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The Flame in the Flood Review

The Flame in the Flood Review

The Flame in the Flood is a deadly, yet beautiful game. It tasks you with surviving in the wilderness, using nothing but the resources at hand, most of which will always seem scarce. It is a tough, unforgiving game which punishes you for your mistakes, and has death constantly stalking your shadow. It is also one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in some time.

The Flame in the Flood, developed by indie-studio The Molasses Flood and ported to PS4 by Curve Digital, is set in a post-societal world, where a flood on a biblical scale has occurred. Cities have been drowned and civilisation is somewhat non-existent. You’re tasked with finding a mysterious radio signal, aided only by a faithful dog and a rickety and cumbersome raft.

The raft is your major mode of transport in The Flame in the Flood. You use it to navigate the tumultuous river that flows past the towns and wilderness of a rural America. Travelling down the river can be deadly as it is peaceful. Rushing rapids force to you to dodge deadly rocks, whilst storms can hinder your vision and soak you to the bone.

To survive you must collect materials from the procedurally generated wilderness that you float past. However, seeing as you’re constantly at mercy to the river’s tide, choosing which areas to visit is vital to your survival. Do you choose to hunt for food in the woods or visit a passing marina to upgrade your raft? These are the choices you face throughout the game, and are the ones that determine your success.

The Flame in the Flood

You collect a lot of materials, ingredients and food throughout the game which can be either used individually, or combined to create new items. Because loot is randomised, certain items may appear more often than others, but the game never feels unfair. Instead you’re often forced to choose between what items to craft, in the hope that the next area will prove more bountiful.

The items you do collect can often be used to upgrade your gear and raft. You can stitch pouches from animal skins to give you more storage, something which is vital if you want to collect enough gear to survive, or use the fur to make warmer clothing. Upgrading your raft is just as important, but finding enough gear to make numerous advancements takes time. I choose to upgrade mine with a rudder and a stove. One is vital if you want to navigate the river with ease and the stove provides you with warmth and the option to cook meat outside of a campfire. Other options include a water purifier, extra raft storage, a motor and more.

One thing you definitely need during the game if you intend to catch food is traps. Snares and box traps can be crafted to catch rabbits, whilst deadlier spike traps can be used to kill boars, wolves and even potentially bears. Without these traps, or indeed a bow, you’ll have a difficult time fighting off these predators, who can do some serious damage.

The Flame in the Flood 1

Speaking of injuries, you’ll want to try and avoid any lacerations and broken bones if you intend to survive. These along with other hindrances such as sepsis, hypothermia, food poisoning and many more will quickly put a stop to your journey if you can’t cure them quickly. The threat of injuries, coupled with attempting to keep your food, water and temperature levels always keeps you on edge, and challenges you to plan ahead.

When you die a checkpoint system is in place which allows you to respawn from a certain point in the river. You get to keep your items but you lose the miles you’ve travelled, meaning you’re tasked with surviving yet again.

Complementing The Flame in the Flood is one of the most wonderful soundtracks I’ve heard in recent times. The music isn’t only outstanding, but it’s befitting of the scenery and environments that feature within the game. The musical score is one filled with both sparse, melodic tunes, and country and western songs by the artist Chuck Ragan, featuring appearances from the Camaraderie and The Fearless Kin. The Americana vibe is wonderfully realised within the music, which truly adds another element to the game.

Flood 3

Visually the game has a simple, yet pleasing design. Weather effects are fantastic and the river stands out as the game’s biggest visual joy. I encountered a few glitches in my 12 or so hours playing, but nothing too major. The biggest issue I had was that the animation for bears seemed to make it look like they were floating across the ground.

For lovers of rouge-likes and tough, charming, indie-survival games, The Flame in the Flood fits the bill. The game’s procedurally generated maps gives it high replayability, as does the Endless Mode which is unlocked right from the start.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Flame in the Flood. There is an infectious and undeniable charm about the game, and trying to survive on a constant basis is demanding, yet very rewarding. Floating down the river can be as serene as it can be deadly, but you’ll want to keep paddling no matter what.

9.00/10 9

The Flame in the Flood (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

The Flame in the Flood is a tough, yet very rewarding survival game that is infectious in its design, tempting players to keep going until their flame eventually dies out.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Reece Armstrong

Reece Armstrong

Senior Staff Writer

Just a musician and geek all rolled into one who spends his days watching sandcastles melt into the sea

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