Beta Review: The Flame in the Flood

30 Jul

In October of 2014, I found the Flame in the Flood on Kickstarter and gave them all my money. Okay, I gave them some money because the game demo looked phenomenal. Now, after spending a few weeks with the Beta, I cannot wait for the finished product.

So far, the game delivers on nearly everything developers, The Molasses Flood, promised. The art is even prettier than the demo suggested and the music always sets a perfect tone. The rafting is different every time I start a game, the items I find to help me survive change, and the islands I can land at vary so much I’m never bored no matter how many times I have to start over. Survival depends on what you collect, how well you can steer down the river, and whether you avoid the black wolf or not.

Honestly, the game is hard – my record for survival is a measly six days – but it’s never tedious, even when you’ve died six times in a row. Starvation, disease, and dehydration plague my games now that I have learned how to properly raft down the river and avoid the black wolf at all costs. Those aren’t the only ways to die, however. Occasionally I catch Cholera and die in minutes from dehydration and starvation (I think this may be a bug since I can’t figure out why I get it after only one meal). If the wolf catches you he will leave lacerations that need to be sown up, or if you crash your raft you can break bones. All of these injuries are curable, if you craft the right items to take care of yourself. If you don’t, they’ll become infected, or septic, and slowly kill you or slow you down enough that something else will.

There are some bugs – it’s a Beta – and unfinished code, so the first minute of the game makes me crazy after every death since I can’t skip the opening cut scene yet. I’ve seen it so. Many. Times. and I really don’t want to see it again (there’s an update coming, I’ve been assured). The wolves kill players a little too easily before you’re even capable of defending yourself and the crafting menu isn’t intuitive, but these are all minor problems. The biggest problem – dubbed the ‘dreaded game-locking bug’ – was a crash while auto-saving. The development team had it fixed in four days. More minor complaints, concerns, suggestions, and bug reports are addressed by developers nearly as soon as they’re reported, letting the players know they’re being heard. The latest hot fix tuned the difficult rafting portion of the game as over 50% of deaths had come from rafting.

By the time the game is out of Beta and into everyone’s hands, it will be one of the best games of the year. Pre-orders are available for Mac and PC on their website and help fund further development of the game. Get your hands on a copy now and don’t miss out.

Shit!

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