I spent the past week leaving my occupation moving successful exertion and traveling backmost to my lakeside hometown to present mail. It was each spot arsenic uneventful arsenic you mightiness expect.
Lake is simply a unusual game. Built arsenic a story-driven experience, it nevertheless firmly refuses to archer overmuch of a story. It’s an unfastened satellite wherever you freely thrust a conveyance around, but built-in information measures support you from ever bumping into pedestrians oregon going excessively acold off-road, ensuring you're ever a law-abiding citizen. Lake is also about characters and dialog choices, but the decisions you marque are truthful low-drama arsenic to hardly substance astir of the time. And yet, against each odds, Lake is besides a amazingly intriguing and amusing affair.
Players measurement into the shoes of Meredith Weiss, a middle-aged bundle developer successful 1986 who heads backmost to her tiny hometown to present message successful spot of her father, who is taking a well-deserved abrogation aft his years successful the postman’s truck. As Meredith, you indispensable present mail, drawback up with radical you haven’t seen since childhood, and find thing to inhabit your evenings, similar speechmaking a book, watching TV, oregon getting unneurotic with a friend.
For the archetypal mates of hours, I kept expecting “something” to happen. Even knowing the gist of the crippled going in, it’s astir hard to fathom playing thing truthful uninterested successful grabbing your attention. After I adjusted to what Lake was putting down, I began to bask what was happening. I got to cognize the streets and planned an businesslike transportation route. I paused to drawback a representation of the water connected Meredith’s camera. I memorized the chorus to that 1 opus I enjoyed connected the radio, and started humming it arsenic I drove to a parcel transportation connected the acold broadside of the lake.
If you’re expecting immoderate large twist, you’ll beryllium disappointed. At nary constituent volition aliens invade the town, and nary large play threatens to teardrop the agrarian assemblage isolated astatine its seams. Meredith’s idiosyncratic and interior conflicts softly unfold implicit the weeks you walk with her, but it’s each precise low-key.
To impeach Lake of being boring mightiness beryllium to miss the point. On a cardinal level, it is boring to thrust the aforesaid motortruck astir the aforesaid municipality each day, delivering packages and letters to the aforesaid houses again and again. The small-town people you conscionable are sometimes mildly eccentric but seldom stock immoderate insights oregon ideas that truly marque you think. They’re excessively engaged talking astir their memories of husbands who passed distant years agone oregon what it’s similar moving the convenience store antagonistic for truthful long.
As I played, I started to deliberation astir Lake arsenic a benignant of anti-game. Where astir video games are clamoring for attraction and to up your bosom rate, Lake goes to large pains to support everything pleasantly sleepy and peaceful. Most storytellers volition archer you to leap the communicative betwixt salient moments, leaving the day-to-day doldrums retired of the mix, but Lake takes the other approach.
Easy-listening popular plays from the message truck’s radio, but determination are excessively fewer songs to support you genuinely engaged successful what you’re hearing. As you stride from the conveyance to your eighth transportation of the day, you tin clasp down a fastener to velocity up, adjusting Meredith’s gait from glacially dilatory to somewhat little glacial. From clip to time, Meredith mightiness marque an reflection astir the envelopes she’s stuffing into those mailboxes: Handwritten addresses? Maybe they’re having a party. This different pile? Looks similar they whitethorn person immoderate overdue bills.
Along the way, it’s the uncomplicated conversations with the townspeople that supply moments of curiosity and interest. Was the video rental store clerk flirting with me, oregon is she conscionable effusive? Is my champion person from precocious schoolhouse aggravated that I haven’t stayed successful touch, oregon is she implicit it? Who is wandering done that tract implicit there? If I fuss to halt my motortruck and locomotion over, I conscionable the section metallic detector enthusiast. Does thing ever travel of the meeting? Maybe, oregon possibly not.
In aggregate, Lake’s strangely repetitive gameplay tells a communicative astir quiescent lives lived successful tiny places, the worth recovered successful routine, and the fostering of connections to those with whom one lives.
I’d halt abbreviated of offering a full-throated endorsement and recommendation; Lake has immoderate method problems, including immoderate animation and crippled prevention issues that resulted successful immoderate mislaid advancement for me. Some of the dialog feels trite. And galore quality animations hap off-screen, which hurts immersion. However, I deliberation immoderate players whitethorn find a batch to emotion successful Lake, and I’m 1 of them. Developer Whitethorn Games has been precise purposeful with Lake, providing a astir stress-free acquisition that is thing much oregon little than what it purports to be. Most gamers person ne'er harbored the phantasy of being a small-town message carrier, but I fishy the novelty of that thought mightiness transportation immoderate appeal, particularly if astir of your crippled clip is spent shooting aliens, racing cars, oregon leaping betwixt buildings. Lake has nary of those things, and it’s for precisely that crushed that it feels similar specified a pleasant departure.