The survival genre has become one of the most common genres among gaming. First or third person, horror or adventure, titles are spanning left right and centre, so it will be quite a challenge in developing a game which attracts as much attention as needed to break even. The Flame in the Flood seems to have that potential and thankfully, this potential is realized very well indeed.
One thing which is earning a lot of interest for this game is the fact that among the development team there are people who worked on BioShock Infinite among other games, which means that the experience level behind the game, even though coming from an indie studio, was not at beginner stage, like most independent developers are. The Flame in the Flood, boasting such experience, thus goes further than the normal survival “just stay alive till the end” game. What is so great about this game is that it actually gives you a reason to survive till the very end, not like your generic first person shooter which just tasks you with killing as much zombies as possible in order to live another day. Not complaining about these games but there is so little focus on the narrative that it almost does not compel you to go forward. Thankfully, we have finally found a game which does not have that problem, as anyone who plays it will discover.
What is so charming about The Flame in the Flood is that even though it seems like a simple game, mainly because it is not as complicated as others, it still delivers a survival experience matching the best games out there. Why? Because of how it delivers the package. The gameplay is very well developed, in the sense that getting a hang of things does not take a lot of time but the hard part comes in becoming really good at it. It’s how we’ve all heard before, easy to learn but hard to master. Games following this mantra generally are more interesting since working bit by bit will slowly make you better at what you do and ultimately, the gratification from succeeding will feel much more worth it knowing how hard you worked to get there. Scavenging for supplies, learning how to manage resources, staying away from danger are all core tactics which may seem easy once you learn them, but it is the combination of all the different mechanics which will be the difference maker in the long term.
Aesthetically, the game is quite a joy to behold. The Flame in the Flood uses a range of colours which, while neither vibrant nor dark, which adapts to the game so well it almost makes you wonder if this particular colour scheme was invented with the game in mind. There may not be a lot of fans of this particular graphic style, but to me and I’m sure many more, it is such a wonderful experience. Scout, the main character of the game, is drawn so well that it just feels natural to keep her alive, which is already the main aim of the game, so the art direction of the game propels you to fulfil your objective. Well done art team!
With all this said, Molasses Flood, although having some serious talent behind them, is still considered an indie studio, which further boosts the excellent job they have done with this game. The Flame in the Flood was rumoured for quite some time because of this involvement with ex-BioShock employees, but now that the game has made the rounds, it will be the gameplay and the awesome art that will steal the show. It is the least that it deserves for being quite simply, an outstanding survival game, and even though it does not differ hugely from the formula of other survival games, it still provides a great break from the mundane cycle of repetitive “just stay alive” games.