The only companion the player has is a dog called Aesop, who can sense danger and fetch supplies. The player must pay attention to Scout’s needs such as her energy, thirst, hunger, and warmth, and not paying attention to them can result in death. Once the player dies, the death cannot be undone as The Flame in the Flood is a permadeath game. There is a crafting system allowing the player to create new items. Players will also need to scavenge areas for valuable items. Factors such as the weather will impact the gameplay. Players are also able to create insulated clothing to protect them from the cold. One of the developers referred to it as a “travelling survival game”.
The Flame in the Flood received “mixed to average” reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.
Ben Davis from Destructoid rated the game a 7.5/10 saying, “Even with its flaws, The Flame in the Flood remains an engaging and challenging survival game.”
Mark Steighner of Hardcore Gamer gave the game a 4 out of 5 saying, “The Flame in the Flood offers a genuinely new variation on the survival game theme, tuned, focused and confident in its execution.”
IGN awarded it a score of 7.3 out of 10, saying “Brutal and beautiful, The Flame in the Flood is a unique sort of survival game, with a few crucial flaws.”
GameSpot awarded it a score of 8.0 out of 10, saying “Despite the awkward menu system, it’s an absorbing game that lets you experience a journey in the present, and fully appreciate the sights, sounds, and joys of floating down the river in its alluring world.”