Home Game Reviews Lake: Meredith Weiss’s Quiet Journey in Providence Oaks

Lake: Meredith Weiss’s Quiet Journey in Providence Oaks

Lake Game Review

Lake Feature Image
Lake Feature Image

Title: Lake
Developer: Gamious
Publisher: Whitethorn Games
Released: September 1, 2021
Platforms Available: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5

Meredith’s Escape

Have you ever considered leaving everything behind, going to the American countryside for a fortnight to try a different job and meet new people? That’s precisely what the main character of Lake, Meredith Weiss, did. A demanding job, an annoying boss, and an imminent burnout syndrome forced her to travel to her hometown of Providence Oaks in Oregon to take over the role of the local postmistress for her father, who had left to drink margaritas in sunny Florida.

Before I get into the review, I need to pass on the developers’ words and warn you that Lake is not the classic story-driven adventure game we know. The overwhelming story, the puzzles, the action… I wasn’t expecting any of that here, and I didn’t miss it. No murders, complex relationships, or life or death choices. The biggest problem with this small town is the construction of apartments at the expense of nature and the harmony of the surroundings. I would be lying if I said the game had no story. In fact, it does. So, if you come home from work every day angry and tired, make yourself comfortable, have a coffee, light a cigarette, transport yourself to the 1980s, and follow Meredith to a picturesque lake in the middle of the mountains. How her story unfolds over the next two weeks is up to you. The dialogue choices, which are the glitter on the diamond here, can change the storyline and allow you to reach a different ending. There are three of these in total.

A Window to Providence Oaks

But it’s not all about the conversations, which are brilliantly written, though admittedly a little chaotic at times. The main focus is delivering the mail. Your day always starts in the morning when you get in the van, turn on the local radio station, and hurrah to work to the sound of pop country. The number of deliveries, whether parcels or letters, increases over time. It doesn’t matter in what order or how long it takes to deliver your correspondence. The game offers complete freedom in this respect and the opportunity to explore the entire game map. It’s up to you how long the working day will take. I’ll admit that even I sometimes veered off the planned route just to check out the view from the dam or left my car at the edge of the forest and went to the beach to see the whole Lake in the palm of my hand. Unless it was raining. It’s a shame that the opportunity to explore the world is gone after all the deliveries are made.

Character Encounters and Dialogue Choices

If you accept an invitation for lunch or a walk during the morning delivery, there is usually an afternoon activity waiting for you on the same day. However, if you feel uncomfortable with someone offering you an afternoon activity, you’ll appreciate the option to decline the invitation. However, I would definitely not recommend this. Aside from the script and dubbing, all the characters are engaging in some way, though it may not seem so at first glance. Whether it’s the initially annoying cat woman Mildred or the odd hippie couple Mickey and June. At the end of the day, you usually have the choice of reading a book, watching TV, or working on your project. Well, start the van again in the morning. When I dropped my last letter in the mailbox on Friday, I was relieved to have my work week over. I was then unpleasantly surprised to learn that mail is delivered on Saturdays in America. In truth, I didn’t mind it so much and was even looking forward to chatting with old friends or people I had met only yesterday. The relationships I was able to make with all the characters in nearly seven hours of play took me back to the days of the first Life is Strange.

The Aesthetics of the ’80s

If you find the van ride tedious, you’ll appreciate the autopilot option. It will drive you to your desired location, but you must carry the heavy packages yourself. I’ve used this more than once. And that’s either because I wanted to enjoy the comic 3D graphics, which the authors did well. Despite the slightly outdated models, they managed to capture the environment of a quiet small town to the smallest detail. Or simply because I wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the eighties, which was always beaming at me. But if the autopilot doesn’t suit you, several fast travel points can be moved with a single click. Personally, though, I would recommend using both options sparingly. The vehicle controls are stiff, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the driving experience. Even if the character controls are of a good standard, I would only fault the sprinting. In fact, if you’re hoping that holding the shift key will put our protagonist into a run, you’d be mistaken. Her only response is a subtle increase in stride. You can’t blame the developers for that, though, as the intention is to emphasize to players that this is a calm, relaxing game.

What bothered me the most about the whole game were the stupid NPC characters that could stop in the middle of the road or block your door. Luckily, you only meet a few of them, though, as there’s not much activity in this quiet and sometimes dull town. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t detract from the experience. The same goes for the graphics, where Xbox owners, in particular, complain about texture creep or flickering shadows. I only encountered the latter problem once on the PC version I reviewed. The great dubbing is worth mentioning, especially the character of Kay, our childhood best friend, played by Cassie Ewulu, known primarily to anime fans.

A Quiet Town’s Echo

If I ignore minor bugs like the fact that the brake lights don’t come on when braking, the dubious lip-sync (when the characters don’t open their mouths to the dub), or the repetitive soundtrack (which, by the way, you can complain to your local DJ about), I enjoyed everything. It must be taken into account that this is an indie title. Lake offers a rather unconventional experience that may only suit some. However, those who try the game will give me the benefit of the doubt that this is a good title.

Where to Buy Lake

1.  Steam (PC): Available for $19.99. You can purchase the game directly from Steam.
2.  Epic Games Store (PC): Also priced at $19.99. Find more details and purchase the game here on Epic Games Store.
3.  PlayStation Store (PS4/PS5): The game is available for purchase at $19.99. You can buy it from the PlayStation Store.
4.  Xbox Store: Lake is available for $19.99 on the Xbox platform. You can find it here on Xbox.



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