Before we dive in, it is important to note that The Flame in the Flood was developed by some of our favorite “AAA refugees” from studios such as Irrational, Bungie, and others. From the same art director behind the infamous Bioshock, we are given a beautifully executed title that is both challenging and a joy to observe.
The art style present in The Flame in the Flood is riddled with southern and gothic undertones. Jars will glow bright blue, catching the eye of the player and filling your mind with tales of drinking moonshine, catching fireflies, and spitting tobacco. Campfire flames will glow red and cackle under the moonlight while the dandelions sway to its music. All of these gorgeous environments look like pages in a children’s book that you would read by a campfire while eating hot smores.
You play as a young girl scavenging what used to be the American countryside with a trusty dog companion. What was once the land is now chopped up into different islands, floating along a large and rapid river. By riding your raft, players will float to and from different islands, uncovering new information and supplies.
Your main goal is to survive while monitoring your temperature, energy, food, and water intake. In no way, shape or form is The Flame and the Flood a typical survival game, however. With only twenty inventory slots available, its up to the player to resource manage properly. This sometimes includes giving up significant items to make room for the survival essentials.
With this limited slot availability, comes certain complications. Players will constantly have to craft items in order to make room for more crucial items. Although an easy task to complete, The Flame in the Flood’s inventory style make this otherwise simple function, quite tedious. Having to click through different categories or sub-categories to create a trusty snare or simple clothing item becomes more of a chore than it should be.
Although floating down a river that feels reminiscent of the Mississippi while listening to lighthearted indie music should be enjoyable, this task becomes a nuisance after a while as well. As the current increases, you can’t turn back to revisit islands and if you weren’t planning on moving forward, you have no choice but to deal with it. This quality and a few others make The Flame in the Flood a game based on impulsive actions.
Other than that, The Flame in the Flood makes for a pleasant play through if you are able to relax and let go of your planning and resource management O.C.D. The music is lovely: filled with the buzz of harmonicas and buzzling banjos. The characters you will encounter are each unique and interesting and aside from the inventory issues, river mechanics, and level of impulsiveness, The Flame in the Flood makes for quite the adventure.
This review of The Flame in the Flood is based on a digital copy for PC which was provided by the publisher.