The Flame in the Flood was entirely funded by a Kickstarter campaign that aimed for $150,000 and received over $250,000. It’s a pretty apt metaphor for The Flame in the Flood, an indie title which goes above and beyond considering you can pick up ‘The Complete Edition’ from this month on Playstation and Xbox last and current gen titles for under £10.
It takes place in a post-apocalyptic South America that’s as original as it is addictive. Players take on the role of a young girl named Scout and choose one of two faithful dog companions, Aesop or Daisy. The two of you are tasked with finding out just what happened to humanity, and the game teases clues as to the events that unfolded to result in the abandoned churches, overgrown cabins and desolate wastelands that the player will come across in their travels.
The means of said travel is one of ‘The Flame in the Flood’s biggest draws. Players are washed along by a near endless river, navigating debris, islands and the remnants of civilisation as they go, all the while deciding whether to stop and search for supplies at a range of randomly generated points of interest as they go.
These on foot areas, and the river itself, are defined by the game’s distinct art style, lonesome storyline and the music of the hugely talented Chuck Ragan, who provides the soundtrack to the game. His soundtrack kicks in as the player hits certain milestones on the river and feel almost like narration to the otherwise speechless tale of post apocalyptia.
Best described as a travelling survival game, aspects of ‘The Flame in the Flood’ will remind veterans of the survival genre of classics such as the ‘Don’t Starve’ series, which also makes use of a distinct art style and lonely tones. Where ‘Don’t Starve’ focuses on building up bases to whether to the constant threats of the world, ‘The Flame in the Flood’ has you take a much more active approach in its gameplay. The river especially for example is quick paced, and rather than your survival be based on your stats, its most often based on your skill and judgement at steering you and your wooden raft out of harms way and towards sites of potential resources such as clean water, food and various medicines.
It’s only gameplay downside is one that’s commonplace in titles that feature randomly generated content. Although no two areas will appear, or play the same, there can be instances where surviving feels impossible, simply down to some bad luck with the games random supply offerings. One minute you’ll be showered with supplies, the next you’ll find yourself begging the video game gods for a specific item, whether it be a bandage to help you heal from a wound, a cure for a poison, or just any kind of food that will help you stave off the relentless hunger and thirst that will often spell the players demise.
All in all The Flame in the Flood manages to stand out with a wealth of outside of the box thinking, from its unique view of the post-apocalyptic South, to its distinct imagery of rolling rivers and combination of wilderness and post apocalyptia. All wrapped up in Chuck Ragan’s country soundtrack, The Flame in the Flood offers an experience that few games are able to, it offers something unique and genuinely memorable. Seriously, for under a tenner, why wouldn’t you pick it up?