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The Flame In The Flood

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 26 - 2017

Rafting through the wilderness.

 
The Nintendo Switch is becoming something of a haven for great indie games, partly because it is yet another platform for them to launch on, but also partly due to the mobile nature of the console being so well suited to many indie titles. This means that plenty of older indie games are now turning up on the handheld/big screen hybrid, introducing Switch gamers to experiences they may have missed on other platforms. The Molasses Flood’s procedurally generated survival game The Flame in the Flood only arrived on other platforms last year, but now it has arrived on the Switch, meaning players can struggle to survive and raft along the river both on the big screen and while they are out and about. It’s a great match.

 
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But don’t be expecting a leisurely sail along the river while sitting on the bus. This post-apocalyptic jaunt through the American wilderness is very testing and, at times, quite frustrating as the player struggles to survive the seemingly endless ways to die.

 
The Flame in the Flood tells the tale of a young survivor and her faithful doggy companion as they try to negotiate an expansive river in an attempt to survive. Our hero’s only other companion on this journey, is her rickety raft. As far as sea-faring vessels go, this leaves a lot to be desired. The river is rough and unforgiving, often throwing debris of a fallen civilization in the player’s path, or more natural river obstacles for the player to deal with. On top of this, the raft is particularly delicate, with small knocks and bumps all adding up to the possibility of the raft falling apart and the player drowning. Maneuvering the raft to avoid such obstacles, or to reach a landing point on the bank of the river, is difficult and chaotic, further raising the tension of river travel. Further into the game, upgrades will be available for the raft to make it a little less treacherous, but spending time on the river will always be a worry.

 
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The thing is, the river is the main hub that links together all of the little, procedurally generated patches of land that the player will need to explore in order to survive, so the river is also your best friend. It only flows one way, meaning that back tracking is not possible, so if you miss a landing point, whatever secrets it had to offer will be gone forever.

 
Players will find themselves having to manage a selection of different meters, such as hunger and thirst, in order to keep the young survivor alive. This will mean finding everything they need from the various patches of land alongside the river, in the form of foraging different supplies or occasionally finding chests which may contain useful items. There is a substantial crafting tree that will provide everything that the player will need, from medicines to help the player when something goes wrong, to traps and weapons to deal with the wildlife that the player will inevitably come across on their journey. The dog will help with locating materials that the player can collect, all while they worry about finding food, firepits or shelter through the night. It is always a desperate situation and the player will find themselves constantly having to pull this survivor from the brink of death.

 
A large part of this dance with death will be the management of the inventory. The player has an incredibly limited amount of space to store the items they find, and there will often be some difficult choices to make in what the player keeps and what they discard. Extra storage is available on the dog, and players can upgrade further down the line, but there will always be choices to make. The player will need to decide what they prioritize and, due to the random nature of the game that doesn’t guarantee the same items in the same place, subsequent playthroughs may require different priorities. Learning how to survive and what is needed the most will come as the player dies time and again, which can be demoralizing.

 
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Still, spend a little time on land and maybe stave off death for another day, then back onto the river. While the constant loop of finding what the player needs to survive and dealing with any threats before traveling along and doing it all again can get a little repetitive, it is that constant mystery of what may be around the next corner in the river that will drive the player on. Will there be the materials needed for that all important upgrade? Perhaps a structure that hints back to a time before the flood made the world so inhospitable? Or maybe there will be other human survivors? The only way to find out will be to jump on that raft and follow the river.

 
The Flame in the Flood is a beautiful game, with a style that brings atmosphere to this brutal post-apocalyptic world. The Americana soundtrack further enhances the mood, being very easy on the ears and enjoyable to listen to. This being the Complete Edition on the Nintendo Switch, players will also have access to a developer commentary and an endless mode that allows the player to just keep on playing as long as they can. So far as extras go, these are perhaps not the most exciting, but for anyone that enjoys the challenge of the game, the endless mode will be really testing.

 
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The Flame in the Flood is a great survival game that fits well on the Nintendo Switch. In portable mode, things can sometimes be a little tricky to see, but otherwise the game works really well and is perfectly suited to mobile play. The randomness of the game will put some players off, and for the more casual gamer it can be quite difficult to survive long enough to learn. However, stick with it and The Flame in the Flood will be a rewarding survival experience that will travel with you.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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