The Flame in the Flood is a third-person survival game by The Molasses Flood. It was initially released for Xbox One and PC in 2016, with PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions the following year.
In a desolate, post-societal America, you are a lone traveler named Scout. One day, a dog (named Aesop) stumbles upon you, dragging with him a backpack with a radio inside. You decide to adopt the dog and follow the radio's signal in the hopes that you will find other humans.
What separates this game from others of the survival genre is that, not only must you scavenge for supplies and look after a hunger, thirst, and rest meter, but you explore the world by traversing on a long, winding, and unforgiving river on a makeshift raft that you can upgrade. Said supplies are picked up on little islands in the river that you can dock on. You must also avoid crashing your raft into rocks and cliffs, lest you get too wet or drown. In Endless Mode, the goal is to travel as far down the river as you can without dying.
Tropes found in The Flame in The Flood:
- After the End: The game takes place in a world where civilization has collapsed due to some unspecified disaster (possibly flooding caused by global climate change).
- The Alleged Boat: Scout's raft is a ramshackle platform of old planks and barrels.
- Annoying Arrows: Averted. 2 or 3 arrows will down a wolf or boar, and often they'll hit hard enough to stun them momentarily.
- Action Survivor: Scout and apparently Aesop: the two have had to survive on their own before meeting each other, and if you make it to the end of the campaign without dying, this trope is only solidified. Aesop is also presumed lost by his handlers in The Kingdom, so him coming back would certainly be a surprise for them.
- Bears Are Bad News: Bears are easily the biggest and most dangerous animals Scout will encounter. Fortunately, they really only want to be left alone - give their caves a wide berth, and they're more a threat to other wildlife than to Scout and Aesop. Unfortunately, there's a location that has one bear you have to fight or flee from.
- Canine Companion: Aesop will follow Scout anywhere that he's able. Unlike most examples, he won't fight, but he will alert Scout to predators almost a full screen away. He also provides extra inventory space, and any items in his pack when you die will be passed on to your next new save. It turns out the people living in the Kingdom have been breeding dogs like Aesop and training them specifically to search for survivors and bring them back.
- Cool, Clear Water: Rainwater and water from pumps is always drinkable. Water from puddles or the river, however, needs to be filtered first.
- Cool Old Lady: Helen Cockrow, a tough old lady with a shotgun who will offer Scout supplies if they meet.
- Creepy Crows: The birds like to roost around valuable resources, and their cawing at the player can alert wolves who are nearby. However, they're easily shooed off, and their feathers are useful for making arrows.
- Dark and Troubled Past: In the start menu of the game, Aesop can be seen watching over a skeleton with a backpack that he later gives to Scout, the Skeleton is presumably of Aesop's former owner.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After slogging down forty miles of river and crossing the seemingly endless expanse of the Gulf, Scout makes it to the Kingdom, an abandoned amusement park that's been converted into a thriving settlement.
- Fission Mailed: When you reach the Yards, you encounter an impassable wall of debris that wrecks Scout's raft. What looks like the usual "death by drowning" animation plays... and then Scout washes up at Angel Yards.
- Full-Boar Action: Boars are a fairly aggressive enemy that will charge Scout if she intrudes on their territory. Fortunately, their charge attack makes it relatively easy to bait them into a spear trap.
- Homeworld Evacuation: As society collapsed, many people fled the planet in spaceships.
- King Mook: The aptly named King Boar is a boar... who is as big and as tough as a bear. And then there's the White Wolf and Elder Wolf, who aren't any tougher than normal wolves, but are much more cautious and will retreat rather than die to poison or arrows.
- Let's You and Him Fight: One of the most efficient ways to eliminate the feral-starved animals is to guide them to fight against each other:
- Boars have the audacity to try and kill wolves, who obviously see them as running meat. Interestingly, they're more likely to hold each other at a standstill than kill, due to the differences in their attack patterns. Keep them distracted with each other and you can waltz on by or set up traps.
- Bears hate anything that comes within five yards of their cave. This is the easiest way to kill a pack of wolves - the bear will maul them all and go back to sleep. If you're quick, you can even steal from the bear cave while they're distracted!
- Snakes deal more damage than arrows to anything that comes nearby, which translates to a venom affliction for you but gratuitous death for the animal stupid enough to paw it. You can use a torch to lure the snakes, but it's easier to just goad the animal into the path of the snake.
- Side note, you can release a rabbit to lure the predators away, but given the importance of rabbit pelts in high-end crafting, it's not worth it.
- Mundane Luxury: It's been long enough since the floods that a tarp-tent, wood stove and solid framework are considered high-end upgrades for Scout's raft. Cooked meat, of any kind, is described as "the best meal in the wilds."
- Permadeath: As per usual in the survival genre. When Scout dies, it's game over, and you start again at the mouth of the river.
- Ragnarök Proofing: Averted; most formerly-civilized areas feature rotting buildings and rusted cars, and everything except Scout's starting clothes is hand-made.
- Retro Rocket: One of these is seen at Angel Yard, which turns out to be an abandoned space center. Unfortunately for Scout, the only remaining rocket is long defunct.
- Rogue Like: Finding enough supplies to survive is often a matter of luck.
- Savage Wolves: Present alone and in packs. And they'll use pack tactics like encircling, as well.
- Scenery Porn: The game's art direction is stunning, especially the environments.
- Seeking Sanctuary: Of a sort. Churches are one of the few landings guaranteed to have shelter to sleep in, and they often have supplies to make bandages as well.
- Shout-Out: The "Death on the Trail" achievement is earned by dying of dehydration while suffering from dysentery.
- Snake Oil Salesman: Flimflam, a shady traveling merchant Scout encounters at the radio tower.
- Story Breadcrumbs: You can find quilts that detail the often unfortunate fates of those who couldn't, or wouldn't, evacuate the planet.
- Super Drowning Skills: Played realistically straight, as you're rafting down a river wearing furs and weighed down with gear.
- Super-Persistent Predator: Averted by normal wolves, who will only pursue you in a single area and are easily distracted by other animals. Played straight by The Elder Wolf, who will retreat when injured only to return at the very next landing, over and over until killed. He even triggers a task in the journal.An Elder Wolf has your scent. Kill it, before it kills you.
- Unspecified Apocalypse: It's never explained what caused the collapse of civilization, but it's implied climate change was involved.
- Wild Child: Scout can encounter a pair of "Feral Children" on the river. Despite their poor grammar and shabby appearance, they seem quite mature and well-adjusted, and even offer Scout free gear (like traps or arrows) while espousing their altruistic worldview.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Scout makes it to the "evacuation point" at Angel Yard, only to find it's a space center with only a single, long-defunct space ship left. Her only option left is to keep going down-river and make it to "the Kingdom".