The Flame in the Flood is the latest in line for the survival craze, and follows a lot of traditions that have been set by its predecessors (crafting and maintaining your stats), however it does so in a completely unique and challenging fashion. If I was to compare this game with something, it would most likely be with Don’t Starve due to its similar rogue-like nature as the game expects you to die, and you will die a lot. So it comes down to how long you can survive and whether or not you can finish the game’s campaign.

 

As I said, the game is a rogue-like, and thus the catalogue of items available for the player to craft isn’t really extensive, which works in the game’s favour by not overwhelming the player with almost limitless possibilities. The craftable items and their instructions are pretty straightforward, but their items are not usually easy to find as you will be travelling from one place to another in order to assemble even the most basic of items.

 

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“you are constantly travelling from one place to another and coming across unfamiliar places, never knowing what you will run into”

 

However, the main essence of the game involves a raft and the river. The raft can not only be used as extra storage when your small backpack gets filled but is also used for traversing the river in order to get to different locations, and since the river only flows one way, the game doesn’t allow you to re-dock your raft at places you have already visited. I do have a huge problem with departing from any place however, as all it takes is the single press of an X near the raft and you set off. So, if like me, you keep pressing it accidentally, confusing it for different buttons due to the game’s confusing control scheme, you will board the raft and set off, effectively being cut off from the small island. I have missed out on islands due to this, and think that the game needs a prompt asking players to confirm before they set off.

 

Anyway, due to the absence of backtracking, you are constantly travelling from one place to another and coming across unfamiliar places, never knowing what you will run into, which keeps you on the edge of your seat due to the sheer unpredictability. As far as the game is concerned, there are no set safe spaces and you have to keep finding new ones every time you embark on your raft.

 

There are several types of docks that you will come across, farmlands, camps, wild areas, raft shops, etc… You are more likely to find certain items at their corresponding locations, such as flints and coals at camps and food sources at farmlands. However, what makes you truly think about alighting at certain ports as I have mentioned before, is that you never know what you will run into.

 

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“I managed to lure one of the boars towards the wolf, causing them to fight and allowing me to escape”

 

Throughout your travels you will come across boars, snakes, bears and wolves who are really powerful and are very hard to escape from. Since the game doesn’t allow you to fight back, you are forced to utilise whatever you can craft to keep the threat at bay. I have died several times just because I stupidly decided to risk it rather than flee. What satisfied me the most however, was when I managed to lure one of the boars towards the wolf, causing them to fight and allowing me to escape (I still died from sepsis).

 

When the wildlife isn’t killing you, the nature will, either through the poisonous plants (e.g. Poison Ivy), river or even something as trivial as rain since it lowers your temperature which can kill you when depleted, forcing you to seek shelter or craft better outfits which you will be required to quite a bit.

 

Running into all these unfortunate situations will grant you a varied and disturbingly specific amount of deaths. So far playing this game, I have died from sepsis, dehydration, drowning, starvation and lack of sleep. The way certain afflictions such as lacerations turn into sepsis if you ignore them, and different types of diseases have different treatments, really makes the game’s injury mechanic stand out.

 

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My favourite mechanic from the game however, is the dog. The dog follows you throughout your adventure, and does not succumb to the travesties the game has to offer, and can in fact carry some items for you. What is interesting about this mechanic, is what happens with these items after you die. Every time you begin a run with a new character, a small cutscene of the dog plays, taking off a backpack from a skeleton and dragging it towards the new character you will be controlling, who is huddled around a campfire. Since the dog always survives on the campaign mode, whatever is in his bag at the time of your previous death will be made available to your successor. You can use this system to make meaningful choices when you know you are at the end of your rope.

 

The last few things that definitely deserve a mention is the game’s premise and it’s original music by the talented Chuck Ragan. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting where flood has taken over and destroyed everything, causing the wildlife to take over, a setting that has been done well with how they’ve designed each level which shows what the flood has done, and the damage it has caused. Cities have been overrun by nature and man made structures lie in ruins. It paints a sombre image but still manages to give off hope with the way lightning is used. At times, you will see streaks of godray beautifully blush off of barren landscapes, showing you the good the world can still offer.

 

The song was played on repeat during the review of this game!

The music on the other hand has been composed by Chuck Ragan who has written some excellent country-esque songs which accompany you, usually when you travel down the river, making the experience memorable and Road-Trip adventurous.

 

Some problems with the controls and design aside, The Flame in the Flood is one of the coolest survival games I have played, and is one that I will be more than happy to keep playing. Filled with unpredictability, death, great music, even more death and rogue-like elements, this is a must play for rogue-like and survival fans.

 



Author

Haris Iqbal
Haris Iqbal

I am a guy who loves anything with a powerful storyline, whether it be a game, book or movie, it doesn't matter. Just so long as it hooks me in and keeps my imagination captive till the last word/scene! Also, I am huge Silent Hill fan, so I love all things Silent Hill... and anything horror. Huge horror fanatic!