Lake Review | LeXboxHub
Video games are increasingly becoming an ideal medium for providing interactive storytelling experiences; sometimes even without the demands of intensive gameplay. Lake by developer Gamious is a quiet narrative adventure game; one that tells a simple yet memorable story without any of the dramatic bells and whistles of something like Life is strange. It might not be one of the biggest adventure games of the year, nor necessarily a must-have, but Lake is a welcome version on the busy Xbox release schedule for anyone who wants a game that looks like literally a respite.
One thing to avoid, Lake feels pretty unfinished at the time of this review. While the styling is effective, it lacks a graphical finish in terms of texture mapping, basic effects like shadows, and cumbersome menu transitions. There are also many other bugs and glitches during the game. They are by no means a deal breaker, even when you are sometimes forced to reload an earlier part of the game due to a collision issue. Maybe these can be fixed in time, but overall the experience holds up and I hope most of the aforementioned issues can be resolved.
Lake is set in the sleepy and picturesque town of Providence Oaks in 1986. As you can guess from the title of the game, it has a picturesque lake with a great view. He follows Meredith Weiss, as she makes a short two-week visit to help replace her father while he goes on vacation. Mr. Weiss is right in the post office, so Meredith is taking a break from her usual competitive IT career for a more relaxed work routine. The premise and set-up of the game makes Postman Pat seem like meeting Gilmore Girls, and it all comes together in a rather charming way.
As Meredith, players go around as they complete their mail run, and it’s pretty easy to move forward, much like the delivery missions in Grand Theft Auto, but without violence of course. Oddly enough, she doesn’t actually need to obey the rules of the road or traffic when making deliveries. It’s a pretty straightforward task, and for larger packages, she just needs to pick up the correct package from the back of the van. The city itself is carefully designed with suburban areas, farmland, hilltop sites, and more rugged areas (be careful where you park!).
The Postal Delivery Game Loop simply serves as a filler for what is essentially a narrative adventure game. It’s less about the plots and more about how Meredith interacts with the residents of Providence Oaks. These interactions can range from a small conversation to more meaningful encounters as Meredith chats with familiar faces she hasn’t been in contact with for over two decades. These can range from heartfelt reunions to slightly more awkward times to break the ice. And of course, she meets new people who can lead to something special.
What’s interesting about Lake is that it doesn’t force you to get into all of the drama. Meredith’s two-week stay can be as straightforward as you’d like, where you can simply decline plans or choose not to delve into residents’ personal affairs. Sometimes residents will ask for favors, but you can refuse them, especially if they go against Postal Service protocol. The point is, you can choose to just do your job as a postman and spend uneventful evenings at home reading or watching TV. It’s a slow-burning tale where the player has surprisingly more choices in terms of how they relate to the game world.
It’s a simple story, and while there is sometimes drama, the balance of the world is not at stake here like in Life is Strange. At worst, you may offend some people or just not validate their issues, and just like Meredith helps cover her dad, she constantly gets phone calls from her job regarding a huge contract. Working in IT, it’s cool to see a nostalgic early tech and how Meredith uses it to blog about her life. How her two-week stay plays out, and how she deals with her feelings about her hometown and demanding career, are the times the player really gets involved.
What really shines about the experience is the artistic presentation which, despite the graphic issues, manages to present a quaint town that shines with picturesque beauty. Music in particular brings it all together, with acoustic background music and even a radio station playing country tunes. The soundtrack isn’t huge by any means, but there’s enough of it here to create a lovely vibe and atmosphere, especially when the right song hits on a sunny commute. The rest of the sound design is also decent, with fully voiced characters to bring some personality to the small town jokes.
Lake on Xbox is a charming and refreshing storytelling adventure. While your time at Providence Oaks is over before you know it, it does offer what is perhaps rare and much-needed downtime in the game. While there are a few graphical and technical issues present , the experience as a whole succeeds in delivering its humble and largely inconsequential story, but where the choices made actually have a real consequence. Lake is all about creating simple scenic moments, rather than trying to be grand like all other adventure games.
Take a trip to the lake by visiting the Xbox Store
Video games are increasingly becoming an ideal medium for providing interactive storytelling experiences; sometimes even without the demands of intensive gameplay. Lake by developer Gamious is a quiet narrative adventure game; one that tells a simple yet memorable story without any of the dramatic bells and whistles of something like Life is Strange. It might not be one of the biggest adventure games of the year, nor necessarily a must-have, but Lake is a welcome version on the busy Xbox release schedule for anyone who wants a game that looks like literally a respite. One thing to get out …
- Real choices
- Charming music
- Relaxing pace and progression
- Graphics and technical issues
- Done before you know it
- Thank you very much for the free copy of the game go to – Whitethorn Digital
- Formats – Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, PC
- Version reviewed – Xbox One
- Release date – September 1, 2021
- Introductory price from – £ 15.99