Survival games are a dime a dozen these days – it seems like every developer worth their salt has put out some big budget game where you, the lone protagonist, fights against some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland, scrounging every last bit of resource you can get your hands on.
Some of them go big – like Fallout and The Last of Us. And then there’s The Flame in the Flood – a quirky little indie game that is unusual, but certainly not without it’s charm. Set in an empty world full of amazing music, and looking like a Tim Burton animated movie, there’s definitely something here worth checking out.
Unlike most survival games, TFIFT doesn’t give you a lot to work with narrative-wise when the game begins.
You’re a lone traveler (with the exception of your trusty dog), stuck in a world that has been overrun by water. What seems to be the America has become a series of islands separated by one raging river, which you traverse in your small raft, collecting up supplies from around you as you go.
You use these supplies to manage your hunger, thirst, body temperature, exhaustion, and injuries, any of which can cause your character to perish.
While TFIFT isn’t high adrenaline by any means, the constant monitoring of these stats makes for surprisingly tense survival gameplay. The world is not completely devoid of life, mind you, and your traveler will encounter wild animals that are intent on doing her harm. Combat isn’t an option here, you’ve just got to do your best to walk away without taking any major damage.
Despite what you could argue is a steep leaning curve (mainly because it refuses to follow the usual survival rule of ‘carry as much as you can and explore everything’) TFIFT is a truly unique and satisfying experience.
If you want something a little different, and get past your initial failures and frustrations with the way the game is set up (and some minor clunky control and menu issues) there’s something here that’s definitely worthwhile, if for no other reason than putting a new spin on a tired genre.
Released: February 2016
Platforms: Xbox One
Genre: Indie, Adventure, Survival
Developer: The Molasses Flood
Publisher: The Molasses Flood