Intro and Gameplay
Remember the days when early Spring was an extremely slow time for games? Yeah, I too remember that but those times are quickly ending and instead, we've been bombarded with not only AAA titles but an avalanche of indie and smaller titles, a majority of them, like THE FLAME IN THE FLOOD, come from ex-AAA studios and the quality shows. I came into the game mainly drawn to the amazing art style with no expectations or preconception of what it was all about. This is survival and crafting game peeps, nothing more, nothing less. You forage scrap, plants, old parts, etc and haplessly string them together to keep your thirst, hunger, fatigue down but your injuries and other issues low. Honestly, I didn't find the gameplay super engaging but it's fun enough for a day or two of seeing how far down the river you actually can make it.
Sometimes the game feels too much like a chore where instead of just trying to survive, I would have loved to see the slim story and the environments fleshed out into more of an ARPG or just a light RPG. The environments and random encounters with sometimes creepy characters are the strongest part of the game but sadly, that's just a small part of the game that insists on being about hardcore survival. Luckily, you can either do a campaign or endless mode that at least breaks up the challenge/scenery a bit.
Graphics and Sound
If I were to score this game on graphics and art style alone, it would be a solid 9 for sure. It's truly a work of art of every sense of the word. It runs extremely well maxed out in 4K and it's quite polished. Whether you are drifting down the dark, smooth river or fending off wolves around a dim fire, the lighting, and mood are spot on. There isn't a huge variety of environments but those that are present are gorgeously rendered and once again, it's the unique art style that makes this game stand out among it's peers. This is a towering achievement for the team at Molasses Flood.
If you find the visuals impressive, the audio impresses equally if not not more. While sound effects are solid, it's the fantastic music that really shines in this production. From twangy backwoodsy tracks to smooth, free flowing folksy tunes, in some parts of the game, I was more interested in just chilling to the music than actually playing the game.
Fun and Conclusion
As reviewer, it's tough to score games like this. I love a game that is unique, beautiful to look at, and even more rare, feature a sound track that is just plain stellar. That being said, I just didn't find the actual game that much fun to play. Sure, it can be found for less than $20 but it just didn't grab me like I was hoping. If you love crafting and survival games, I am sure you could do worse but in a crowded market, there is frankly just better ways to spend your time unless you are just jonesing for that survival fix.
Overall, the game isn't bad by any stretch but as I mentioned, I feel it would have done much better as either a light RPG or even adventure or story driven with light survival attributes. Either way, this one was tough to score but overall, it's a sparkling yet flawed gem.