Game Info:

The Flame In The Flood
Developed by: The Molasses Flood
Published by: The Molasses Flood
Release date: February 2016
Available on: Windows, Mac, Xbox One
Genre: Survival
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Teen for blood and violence
Price: $19.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Molasses Flood for sending us a review code!

Have you ever wondered how long you would survive in the wild with no supplies?  If The Flame In The Flood is any indication, chances are I wouldn’t last a week.  There are two game modes: campaign and endless.  The goal in both is to survive in the post-societal wilderness by scrounging for and crafting resources and staying ahead of the coming rains.

All that the main character, Scout, has is a backpack (with never enough space!), a raft, and a helpful dog that sniffs out items that are worth grabbing.  Despite selecting the dog Daisy, it still shows up as Aesop in the game’s inventory menu.  The beginning of the journey takes place at camp Pinewood where you can read instructional signs about filtering water, temporarily scaring away wolves, and the usefulness of campfires. 

There are only four stats to worry about: hunger, thirst, temperature, and rest.  Keeping those levels high relies on luck as each adventure is procedurally generated and your scavenging success is never guaranteed.  After you leave the first island you have no idea how far the next one will be and what hostile life forms await you there.

The Flame In The Flood

Strong Points: Fun rogue survival game that keeps track of how many days and how far you can travel before you die in the harsh wilderness.
Weak Points: Sometimes you’re unlucky when it comes to scavenging; no matter which dog you choose its name appears as Aesop in the inventory screen.
Moral Warnings: You can die in many ways and some of them are bloody.

Some islands have caches that reward you for completing tasks like going to church.  Sadly, the churches and most of the other buildings and vehicles are deprecated and abandoned.  Many of them can still be looted for useful items like rags, flint, fishing hooks/wire, and medicine.  Throughout my journeys I have gotten mauled, broken bones, drunk, poison ivy, and a staph infection. 

I have also died numerous times of starvation.  Finding food is hit or miss; sometimes you can gather plants like corn, yucca, and mulberries but there’s no guarantees on what will be awaiting you on your next stop.  There could be rabbits that you can trap if you have to proper supplies, or deadly bears, wolves, or boars could maul or scare you off the island.  While stashing food is good in theory, it does go bad in a few days unless it’s ash cake which is made from corn.  Some foods like dandelion tea will replenish both your hunger and hydration.

Occasionally I have come across ready to use items like sewing kits, campfires, and warmer clothes.  If you are wet or cold, you will have a penalty until you rectify the problem.  Also be sure to keep your raft in working order by stopping at the marinas to do repairs.  I learned the hard way that if your raft breaks, you’ll drown.  The kicker was that I was one meter from the marina when it happened.

If you’re playing on the survivalist difficulty, your deaths will be permanent.  The default traveler difficulty has check points and more supplies available.  I was struggling to stay alive in the traveler mode so I haven’t bothered trying the survival mode.  I like how the dog’s inventory carries over into the next campaign.

The Flame In The Flood
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 85%
Violence - 2.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The Flame In The Flood is built on the Unreal 4 engine and graphics do not disappoint.  The scenery is well detailed and everything looks run down as intended.  The art style of the characters is rather unique and they are well animated.  Since this game was funded on Kickstarter the dog models used are those of a couple of backers who paid extra.

The sound effects are very believable, especially the rain and thunder.  The acoustic background music is pleasant to listen to and sets the camping mood nicely.

Other than the ability to be mauled by wildlife, this game is relatively tame.  The character’s portrait gets bloodied the more she gets attacked.  The staving death sequence is pretty dramatic and drawn out as well.  Because of the various ways to die it’s not recommended for younger children to play.

If you’re looking for a challenging survival game, The Flame In The Flood is sure to deliver.  I was pleasantly surprised how fun this game is despite me being bad at it.  The price is a reasonable $19.99 and is sure to entertain for hours on end due to its randomly generated environments.  

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