The Flame in the Flood (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 21.10.2017

Review for The Flame in the Flood on Nintendo Switch

Created thanks to a backed Kickstarter back in 2014, this rogue-lite is the brainchild of an impressive team. A small indie studio entitled The Molasses Flood, this team includes the art director of Bioshock along with other Bioshock developers and those who have also worked on Halo, amongst other major titles. The team has taken a very different direction here, dedicating time to telling a story with heart. This is that team's first game, and after a glowing review on PC, it is now available on Nintendo Switch; it is The Flame in the Flood.

Set in a post-apocalyptic land, a great flood has washed society away and now the only way to survive is to scavenge and move ever forward. Playing as a young lady named Scout, she starts out with a simple little staff, a ridiculously small bag, a decrepitly dilapidated raft and a canine companion. Scout needs to navigate the watery deluge, constantly pushing forward, avoiding danger, collecting materials to stay alive and crafting essential equipment to survive the elements.

New players would be wise in starting out in campaign mode under Traveler difficulty, which gives a very basic little narrative, a set series of areas to navigate through, a normal amount of supplies and checkpoints along the way. Survivalist mode in the campaign means perma-death, no checkpoints, few supplies and stats that diminish at a much faster rate. The campaign's story is sparse, tracking down a radio signal, with a few weirdo NPCs who spout little exposition amongst their ramblings. This is very much about the journey, not the destination. This is the reason the endless mode is the star of the show, giving an opportunity to really max out every aspect of Scout and her raft.

Screenshot for The Flame in the Flood on Nintendo Switch

Moving ever forward is fundamental, especially when it comes to the great river - starting out drifting along a slow, calm stream but quickly transforming into speeding through whitewater rapids and hurtling through obstacle-filled routes. The river means always moving forward, never back. Previous islands cannot be revisited and a missed port is gone forever. Later on there are branching pathways on the river and decisions made can be deadly; seeing that needed port with a building to camp in on a path that is now inaccessible, for instance.

Much of the game is spent navigating the waters and it isn't an easy task. The raft is heavy and cumbersome at first and the ruins of society are tricky to traverse, vehicle wrecks and remains of motorways all threaten to sink the ramshackle raft. Scout can use her little staff as a paddle to push it along and use a chunk of stamina for a big speedy push to help avoid these. Later on, once enough supplies are found, the raft can be upgraded at a harbour, which increases the durability to survive the odd knocks, adding a rudder and motor to help battle against the powerful currents, later on even a stove and a water purifier to craft food and water.

Screenshot for The Flame in the Flood on Nintendo Switch

When not paddling along, Scout explores the remains of society; series of islands with little docks attached. There's a variety of island types, each with specific elements that need to be tracked down. Farms can mean plants and food, fishing posts mean hooks and a fishing line, towns can mean a variety of items, and so on - the majority of which Scout can't carry due to the absurdly small 12-slot backpack. Careful inventory management is required, which means storing things in the raft and on the pup while crafting things to keep Scout alive. Scout has bars for hunger, thirst, temperature, and rest, and should any of these fall too low, Scout will start to stumble, or the screen will start to blur or go dark. Food and water are essentials, of course, but there are so many other factors to take into account. The elements can soak or freeze, islands can be filled with poison ivy and stinging ants, and then there is the wildlife, as well as also looking for a meal.

Screenshot for The Flame in the Flood on Nintendo Switch

There's a considerable amount of items that can be crafted. At first, this means building simple traps to try and catch rabbits, which can be used for food and for crafting of clothing to help combat the cold. Moving on to bigger game is trickier, though, as they fight back and some won't just run into trouble. Spear traps can be used to trick boars into them, and poisoned meat can be used for the stealthy, speedy wolves that occasionally travel in packs. Injuries have to be taken into account with the crafting, too; a bandage for lacerations from attacks, penicillin for infections, splints for broken bones, and so on. The most important thing, however, is crafting extra inventory space, as expanding up from 12 item slots is absolutely essential. The Flame in the Flood becomes horribly frustrating when having to juggle items between Scout, her dog, and the raft.

The art and designs are heavily stylised and look great regardless of whether docked or on the big screen and they are complemented by a fantastic soundtrack. This comes courtesy of alternative country rocker, Chuck Ragan, and contains some atmospheric strumming of guitars with violins and belting vocals. This version on Nintendo Switch is the "Complete" edition, containing various enhancements over the base, including a choice of dogs and a Director's commentary mode, which an interesting little addition.

Screenshot for The Flame in the Flood on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Those who loved Don't Starve will find their new obsession here. The Flame in the Flood is a highly enjoyable rogue-lite survival title that makes a fantastic game to play on the go. Headphones on, volume on full and enjoy the ride with this addictive new release. Get ready to welcome yet another distinct and individual game into the fold, fattening up the Switch's already bulging catalogue.


The Molasses Flood


Curve Digital





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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