Friend, you look a little stressed. The week has been unkind to you, or perhaps merely long, and nothing cures a case of the "Urrrrrrrrrrghs" quite like a pile of free online games with no connected themes, concepts, or genres whatsoever. Or at least, that's what I've been telling people so I can introduce myself as Doctor Dora. This week! A feline-tastic simulation designed to help you unwind, a date that goes nowhere near as well as it initially seems, a slow walk through the woods and your memories, and an elemental puzzle game where a unicorn is just a click away.
- Cat Petting Simulator 2014 - Sometimes a game is exactly what it says on the tin, and neongrey's Twine text-based game has no twists, no jumps, no quirky surprises... it's just about you, a quiet afternoon at home, some fries, and, you guessed it, a cat to pet, as you like. It's simple, sure, but also simply pleasant and relaxing, and isn't that what all of us need after a long week?
- Little Alchemy - Jakub Kozoil's little sandbox puzzle simulation, also free for iOS and Android, is a Doodle God-alike where you drag elements and objects from the right side of the screen together in the middle, and watch as they create and unlock something new. Some of them, like fire and earth combining into lava, are fairly obvious, but, well, how do you think one goes about making a dinosaur or a unicorn?
- Second Date - [Warning: This deals with graphic violence and subject matter some may find upsetting.] In Harrison Chute's initially innocuous Twine text adventure, you're just an average Joe (well, Marvin) on a date with a young woman who seems to really like him, and the decisions you make by clicking the bolded text will determine how the story unfolds in dramatic, swear-y fashion, but suffice it to say Jessica isn't the dream girl you think, and maybe you aren't such a nice guy either.
- Lantern - Best thought of as a short interactive narrative, this Unity-based game by Quinn Stephens follows a woman walking alone at night, as poetic text accompanies her through the woods and to a small house. While there are a few puzzles, they are very simple, and the whole game shouldn't take you much more then ten minutes or so to play through. The emphasis is on story and atmosphere, so just relax and go for a walk.