Early Access Preview: The Flame in the Flood

Early Access Preview: The Flame in the Flood

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Of all the predictions of trends I thought I’d see in gaming, never did I think “pretty post-apocalypse” would be an up-and-coming genre. Mind you, I’m not complaining; I’m actually pleasantly surprised. The Flame in the Flood, made by The Molasses Flood, has you in the rain slickers of a lone female protagonist trying to survive as she makes her way down a massive river formed by–you guessed it–a flood.

A rising star amid an emergent genre of games I like to call “nomadic” games (that is, where most of your gameplay revolves around traveling great distances outside of racing games; The Curious ExpeditionConvoy, and even Oregan Trail are all examples), not much is known about the game’s story at present. All that we’re left with is a couple vague sentences on the game’s Steam Store page:

“A rogue-lite river journey through the backwaters of a forgotten post-societal America. Forage, craft, evade predators.”

But even then, The Flame in the Flood does a good job whetting your appetite, having to maintain your raft, health, and basic needs as you make your way in search of a better radio signal to call for help (though the current version’s only mode is endless, so you’ll never quite get there). Navigating rapids is the least of your worries as you fend off starvation, dehydration, hypothermia, and this green Earth’s not-so-gentle creatures with fast thinking (and fast footwork).

As I mentioned before, this game is beautifully rendered. Boasting a roster of the game industry equivalent of fabled ronin (that is, veterans from the likes of BioShockHalo, and Guitar Hero), The Molasses Flood looks like they’re itching to take on Hinterland Studio and The Long Dark for the title of prettiest survival game.

From creaking pinewood forests, to sweeping fields sprinkled with abandoned buildings and dilapidated vehicles, the little islands you take refuge on are as haunting as they are serene. Coupled with an amazing soundtrack rich with acoustic guitar and soulful vocals, drifting down a river that washed away everything you knew and loved on a makeshift raft has never felt so peaceful and liberating–not that I’ve experienced any of that to know by comparison anyway…

Commentary aside, The Flame in the Flood is another great product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, raised over $250k from 7,400+ backers last November. Not only that, but it also proves there’s an upside to when larger studios suffer layoffs or dissolving entirely, new studios with a mix of seasoned talent arise to take their place.

Ahh, the circle of life.

Though the game is engaging in its current state, its limitation to endless mode makes it a sandbox devoid of any story significance. Your sole objective at this time is to survive for as long as possible with really no incentive at the end. Keeping in mind that the storyline is kept vague in order to not spoil the campaign until the game’s launch, this is a forgivable detail.

While it’s a flooded sandbox of sorts, The Flame in the Flood is definitely a game worth checking out with an Early Access game worth supporting. Currently retailing at $19.99 USD on Steam, you’ll delight in that, according to their store page, that price will remain unchanged upon full release… whenever that is.

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Anthony Magestro

Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.