The Flame in the Flood is another fine addition to the Nintendo Switch’s library this year. If you’re looking for a survival game on the handheld-console hybrid that isn’t Minecraft, Flame in the Flood is definitely worth checking out, as it manages to mix some very unique survival and roguelike mechanics that set it apart from other titles in the genre.
There are virtually no drawbacks on the Nintendo Switch version of The Flame in the Flood. Graphically, the colors and lighting aren’t as vibrant in the Switch port, and the frame rate is uncapped, whereas the game was a solid 60 frames per second on other platforms. Even with the minor drawbacks, it’s practically an identical experience to all the other versions.
The Flame in the Flood is set in a post-apocalyptic world that has you traveling down a long, flooded river, with a world that is as beautiful as it is eerie. There’s a constant feeling of loneliness that’s amplified by the environments you’ll be exploring. Like other post-apocalyptic games, a la The Last of Us, the environments in The Flame in the Flood tell their own stories that the player can draw their unique conclusions from as to what happened, and what made the world the way it is.
I initially got pummeled by the game’s slew of ways to die. As I found out the hard way, it’s important to take your time with The Flame in the Flood and to learn about anything and everything that could potentially make you meet your demise, from snake bites, starvation, freezing, and more.
I was caught off-guard when I had first started the game, but I eventually began taking my time and ultimately found it to be very rewarding once I did figure out how to overcome many of the obstacles in my path. There are typically specific items you’ll need to use to cure different ailments before they get worse, and other materials can be used to fix up injuries. Always making sure you’re prepared for every situation can be challenging, especially on top of micromanaging your inventory, hunger, thirst, energy, and temperature.
During my first run, I only survived around five days, but I began surviving longer and longer every time I retried. The game contains a checkpoint system that works really well when you respawn, as it never makes it feel like you’ve lost so much progress that playing through it again becomes a drag. In fact, trekking through the same stretches of the river again made me think differently when going to locations I might’ve missed the first time I passed them.
Gameplay cycles in The Flame in the Flood consist of you looting places, crafting items, and sailing to new areas. During these sailing sequences, you’ll pass by a slew of various locations, and it’s up to you to choose which ones you’ll be stopping at. I liked this mechanic as it added a bit of tension and urgency to my travels. This travel system worked best when I was in a tight spot and had to quickly choose a location that could either save me or lead me to my demise.
Towards the end of my journey, I found myself tending to agree with our initial review of the game. Once you’ve completed the story mode, there really isn’t anything new (mechanically) that gets introduced. Although they’re procedurally-generated, all of the locations in the game can start to feel a bit same-y after a while. Eventually, the same sense of challenge that had presented itself when I first started playing was almost nonexistent once I was finished with my journey.
I’d personally say The Flame in the Flood on Switch is arguably the best console version of the game that you can acquire. Having the leisure of taking the title on the go with you makes it a lot more fun, and handheld mode is definitely an ideal way to play the game on the Switch. Even with its very minor drawbacks graphically when compared to the other versions, it’s practically the same exact experience in every other way.
If you missed out on the game when it first released last year, be sure to check out the Switch version. While it’s not nearly the best indie game on the Nintendo eShop right now, it’s a more than worthy addition to the ever-growing Nintendo Switch library.