Lake is a Peaceful Game Focusing on Life-Changing Decisions

Lake is a video game that offers an unusual and tranquil experience. One would expect that this story would have a dark twist somewhere, but there is nothing of the sort to be found here. It’s 1986 and Meredith Weiss decided to escape the big city life and move back out to her hometown called Providence Oaks. For two weeks, she decides to help the community by delivering mail around the area. The main appeal of this game is conversing with the varied and eccentric community and making decisions throughout. There’s no combat, action, or villain to take on. This game offers a straightforward plot with interwoven threads where everyone’s lives conjoin, very much like any other small town. There is something inherently nourishing about conversation mechanics in games that are taking new heights with this generation. Branching dialogue is nothing new, but since this game’s core mechanic, it offers a very different type of adventure.

Meredith will be free to explore Providence Oaks at her own leisure. She can drive around in her vehicle and pick and choose where to go. There will be twists and turns in this story, sure. However, they will mainly be about the lives of the people who live in this town. This, in turn, gives a relatable and down-to-earth gameplay offering seldom seen in games these days. It’s all about choice and consequence and players will need to decide their fate regarding Meredith. Should she stay in this town and start anew or go back to the city? Of course, the plot of this game isn’t that cut and dry. There will be subtleties in the choices made in this game that will affect the outcome of Meredith’s journey. It can all be very nuanced. Thus, it can be difficult to foresee what is going to happen from one moment to the next.

Lake Leisure

Graphically, Lake appears to do a good job of capturing the spirit of small-town living. There is a relaxing atmosphere and there’s really no sense of danger or impending doom. This game almost has a Telltale vibe to it regarding its art direction. The entire town of Providence Oaks is lush with trees and the lake provides a shimmering horizon of hope. The water-colored look of this world gives it a certain charm and warmth which makes this game easy to fall into. The town is also fairly large in size, providing many roads and avenues to explore and find things. Day to day Meredith will make her rounds in her mail truck, which will accumulate updates on people’s lives and slowly mold the outcome of this story. There is no “good” or “bad” ending in Lake. There’s simply the ending the player wants to have.

This provides a certain level of freedom on how a gamer plays their story which is pretty rare. The story doesn’t have a set path to take, by any means. There will also be special segments in Lake where Meredith will need to decide on what to do after work. She can help out neighbors by doing chores, going on a date, or simply staying home and relaxing. Of course, all these little decisions will shape the plot and players will need to accept the consequences. It will also be possible to spark a full-blown relationship with people. Yes, if a player feels to need to make a love story for themselves, then it’s very possible. Thus, fixing broken relationships from the past and healing old wounds is another factor in this game that players can explore.

Old Stomping Grounds

The town of Providence Oaks is the town that Meredith grew up in, so she’s not exactly a stranger to the people there. Since this story takes place during the 80s, there will be no internet connection of any kind to use. Therefore, good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction with people will be the staple of this game. Exploring an analog world will be a trip down memory lane for some gamers and an introduction for others. This game is a slow burner, with no run button for Meredith. She can walk a little faster, but that’s it. So, gamers will need a certain amount of patience to play Lake. It’s not like Grand Theft Auto or even like the underrated The Getaway. Police won’t come after Meredith, even if she does something unsavory while driving. This was a deliberate design choice, of course. The developers want to funnel players into a very distinct type of gameplay experience while cropping out any kind of mayhem.

There is also quite a bit of variety in terms of activities in Lake. Players can choose to look after a cat, go fishing, attend a camping trip, go to a diner, and other options. These aren’t just meaningless activities to gain XP or find a collectible, instead, these are interconnected with the overall plot. There is a lot to do in this game, despite the fact that it’s mainly about personal decisions on how to rebuild one’s life. This game takes place within a two-week period, so there’s plenty of time to make life-altering decisions. This game can take a while to complete, or it can be finished in one gaming session. It solely depends on how players go about with their decisions.

Daily Deliveries

This game is offering a very particular experience that isn’t found anywhere else. Lake is an emotional ride that is all about bonding with other human beings. It can be a little difficult to get into initially due to the slow pace. However, the deeper the story goes, the more rewarding the conclusion becomes. Given that this game provides complete freedom and multiple endings, a number of playthroughs are warranted. Lake may not reinvent the wheel, but it does come with its own lasting appeal. Any gamer that is looking for something that has no stress or turmoil to worry about needs to check out this title. Lake is now available on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Google Stadia.

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