Waking up to a lone dog begging you with a bag full of items, The Flame in The Flood throws you immediately into a quiet, dark world where you must learn to survive as you go. Rafting from area to area collecting supplies to stay alive, learning what you need and what to avoid adds much to a game that is much more about the journey than the destination. This is our Flame in the Flood Switch review.
While The Flame in the Flood is a survival game, it focuses much more on your actual survival than base building and conquest. You start the game with a very small inventory, your dog, and a raft. There are a few signs in the beginner’s area offering a bit of guidance, but much of the game is learned on the go. To progress through the game, you go to the area’s dock and board your raft. Moving downstream brings you past the ruins of civilization, showing you flooded houses and floating cars that you need to avoid as to not damage your raft. You will pass by areas which allow you to stop and acquire materials needed for raft improvements, medicine, food, and water. Different areas have different focuses on available items, meaning that you’ll want to stop as often as possible to stock up for your trip.
While the stops are not very large, a number of areas you will visit and amount of materials you can collect in each will keep each area exciting to visit. As you progress further down the river, areas become more dangerous and have wild animals ready to attack you for their survival. While these are initially intimidating, crafting stronger traps and weapons will let you kill the same animals, so that you can skin them for clothes and cook them for food. Changing climates will require you to dress appropriately, meaning you will need to face your fears sooner rather than later to help you survive.
Even though there is no base for you to build up, your raft has multiple improvements you can build to help make your trip easier. You can add things like more storage, shelter, water filters, and more to your raft. Finding the parts to do this is fairly difficult, meaning that you’ll want to focus on the aspects that you are struggling with rather than focus on completion. Your raft can also take damage if you run into objects while traveling downstream, meaning you will have to choose between repairs and improvements. Destroying your raft means the end of the game, however, so you will need to always pay attention while traveling.
Some parts of the game can be frustrating for no reason other than poor game design. While there is a sizable number of items you can craft, there are only 4 categories you can pick from which can have hundreds of items listed in them. You only unlock the ability to see items and their materials after obtaining a required material. While this works well at the beginning, getting farther into the game can get you to a point where you can be stuck trying to figure out how to craft an item without knowing how to craft the required material for it.
While the game causes you to go through some learning pains, The Flame in The Flood will reward those who stick with it to a great experience that you won’t find elsewhere. Playing through this game throws the player into a situation that will make the player feel helpless and constantly struggle to look for material, rather than eventually getting so powerful you just feel like you won the game.
Note: Our Nintendo Switch copy of The Flame in The Flood was provided by PR
OVERALL SCORE: 8.5/10
- Very immersive gameplay
- Fun art style
- Great soundtrack
- Some systems could benefit from an early tutorial
- Menu navigation can be frustrating