There’s something strangely serene about The Flame In The Flood. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough as nails, brutally harsh and unforgiving. However, the way it presents itself and the loneliness of your situation gives way to some really affecting moments in between the time you’re fighting the elements and nature itself.
At its core, The Flame In The Flood is a procedurally generated survival game, where you play as a young girl and her dog companion. You’re trying to stay alive after a river floods vast sections of the mainland. The nature of the flooding or the river itself is never really made clear. Society and infrastructure seems to have crumbled, and you need to forage in order to sustain yourself.
Since most of the land has been taken over by the river, small islands have cropped up along the river. You are travelling downriver on a boat, and will need to stop at regular intervals on these islands to find food, shelter and resources. The islands are procedurally generated, and it’s only when you land on one that you find out what they might hold.
Survival isn’t as easy as one would think – resources are low, and dangers are ever present. If it’s not wolves and crows, then it’s the fact that food is scant, and rains can really bring you down. The game constantly keeps you on your toes, and you feel as vulnerable early on in the game as you do by the end. This might feel frustrating at first, but once you get further along, and the sense of loneliness and even adventure sets in, the harshness comes be a natural part of surviving alone. The game also benefits because of the amazing soundtrack that fits really well with the tone of the game.
There are a few issues, especially with the inventory management. However, its takes a few hours to get used to it, and there’s so much that great about The Flame In The Flood, that it’s easy to overlook some of its flaws.
The game looks fantastic – the art style is visually stunning. Be it going downriver as the camera pulls back to give you a good look at the landscape, or the small details as the camera pulls back in while you’re scavenging, everything looks gorgeous.
The Flame In The Flood is a challenging survival game with an interesting premise. The core mechanics are solid, and consistently punishing. It looks and sounds fantastic, and is an easy recommendation to anyone who enjoys survival games.