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Game 'Review' | The Flame in the Flood

Scout and Aesop take on the wilderness in The Flame in the Flood

Game Summary: Scout and her faithful dog, Aesop, set sail on a rickety raft to try and survive the wilderness while being hunted by packs of wolves. (IMDb)

Yes, this is another ‘review’, in that it’s more of a first impressions instead of anything substantial, but I’ve also experienced what feels like the core gameplay loop of the game, so wouldn’t really gain all that much more by playing it any further.

As it is, the reason I haven’t committed any great time to this game isn’t because of its low quality, but rather because of the insanely intense motion sickness I got while playing it. I was able to force myself to keep playing for an hour, but then had to stop because of how sick I felt.

Now, I’ve had motion sickness caused by games before, but only in first-person games where adjusting the field of view is enough to make things at least tolerable. For a survival game viewed from an isometric top-down perspective? No idea why it’s happening.

And it’s a shame, because I liked what I played, and while nothing that I would really commit any great length of time to, I can imagine it being something I would’ve enjoyed going back to every now and then for another go, which the motion sickness unfortunately prevents.

The reason is that it’s a fairly simple game to pick up with uncomplicated mechanics that most should be able to handle without any great difficulty. It’s a little annoying failing the first few times because you have to learn as you go, but that failing in a particular way once is usually enough to avoid it happening again.

I still don’t like trial and error gameplay though – part of why I’ve never been as big a fan of Nintendo’s games as many others – and it does unfortunately mean that the game doesn’t leave a great first impression.

Rather than trying your best to succeed from the start, I’d advise taking the first few games to just try out everything you can about how all the systems work and interact with each other. Then, once you’ve got a feel for what’s in store for you, you can really try and beat the game.

Not the cheeriest title screen for The Flame in the Flood

However, another bit of advice is to listen to your own music while playing, or at least another audio distraction. The music here is horrible and I had to mute the game to avoid it combining with the motion sickness to make me give up on it even faster.

It’ll also mean that you won’t hear your character’s dog barking for your attention at various points, but – cute as it is – it’s an unfortunate casualty of the gameplay mechanics and will often try to call your attention to something you can’t do anything about – at least on that play-through.

Motion sickness problems aside, the visuals aren’t bad. The entire game is consistently stylised to remind me of a Tim Burton film, although the character you play as ruins the effect, with a bizarrely-distorted face straight out of a Picasso painting that might put some off and prevent them from forming a stronger bond with their character.

Otherwise, the visuals do the job well enough and, as you’d expect from such an undemanding title, they run ludicrously-smoothly regardless of what’s happening on-screen. I imagine plenty of older computers could run this game perfectly fine and with the game looking as good as it can too.

The Flame in the Flood is a decent enough game with simple enough controls that most should be able to pick up and play without any issues. It does have certain audio-visual aesthetic problems though, and I hope that you don’t suffer the same motion sickness problems I did or you might have to give up just as quickly.




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