My first video game review of 2018 is a post apocalyptic survival game, called The Flame in the Flood, which was developed by The Molasses Flood.
The premise of the game is fairly simple. You play the role of a young girl, surviving in a flooded post apocalyptic America. One day, your canine companion, Aesop, brings you a radio, which hints at a community of survivors existing somewhere along the river. You decide to head out on your little raft, with Aesop, to find this community. As far as plots go, its OK to get the game going but I wouldn’t say it was the game’s major selling point.
The gameplay and setting are supposed to be what sell The Flame in the Flood. I admit, the setting appeals to me, along with the way it is visually presented. The art style would be what I imagine a Tim Burton created survival game would look like. I also get Don’t Starve vibes from the game. While I like the game visually, the gameplay mechanics are a completely different story. The main goal is to ensure your character’s thirst, hunger, temperature and energy levels are maintained while you travel down the river. To do this, you must visit ruins and islands on the river to scavenge for supplies. Some supplies are instantly consumable while others can be combined together to craft items. Nature is not your friend as you also have to avoid predators and shelter from the elements, otherwise there is a chance you can die. However I do have to add that this part of the game becomes repetitive and once you have gathered enough supplies, there is no real reason to scavenge anymore.
Another major element of the game is sailing your raft down the river. Initially this fun and somewhat challenging, as should you collide with obstacles in the river too many times, your raft is destroyed and you will die. Like with many crafting survival games, you have the ability to upgrade your raft and I found that once you upgraded the raft to a certain point, the game loses all sense of difficulty. Combine that with the fact you can store items on your dog, which you can then transfer to a new game, the survival element of the game is gone.
The game does have some fantastic music. Initially, I thought the country style music would jar with world created within the game, but it actually complements it instead. The music combined with the visuals of the game, make travelling along the river enjoyable and almost relaxing.
I know this review comes across negative and I really wanted to like The Flame in the Flood. Once I had upgrade my raft and has gathered a few supplies, there didn’t feel like anything could threaten me, except my own stupidity. I was also disappointed with the final revelation of the game and was left wondering, is that it? The game is a good survival game, to a point and I imagine fans of the genre will love it. However if you are someone who wants a challenging game or one with a compelling story and cast of characters, they I suggest you get this game when it goes on sale.
The Flame in the Flood is available on PC, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
The Flame in the Flood logo came from themolassesflood.com, while all the screenshots came The Flame in the Flood Steam store page.