Parents' Guide to

The Flame in the Flood

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Difficult survival adventure has steep learning curve.

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This adventure game with randomly generated gameplay elements is hard -- very hard. Part of that is due to the genre, and part of that is due to the fact that it doesn't have lengthy tutorials or excessive hand-holding. You understand your general aim is to survive, but how to do that and last for more than a few days will, even for experienced players, prove very challenging. The basic flow of the game is: You start on foot, wander around an island, and see what supplies you can use and what shelter you might be able to take. You also attempt to avoid any predators who might be lurking until you learn how to get supplies for setting traps or generally defending yourself. You also have many health bars that must be managed and observed at all times (hunger, body temperature, thirst, sleep), so being on the go all the time may not be the best course of action. For example, if it rains, you might be better off staying on foot to fill your jars with drinkable water. But by doing this, you'll probably get cold, and, given the wet environment, it's much harder to build a fire. So if the immediate island you're on doesn't provide much in the way of shelter, you can get on your raft and try to rough it to the next outpost to try your luck there. On and on.

It's a cycle that, as indicated, is rough but makes sense given the subject matter. As such, the upshots will be apparent for people with a propensity and appetite for a challenge. The game shines when you learn you're a better survivor than you thought you were or when you flat-out get lucky, finding the parts necessary for a water filter when you were on the verge of dehydrating or finding a safe place when being hunted by predators. It's those successions of tensions and releases that make sticking with the challenge of The Flame in the Flood worthwhile.

Game Details

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