Players are initially treated to a quick tutorial covering the basics, and then off they go on their adventure. One can pick from normal play with an array of difficulties or a survival mode allowing players to go for as long as humanly possible. There is no fighting mechanics or levelling up systems in place for The Flame in the Flood readers, the name of the game is crafting.
Gather, Craft, Gather and… Craft!
Crafting is fairly simple, just gather the supplies you need and select the option within the popup in game menu to create. One got a little too trigger happy with the hunter gatherer vibe and quickly expelled the room in mine and my companion dogs inventory. Realistically inventory management is a constant struggle, so this makes sense. Players will need to search the procedurally generated world for ‘blueprints’ on different items to craft to get the most out of their abysmal lives.
Players main mode of transportation is a reasonably well built raft which also needs maintaining and looking after. Bang into a floating car or house? Your raft will receive damage which will need repairing when you dock if its extensive. Using boost options just to avoid these kinds of obstacles is normally a good technique.
Wait Mr. Postman!
Post boxes provide new quests and serve as a collection point for rewards for completing said quest. These can start as simple crafting requests to start but soon turn into bigger jobs. As our protagonists travel down river, players will find little islands with loot on to pick up as they pass by which can come in handy. Stopping off at docks and exploring comes with its many dangers.
Some of the more obvious hazards include being attacked by bears and wild bores, then of the flipside having a walk in the rain may leave you seriously ill. Lacerations can be caused by walking through thorns, to many berries can result in a case of… well you know and so forth. This is where players can use their inventory to their advantage.
It’s a Trap!
Although players cannot fight, our protagonist can learn the set various traps for the majority of the world’s animals or even hunt with a bow and arrow. This however takes patience and time to collect the correct resources. The reward here is getting a decent meal next to the campfire to set you up for the next day’s slog.
As well thought out as the whole experience of The Flame in the Flood is, the curse of repetition comes in after a while. There is more than enough content for players to sink their teeth into, but the title is based on the same cycle of gather supplies, avoid hazards, repair, eat, sleep and repeat.
A Beautiful Wasteland
With the art direction coming from the visionary minds behind the Bioshock series, Flame in the Flood really shines here. From leaves, rain and crows flying around in the foreground to the teams weathered depiction of a post-apocalyptic southern America, this game stand out from the crowded eShop scene. The title almost looks hand painted throughout, this writer really wants to make the point of how hard it must have been to put across such a simplistic looking but detailed world.
Musically this soundtrack drums to the same beat, with off tone southern harmonicas and guitars accumulating the general sense of vast nothingness the world now holds. Sound effects are also tight, on point and deep. The SFX are very well balanced, a clamber or hit is not overpowering in the overall ethereal atmosphere of the game.
Graphics and Presentation: 4
Overall Score: 3.7/5
Whilst Flame in the Flood is a stand out survival title which is complimented by a brilliant soundtrack and a specialist visual art style, it becomes quite competitive after a while. If players are accustomed to survival titles they might not feel the grind as bad. This writer feels that a more in depth experience and defensive mechanics would have added a positive dimension to gameplay. Still, a good debut release for The Molasses Flood.
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: The Molasses Flood
Release Date: 12/10/2017
Age Rating: PEGI 16+
Review copy provided by publisher