Out now on PC and Xbox, Lake is a chill game about delivering mail in a picturesque lakeside town.
You are Meredith Weiss, and after 20 years away from her hometown, studying and working her way up a demanding career in computers, you’re back home to take a break. Well, sort of. It’s not exactly a holiday, as she ends up temporarily becoming the town’s mail delivery person. Cue days of driving around the streets, popping letters into slots and handing packages to residents.
There’s a lovable mundanity to Lake, and going through the motions of Meredith’s new job may sound dull, but it’s actually relaxing. Driving around isn’t exactly Grand Theft Auto; accidentally (or not-so-accidentally) crash into another car and nothing happens. But pull up and knock on a door with a parcel and you’ll engage in various conversations, each one unveiling a little more about Meredith, and the people of the town she’s staying in.
There’s everything from the awkwardness of being face-to-face with an old school friend for the first time in ten decades to the frustration of the local crazy cat lady, who seems to think you’re there to tend to her every beck and call. But that’s small town life for you, and Meredith is there to embrace it. Well, as long as that’s what you choose; dialogue options means you can be helpful or standoffish, or somewhere in-between. (Turns out I’m too polite to refuse to take the old lady’s cat to the vet.)
One of my favourite places to visit in Lake so far, though, is the town’s video rental store. To set the scene, Lake is set in 1986. Think of the iconic movies of that era. Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Terminator... the list goes on. Copyright infringement and all that fun stuff means that developer Gamious hasn’t wanted to slap actual movie covers on its digital video boxes… but it has wanted to carefully capture the media of the 1980s. Just take a look for yourself:
Blade Jogger! The Kung Fu Kid! Mehman II! Ghostblasters! The Friendly Dead! And my favourite of all: The Stony Thriller Photo Display. Ingenious. Sadly, despite there being quite a few shelves in the video store, most simply replicate the same films, but there’s enough here to have a good chuckle at. I can only imagine how much fun the artists had when coming up with some of these.
This isn’t the only pleasantry you’ll find when driving around Lake‘s gorgeous streets. But it is one of the best demonstrations of the care the developer has put into creating a world that’s as believable as it is wonderful. If a laid-back tale about returning to your hometown sounds like something you’d enjoy, then give Lake a try.
Now if you don’t mind me, I’ve got to skedaddle and watch Back to the Present.
Lake is available now on Xbox and PC.