Drifting aimlessly near a sunken crane in The Things We Lost in the Flood.

In The Things We Lost in the Flood by Dean Moynihan, you drift around in a rowboat in a post-apocalyptic, flooded wasteland, sending and receiving messages in bottles from fellow players.

This is a game about loss, discovery, and creation. You're sailing through a flooded world—a flood caused by a tap opening in the Atlantic Ocean that "never really stopped." Drifting by ruins and ravaged buildings, your goal is to make sense of what happened to the world. While exploring the lost world, you also discover notes which other players have left in the world, you can also leave notes for other players.

You hold a great responsibility in shaping the experiences of others in the game too. Sometimes, people will leave critical hints that help you make sense of something you didn't understand, and you owe it to others to leave notes that might help them with their experience—or choose to throw away the bad ones. The game also provides prompts that help create a semi-philosophical atmosphere, such as "what are you afraid of."

Searching through the darkness for messages in bottles in The Things We Lost in the Flood.

Intriguingly, a game that subsists on sharing notes with anonymous players still manages to be enjoyable and thought-provoking. I uncorked a wide variety of personal letters, stories of peoples anxieties, loss—you name it. This artificial wasteland you're drifting seems to create a somewhat safe space for some people.

It's worth diving into The Things We Lost in the Flood. The outcome of this world is shaped on cooperative gameplay, so you won't necessarily get a complete experience after any set play period, but it's good to jump in for quiet introspection in the scope of a video game. It's available free on itch.io, for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

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One of the main characters of Jamsterdam, crossing a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam.

Jamsterdam is an adorable mini-game about trying to be a jazz musician in Amsterdam.

As a struggling musician in Amsterdam trying to make ends meet, you pick up a singing gig alongside a canal, as passersby throw coins for you to collect. Your cap, full of coins, slowly depletes as bills come in. Dwindling on your last coins, your world slowly turns to gray, and your music moves from freeform jazz to something more of a funeral dirge. All until you can’t pay your last bills—ending your gameplay.

The game brings whimsy and spirit to the act of feeding the capitalist machine. The vibrancy of colors is tied to how much cash you have on hand. It also seems that, in Amsterdam, no one has a sense of aim, so the denizens throw their coins everywhere, including nonsensical places, like the canal. When you’re short on cash, your dash for coins becomes even more hectic.

Was I a good singer in Jamsterdam? Well, let’s say I really embraced freeform jazz.

Jamsterdam is short, adorable, and gets its point across quickly. You’ll enjoy the few minutes you spend in it. Jamsterdam was made by nothke and Ferran, with procedural music from YenTing Lo. It is available on itch for Windows, macOS, and web.