The year is 1986 and you play as Meredith Weiss as she takes a step back from her busy tech career to deliver mail in her hometown. Lake follows Meredith as she returns to her lovely home town of Providence Oaks, Oregon, a sleepy lake-side town with just a few residents. You’re filling in for your dad for the next two weeks as you explore the town and get to know the residents. Some are friendly new faces, and some are familiar pals you grew up with. Deliver mail during the day, then spend your after work hours keeping to yourself or hanging out with friends. There are no wrong or right answers in this game, but they all shape your experience!
I found Lake to be somewhat frustrating at first. You walk SO slowly, and there’s not a ton to do besides deliver mail and talk to people. Then I realized, that’s the point. In a world full of high adrenaline platformers and fighting games, this one forces you to slow down and enjoy the simple things in the world around you. There are no cell phones or modern computers to distract you. You deliver mail in a gorgeous town, build relationships with the townspeople, and just take in the scenery. Plus, driving around is fun, and the autopilot feature allows for some great sightseeing.
This is an ideal walking simulator, really. The mountains in the distance paired with the lovely wooded areas of town, and the idyllic small-town are so peaceful and perfect to just stroll through. The sun shining adds a relaxing atmosphere to the unhurried little town. Plus, there’s no timer or clock to compete with. Lake doesn’t have you on a schedule to deliver to each house by a certain time or within a certain limit. You can just get to it when you get to it, so take the scenic route around the lake! When you’ve finished your mail route and any side tasks you want to complete, you can return to the post office to end the day. Then, you’ll have the chance to hang out with friends or chill out at home. Rinse and repeat.
Graphics and Audio
The graphics in the game aren’t top tier, mind-blowing by any means. However, the scenery is still beautiful. Providence Oaks is adorable, and driving through some of the tree-lined roads is highly cathartic. Lake’s homes and their yards border on perfection, which makes them a little too cookie-cutter, but they’re well designed. The character’s facial features seem a little plastic as only the eyes and mouth move, but they’re always well dressed. The clothing choices often scream ‘80s, which helps with setting the time period. Otherwise, there isn’t a ton that makes the game feel like it’s in the ‘80s besides some of the movie posters at the rental store.
As for the audio, Lake’s mail truck is equipped with a radio that plays country-pop songs. Thankfully, you can toggle the radio on and off, because the songs are far from my idea of enjoyable. They often were too loud for my tastes, too. I would have much preferred some ambient muzak or lo-fi jams, but these songs are fairly on-brand for the time. They felt overpowering, though. The music didn’t fade into the background and mix with the scenery to create the perfect relaxing experience.
Overall, I really enjoyed Lake. It was relaxing and set in a gorgeous area. I know many people had issues with glitches early on, but I’m guessing they’ve been patched out by now as I had no issues. Engaging in a short story delivered through character interactions made it easy to learn who people were while getting some backstory on Meredith, too. Plus, no timer or clock lets me chill out and explore and get things done at my own pace. It really allowed me to just take in the scenery.
If you enjoy walking simulators with little to do gameplay-wise, and enjoy slower games, this is for you!
I give it: