Lake review: there is a shadow of pain
Just because we are where we intended to be, does not mean that we are satisfied once we are there. But life is long and full of twists and turns, and things can change. Similarly, sacrifices must always be made along the way. lake explore these topics, though not so deeply that it seems overly cloying or awkward. The game does have some notable glitches and some will find its laid-back minutiae boring, but it’s an overall enjoyable game with a small but well-performed cast of characters who aren’t entirely likable, but that’s more true after all. .
lake puts players in the shoes of Meredith Weiss, a 40-year-old programmer who uses vacation time to replace her father on vacation in her hometown of Providence Oaks, Oregon. Ignoring the fact that being a postal clerk is a government job that one cannot simply “complete,” Meredith must handle her father’s mail route for two weeks in September 1986. There is licensed music and there is talk of real movies. as well as a video store with a handful of parody covers that I quite enjoyed. At one point, you can choose to go on a movie date and choose to have Meredith and her date watch Blue velvet, who argue on the way back. That put a tremendously big smile on my face.
Both writing and voice acting in lake they are of high quality. There isn’t a lot of drama here, and instead we are dealt with more credible small town matters. Regardless, he was constantly interested in much of what was going on. There are a couple of romantic options (one of which is respectful LGBTQ + representation) and there are even options to make. When the story of about six hours comes to an end, you must decide what Meredith will do with her life next. It is compelling, but there are no easy answers.
Package for you
lake is structured around Meredith delivering letters and packages to Providence Oaks residents. She travels back and forth in a mail truck. The ride is adequate both when it comes to controls and handling, so honestly, it’s quite relaxing to hit the road every day. Meredith always has a letter mail bag, but packages must be picked up in the back of the truck. Letters tend to be placed in mailboxes, while packages are taken to the porch, where Meredith rings the bell. If no one is home, leave it by the door.
Once each piece of mail is delivered for that day, the day will end once Meredith parks at the post office. After work, she will automatically participate in a storytelling event if plans were made, and she often has a phone call waiting for her, usually from her parents or her boss, who continues to request that she work during their vacation. However, many of the things in lake they are optional. You can choose Meredith’s responses most of the time, and you can decline requests and invitations if you prefer not to deal with certain people.
There are even side missions, although, like the rest of the game, they involve delivering something. One character, a nasty old cat, asks you to take her sick cat for help and then bring him back another day. One of the love interests runs a video store and is on a two-part side quest where you gift a couple of city residents a portable VCR and a couple of tapes to boost the business. Another side quest requires Meredith to take a dozen photos around town. You can even choose to submit one to a contest. I did almost everything I could, although I declined a date request from my unelected love interest and told the cat lady to push her when she asked me for a favor. I’m not helping you, Mildred. I helped your cat, but you can shut your fucking mouth.
Press A to do things sometimes
The gameplay and narrative segments in lake they are quite fun, but the game has some notable problems regarding its technical aspects. Obviously you have to press a button to enter the mail truck or to deliver the mail. But button presses don’t respond frequently. She often had to press the button multiple times when trying to get Meredith to do something. At one point, a work day started and I couldn’t get Meredith to get on the truck, forcing me to reload a save. This extends to pulling a package out of the back, as many of the times I would select a package, Meredith would close the back door of the truck and not pick it up, forcing me to try again. Even the aforementioned side-quest camera wasn’t without meticulous responsiveness, as pressing the button would cause Meredith to extract it, briefly enter photo mode, and then immediately put it away.
All of that got on my nerves enough, but the strangest thing I saw was when I went to start one day and the game teleported Meredith straight into a conversation across the map. Once the talk was over, I realized that the mail truck was not warping with her. The truck was back at the post office, so I had to walk there. It is worth mentioning that Meredith cannot actually run, and her movement speeds are “slow walk” and “somewhat normal walk”, which often makes delivering mail more cumbersome than necessary. This made the long walk back to the post office quite miserable.
Beyond that, my biggest complaint with lake they were the end. There are a few different types of endings, where various things can happen, but I was terribly dissatisfied with the one I got. Simply put, depending on the big choice you make, Meredith can’t break up with her love interest. That is understandable, since people want what they want. However, the game does not give the option of giving one of those love interests a perfectly reasonable counter-option that clearly would have been a better option for both of them. Instead, a last-minute development sends them in a strange direction that didn’t really fit their characters. There was also nothing conclusive about one of the main aspects of the story that he had been waiting to be addressed. It left me feeling a bit empty.
lake it’s a nice storytelling experience. I like the city, I like most of the cast, and heck, I like to deliver mail. The technical issues weathered me over time and while the non-character visuals are solid, the facial animations detract from the experience, but that’s normal for a smaller dev team like the one you’re working on. lake. Still this is a game worth playing if its premise appeals to you at all. Even if you only feel like delivering a mail once in a while, lake It is worth the trip.