Lake is a game about delivering parcels. You play as Meredith Weiss, a software designer in 1986. She takes a break from her time-consuming job to fill in for her dad in her hometown of Providence Oaks. Throughout the game you will deliver packages, help out residents, meet up with old friends and new faces. Will you find a love for the peaceful rural setting, or will you head back to the fancy software job in the big city?
It’s difficult to describe Lake in a way that makes it exciting. In the final game, you will play through 14 days of delivering parcels. Each day, you will get a list of deliveries, some are just mail, while others are larger parcels. At some of the residences, you will have the opportunity to speak to the people living there. With multiple choice responses, you can be friendly, curt, funny or sometimes flirty. Different people react to you being funny in different ways – an old lady told me off for being “nosy” when I said a bear-shaped package was a toy bear, while a lumberjack appreciated my interest in his mail.
Some of the residents of Providence Oaks will ask for help with tasks. In the second day of the demo, the old lady who told me off asked me to help her as one of her many cats was acting sick. If you’re dead inside, you can decline and say you don’t think your job would allow it. Obviously, I got on to helping the cat straight away.
There’s no time limit for delivering the parcels. Once you’ve finished delivering you return to the post office and end the day. In the evening, you will be able to choose what to do. On the second day, I was offered a VHS of The Postman Always Rings Twice, so decided to watch that, which opened up more dialogue with Angie, the owner of the video rental shop, discussing the themes of the film. Your workplace will also contact you to ask for help reading over things. If you’ve arranged to meet up with someone, you can also do that or just do nothing and watch TV or read a book.
This sounds really simple, and it is. There’s no sense of urgency, no challenge, but it’s also just really, really nice. My time with the demo was extremely relaxing and I loved every moment of it. There’s just something joyful about every moment, turning what should be a menial task into a pleasant evening. I found the characters to be engaging and want to find out more about their stories.
I think I will definitely be trying out Lake when it releases on the 1st September.