Although stereotypically, I am a gamer who prefers a FPS, I am at times inclined to play a game that I can unwind too and enjoy without much thought into my gameplay style.
If you want a chilled out, Hallmark style, indie game then Lake is the game for you. Set in 1986, you play as Meredith, a city worker who is on a two-week vacation looking after her childhood home in the small, quiet lakeside town of Providence Oaks whilst her parents are away on holiday in Florida. During the game you work as a part-time postal worker, driving around town delivering letters and parcels. Before you make your judgements.. just let me delve into the game a little more!
Whilst I admit, I understand if it might not sound like the most exciting plotline, the point of the game is to be a relaxing experience of a small town where the aim is to get to know the characters and revisit Meredith’s childhood memories. Although the game is technically set in the past, it does not feel like a stereotypical historical game, but the inclusion of the evolution of 1980s technological advancements is interesting. I love the blockbuster themed element, VHS for the win!
Lake can, at times, feel a little repetitive, however, due to the length of the game itself and fast-travel option, it did not ruin the overall gaming experience. There is a diverse and colourful array of characters to build relationships with, and the choice of dialogue options make it amusing, emotive and compelling all at once. There are two romance options within the game, which felt a little underdeveloped and rushed towards the end, but it did increase the purity of the game as you battle with the decision to remain working as a post lady in PO or go back to the big city to make your fortune.
The best element by far is the stunning lake-side scenery, the chilled-out folk/ country soundtrack of the radio and just generally driving around experiencing the different locations the map has to offer. Although this game may not be a best-seller, it should be. Its unique relaxing aesthetic makes for the perfect end of work day gaming session.
Created by Whitethorn Games, a small indie publisher whose focus is cosy games, Lake is a perfect Autumnal adventure. (It is worth mentioning that Whitethorn are also the creator of Calico, a cute pastel themed game where you run a cat cafe… I mean, I personally cant think of anything better!)
Lake is currently available on Steam or Xbox, and hopefully will come to ps4 and Switch soon!