Sebo' minigame in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
  • An 'Elder' in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

Optional dungeon encounters also appear, with one showing up right before a major area I had to progress through. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn manages to strike a really great balance between challenge and reward here, as the dungeon was fairly short but plenty tough, and rewarded me with a new weapon for getting all the way to the end.

  • The boss at the end of the optional dungeon in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
  • Finishing off the boss in the optional dungeon in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.

Room for improvement?

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is off to a fantastic start, and in regards to points of improvement I do struggle to think of anything of any major significance.

Performance when first loading in can be quite choppy, as the game may be compiling shaders upon booting up when first playing or loading back in, so an option to pre-compile would be great (assuming this is the case of course). Around these load in times, I'd get anywhere between 30-45 Frames Per Second, with lots of stuttering.

However, even then, it levels out fairly quickly, returning to a solid 60 Frames Per Second for the vast majority of my playthrough, and it's important to note that any issues faced in my preview playthrough may be patched by the full release. (The publisher has noted more optimization is coming).

I played this game on controller as per the recommendation of the developers (as tends to be the norm for Soulslikes) so I cannot speak to how this game plays on Mouse and Keyboard. However, regardless of what is recommended, efforts should always be made to make the game as playable as possible regardless of peripherals. So if improvements to M+K can be made, I'd very much like to see it happen.

There were also a few instances of some wonky hit detection on my end as well as the enemies'. That is to to say, there were times I thought I was guaranteed to get a hit (especially with jump attacks), only to watch my axe phase through my target. This happens to enemies too, as sometimes seemingly pressing right up against them prevents their attacks from landing correctly.

These are all pretty minor points though, and very rarely did they impact my enjoyment of the game at large.

Final Thoughts

Nor with her axe and gun drawn upon meeting Enki in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn genuinely surprised me from start to finish in the limited slice I was able to experience, and I am genuinely excited to return upon full release on the 18th of July this year.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is special because above all things, it feels like it was made with some genuine heart. There is an incredibly entertaining core combat system, with plenty of upgrade potential and variety to go along with plenty of enemy types and some well designed boss encounters. You've got an eerie yet oddly charming setting, with plenty of visual flair and great historical inspirations to add to a new magical world filled with threats here-to-unknown, a world which you have plenty of opportunity to explore to find crucial upgrades and secrets.

And Nor, the gal you've gotta slog through it all with is a genuinely charming protagonist, who is strong willed, sometimes rash, and yet still emotionally vulnerable and respectful of the people around her; voiced by actor Olive Gray, who has shown themselves to have a remarkable talent for the craft. And not to mention Enki, who is decidedly polite, loveable, and doesn't become a burdensome companion at any point thus far.

I personally cannot wait to get back into this game upon release, and hope many others share my love for this exciting new title!

If you're looking for some more Souls or Soulslike content from us here at Pro Game Guides, check out our list of the Best Soulslike Games to Play after Elden Ring, or if you can't hardly wait for Shadow of the Erdtree like me, check out our countdown!

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Connell Watson
Hotline Miami understander, rat aficionado, lover of boomer shooters - Freelance Writer at ProGameGuides.

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Flintlock The Siege of Dawn – A Soulslite for the ages

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