Lake follows the story of Meredith, a programmer in 1986 as she takes a break from her overwhelming job to return to her hometown. Whilst she is there, she takes over her father’s role as a postal worker. Over the course of her time in this temporary role, Meredith meets new faces and rekindles old friendships as she delivers mail to people’s doorsteps. And that’s about it. Whilst the game emphasises the importance of building relationships, giving you choices as to how you develop them, there is just not enough to entice you to do so.
Alongside this simple main plot, Lake focuses on several smaller narratives that revolve around different characters you meet. However, these stories are lacklustre, as any tension in them is stamped out within a few interactions with the involved character. An example of this can be seen in Meredith’s relationship with Kay. They used to be best friends, Kay became upset that Meredith left for the big city, and then they both pushed past it and became friends again. And that is how most of these interactions play out.
I will mention the fact that there are different dialogue options in this game that can alter the course of different relationships. However, with the lack of build in these narratives, these interactions leave much to be desired. It would have been nice to see a connection between all these separate interactions that developed into a much more defined main plot.
Lake’s Gameplay Mechanics
The gameplay here is very simple and there really is not much involved. You go around town, delivering mail and interacting with other townspeople. The mechanics are very basic, and they do work, but are quite stiff. Even trying to enter the post van can prove difficult here. Unless you stand completely still and face the door directly, you won’t be able to get in. This is despite the enter prompt being displayed.
Going from house to house delivering packages to doorsteps and mail to letterboxes feels really monotonous. It is hard to even explain how driving the van feels. With most games, there will be an element of weightiness to the driving mechanics and travelling on different surfaces is noticeable. There is none of that here. Now I understand that driving isn’t the main focus of the game, as it is more about developing relationships and making decisions. However, as a decent amount of the game is spent driving around delivering mail, more importance should have been placed on the driving feel and mechanics. Overall, the gameplay is quite dull and can cause the game to drag on.
Art Style & Design
Now I am always a sucker for a good cell-shaded design and this game is no exception to that. It looks great! I really like the simplistic design of each of the character models, and this works well for the game’s style. However, on the flip side of this, the animations in this title are lacking. The dialogue can often be really out of sync with the facial animations, and at times the facial animations are missing altogether.
There is no real intrigue in this title, neither in the gameplay or narrative. Though Lake’s aesthetics may look decent, all other aspects are very basic and largely uninteresting. Unfortunately, there aren’t many reasons to give Lake a go. There are many other titles of a similar style that would be more worth your while.
By Samuel Incze
With a lackluster narrative, and gameplay mechanics that are basic and largely unenjoyable, Lake ends up being a monotonous experience that is really not worth the time investment.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Whitehorn Digital. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.