Reviews - Updated on March 30, 2022

Relevant for the platform: XBOXSX

Surely, many residents of large cities sometimes dream of dropping everything and spending at least a couple of weeks in the wilderness. Away from the bustling townspeople, eternal traffic jams, work that takes all the time. The main character of Lake, Meredith, has such an opportunity – she moves to her native settlement for two weeks to relax, meet old friends and at the same time help her father, who works as a postman. He temporarily left the settlement with his wife, so Meredith now has to deal with the delivery of letters and parcels.

Parcel for your boy

Every day, except Sunday, starts the same way: we find ourselves near the post station, in front of us is a white van, and the mini-map is strewn with icons. The icon with a letter means that you need to drive up to the mailbox, get out of the car and throw an envelope into it. It’s a little more difficult with parcels – you approach the body, select the desired box (the streets are immediately signed, so you don’t have to guess) and ring the doorbell.

Occasionally, a conversation develops between Meredith and the recipient. If at first the characters are not very interesting, because the player does not know anything about them, then over time you become more and more attached to them. A girl who works at a video store; a lumberjack trying to save trees that they want to replace with a residential complex; a mechanic girl, tired of her parents’ overprotectiveness; pretty granny-cat lady – the further you go through the game, the more you rejoice at these meetings.

Lake: Review

The atmosphere and style of the game is reminiscent of both Firewatch and Life is Strange.

It’s all about the atmosphere – the developers managed to recreate the settlement in the American wilderness almost amazingly. The graphics do not seem low-budget, the characters are charming, and the regions are diverse: somewhere there is a large farm, somewhere there is a dense forest with a couple of huts. While delivering mail, you listen to the radio, which plays either country or pleasant pop rock. The map is neither too small nor tediously large, and every area looks beautiful on it, especially the lake in the heart of the settlement.

Calm environment

The action takes place in 1986, so there is neither cellular communication nor cutting-edge technology. The main character, who works in the field of software development, carries a funny-looking laptop with her and keeps a diary there. In the video store, there are posters on the walls of Back to the Future, a very recent film that was released only a year ago. But the locals have nothing to play videocassettes on, so this business is going through hard times.

Lake: Review

There are never too many cats for old Mildred.

We can help all these people – when we meet with them on duty, they always have something to talk to us about. We can play the role of a good Samaritan, responding to every request and supporting everyone, or we can be a cold tourist from a metropolis who is not interested in other people’s problems.

However, the second option in this game does not make any sense. Nothing prevents you from delivering letters and parcels and moving away from the recipients, and in the evening, in a telephone conversation with your parents, complaining about how boring it is here and how you want to go back. But if you play like this and choose such options, it’s easier to turn off the game and do something else, because you deprive yourself of a considerable part of the content and only drive back and forth in a car.

Lake: Review

When you decide to leaf through the book at night, the narrator reads the text with expression.

If you are a good-natured person, a lot of additional scenes will be unlocked. And you will go on dates, and watch a horror movie at home with a guest, and communicate with characters on a variety of topics. Someone will talk about their difficult past, someone will open up from the other side, someone will share their dreams – all the remarks are great voiced. This, like the recent Where the Heart Leads, is a game for lovers of simple everyday life – no action, no deep gameplay mechanics, just heartfelt conversations with people.

Routine work

Everything spoils the need to drive on the roads and deliver mail. The first three or four days passed painlessly, but over time it began to get very tiring, and towards the end of the game I was very happy when I saw the word “Saturday” – this meant that the vacation had come to an end, the final was coming soon and there would be no more packages.

Lake: Review

We learn the contents of parcels only in very rare cases.

If here, as in Death Stranding, the gameplay would somehow change, it would be easier. But the only thing Lake has to offer is teleportation between the four areas after the first day. The heroine moves very slowly even when the run button is pressed, and the developers did not implement the animation of entering and exiting the car, so each such action is accompanied by a black screen. Maybe you just shouldn’t go through the game in one sitting.

Work days.

Otherwise, I really liked Lake. It’s especially cool that you don’t have to choose between two activities here – if a character suggests meeting on a Tuesday evening, no one else will want to see you at the same time. I helped everyone I wanted, flirted with two heroes, chose the best among them and got the desired ending. In the final, you have to decide whether you want to return back to the metropolis or stay in the wilderness. For me, the choice was obvious, although there were reasons to think hard about the decision.

Lake immediately attracted my attention with nice graphics – even the screenshots show that the atmosphere in the game is very cozy. This is such a ticket to the American hinterland of the last century, where everyone knows each other and is always happy to chat, and there is no fuss on the streets, because people really have nothing to do. But everyone has thoughts swarming in their heads, almost everyone dreams of the future and regrets the past, and I want to listen to each of them.

Pros: pleasant characters with whom you want to spend time; the ability to choose who you want to help and who you ignore; cute visual style that conveys the atmosphere of the American wilderness; great soundtrack and great voice acting.

Cons: delivering letters and parcels gets boring by the middle of the game.

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