GAME NAME: The Flame in the Flood
DEVELOPER(S): The Molasses Flood
PUBLISHER(S): The Molasses Flood
PLATFORM(S): Xbox One
GENRE(S): Roguelike, Survival Game
RELEASE DATE(S): February 24th, 2016
As of late, there have been many survival games “flooding” the gaming market, some being “AAA” titles and others from indie developers. They all have their own quirks and downfalls, but only one survival game, made by The Molasses Flood, has achieved a more grasping concept with their game The Flame in the Flood. The small indie studio is made up of six members who have all worked on very popular titles, such as Bioshock, Halo 2, Rock Band and Guitar Hero. The Flame in the Flood is a game with virtually no narrative or story from first glance and drives you to play for the moment.
The world has been flooded beyond comprehension and the game starts out with a random dog bringing you a backpack from an unfortunate non-survivor. As you start to explore the first area, you will begin to pick up everything you possibly can, sparking that gamer OCD of collecting everything. Trust me I am an over explorer in games and try to gather everything in my path, but as hard as it seemed I had to manage in dropping that OCD I have had since my early gaming days. The Flame in the Flood is all about the moment of right now instead of possibly later, which will drive you insane at first. You travel around the world on a makeshift style raft fighting the current and trying to direct yourself to the closest island you’re able to dock at. Upon arrival you and the dog will get off the raft and start exploring that new land mass. Some things you may find are plants, things that can be looted, cabins, broken buses or places to build a campfire. Everything in The Flame in the Flood is procedurally-generated as you adventure around on your raft or landing on the islands.
The hardest part of this game for me was definitely picking and choosing what items I truly needed and which things I could “live” without. This is where The Flame in the Flood aspires to be a bit different from most other survival games. At first I tried to gather everything in my path to soon find out you can only hold so much and your dog as well. You can store some stuff on your raft, but it all comes down to what you desperately need to survive for this moment and that moment alone. Your character will need to eat, drink and sleep to stay healthy throughout her travels and you can achieve all that by collecting items to make what you might need. Water is actually more difficult to obtain naturally than you would expect, with every puddle being contaminated and requiring you to try and use your campfire and other items to turn it into drinkable water. You can drink the polluted/contaminated water, but it can cause problems with your health that would need tending to.
There are dangers in the flooded world you’re exploring and those can include anything from wolves, bears, boars or even mother nature with her torrential thunderstorms. If you get attacked and live then you will most likely need to craft bandages or use a stitching kit to sow your wounds. When it rains, it pours in The Flame in the Flood since you will need to find cover and sleep through to storm since you can get sick from the rain. You can also get materials to craft warmer clothes if needed since temperatures can drop causing you to need warmth.
The menu/inventory system is probably the biggest downfall to The Flame in the Flood. It isn’t user friendly and seems a bit confusing at first glance, which will require you to constantly scroll around trying to find or craft what you need. I did get the hang of it after awhile, but I think since crafting for survival is your main concern most of the game that it should’ve been a bit more accessible to the majority of gamers.
The Flame in the Flood has an amazing art style that stands out and gives the game a very unique look. There were some frame rate hiccups, but more issues with the screen clipping than anything. This all can hopefully be fixed with an update, although the game is still more than playable and it doesn’t interfere with the experience all too much. The music has a very laid back country/Americana style to it, even though it seems faint at times it definitely suits this game perfectly. When it comes to sound effects, well there isn’t much to push on here with everything falling into place how you’d expect it.
The Molasses Flood has done a great job in creating a unique survival experience with The Flame in the Flood. Even though the inventory screens are a bit underdeveloped and the screen clips here and there, the experience is still one that is more than enjoyable. If you’re looking for a challenging survival game with a little bit of a different edge then The Flame in the Flood is a game you should not pass up.