“On August 10th 1993 a tap started running somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and it never really stopped,” says the elevator pitch* for The Things We Lost In The Flood. “The bottles came not long after.” From this premise you create a boat, the only way to navigate this watery world, and set off among roofs and pylon tips, finding messages from other players (but not the players themselves, it seems) as you go.
*it’s a tweet, which I am surprised hasn’t replaced the proverbial elevator in this phrase yet anyway.
I accidentally opened this in multiple tabs at first and hearing so much gentle water splooshing was very relaxing even as I was trying to figure out where they were all coming from.
Building up that boat piece by piece reminds me of Far: Lone Sails, a criminally underrated game from last year with similar lonely-but-for-my-vehicle vibes. I’m most intrigued, though, by finding all the messages left by other people, and the weirdly connected isolation that would invoke. I can’t imagine choosing to destroy a note forever instead of tossing it back for others to read. But then, maybe I’ll feel compelled to get on clean-up duty once I’ve spent enough time traversing the ruins.
(On the other hand, it may help self-regulate the sea from becoming polluted with a hoard of floating insults. It doesn’t seem like a game that’ll attract that kind of crowd but, well, the internet.)
Long ago, in the far off time of 2010, developer Dean Moynihan made One Chance, a browser game you can only play (you guessed it) once. There’s a good chance you’ll recognise it when you see it, the memory resurfacing like one of these floating bottles. Since then they’ve also created things like Burd, a game in which you are a bird but “the kingdom of birds has fallen and will not again rise from the ashes.” It certainly feels like that same existential melancholy will underpin The Things We Lost In The Flood, too.