Free games of the week

Reflections at Sunset by Charles Huang

You'll have to be prepared to put some of yourself into Reflections at Sunset: a meditative browser game that's, essentially, a tool for exploring your innermost feelings. This text-based game doesn't offer a story, but it does offer a peaceful place in which to gaze into a mirror, to physically write a letter, and even to construct your own personal sunset. I can see this being a helpful therapy tool for people who have a few minutes to spare, to look inwards—and if you're worried about what Reflections will do with your personal musings, it begins with a reassurance that everything will be deleted after you're done.

Bratavism by Joni Kittaka

I'll let Joni Kittaka's itch.io description summarise this wonderfully odd adventure game, which is easily the most original thing you'll play this week. In Bratavism, a "solitary dolphin creature creates an abstract painting by throwing a tantrum," and I'm willing to stick my neck out by stating that it's the best dolphin-tantrum game I've played all year. You basically hammer different keyboard keys to express the dolphin creature's inner turmoil, ultimately whipping up an interestingly splattered canvas inside the game folder. Really, it's the character and background art that impresses in Bratavism,  a beautifully drawn game set in a distinctly stylish world.

Love on the Peacock Express by J, Queenie, Ivory, Hana and more

The dating sim meets the detective adventure in "mystery MILF dating game" Love on the Peacock Express. As an intrepid private investigator who appreciates older women, you're in seventh heaven after boarding the stylish train, and finding three available women, each with a mystery to solve. In this attractive and well-written visual novel, you can choose which of the ladies to date/assist with their case, before restarting to diverge down the differing routes.

A Landlord's Dream by LostTrainDude, Kastchey, CaptainD

A cyberpunk adventure game in a run-down apartment complex, and a game that feels a lot like a forgotten Phillip K. Dick story, brought to life with great attention to detail. You play as a stringshaper, i.e. a cyber-musician, waking up one day to find that all your various electronic gizmos are suddenly acting up. As these gizmos include your bionic implants, your phone, and the dream-recording hardware currently driving your neighbour mad, it's imperative you sort them out as soon as you can. Lovely, crunchy pixel art, careful worldbuilding, and a perfectly mood-setting, Vangelis-style soundtrack mean A Landlord's Dream is something you should get stuck into, as soon as you can.

Path Out by Abdullah Karam, Wobblersound, Brian Maine

Based on a true story, this JRPG-style adventure puts you in the shoes of Abdullah Karam, a Syrian artist who escaped the civil war back in 2014. It's an ambitious, episodic tale that promises to chart his perilous journey from Syria through to Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and, finally, Central Europe. This first chapter concerns Abdullah's departure from Hama, and his travels through the dangerous Aleppo province, offering a rare perspective on an under-explored story—doubly so when it comes to games.