Publisher: Whitethorn Digital, Gamious
Genre(s): Adventure, Open World
Platform: Windows 10 (also available on Steam and Xbox)
Age Rating: (IARC) M
Release Date: 01.09.21
A code was provided for review purposes
Moving into the country, away from the hustle and bustle of life in the big city, is a formula seen in many games. In the postal worker simulation game Lake, the small town of Providence Oaks needs a temporary postwoman and you’re just the right person for the job! Find out whether Providence Oaks is a dream destination or life in the slow lane in this Rapid Review.
Meredith Weiss works in a 1980s software company; the pay is good; the job is secure but it’s often busy and stressful. When her parents holiday in Florida, her dad’s mail-carrier role becomes vacant for two weeks. Moving to a quiet lakeside town sounds like a good break from her software job, so Meredith travels to the town of Providence Oaks and begins her new career.
At this point, what Meredith does is up to the player. Equipped with a bag of letters, a van full of packages and a list of addresses, I optimistically stepped out of the post office and my new, albeit temporary, career was ready to begin.
First things first, if driving around a quiet town dropping off packages and conversing with the townsfolk for eight hours sounds instantly appealing, then Lake succeeds on this gameplay promise. Lake’s post office gameplay isn’t revolutionary but not all games need to be. There was a certain charm of sitting at my computer, loading up the game and preparing for my shift as a simple mail carrier for the day.
Speaking of charm, Lake is full of it with gorgeous vistas of a small town with opinionated locals and an initially lovely country soundtrack (but more on music later). Unfortunately, whilst the post office novelty charmed me for the first hour or so, by the end of my playtime, Lake became more of a job which I sat at my computer to finish rather than a game which I was excited to return to. That doesn’t mean Lake is a terrible game, in fact, I got a lot of enjoyment out of it, but the slow-burning casual nature will not be for everyone.
Controls in Lake are as expected with my van having some weight to it when handling. After driving my package-filled vehicle from the compact town to far out farms and lodges, I was often greeted with the recipient of the package at the door. What follows is a conversation about all manner of subjects, from classic film recommendations to concerns about new housing developments. In one conversation, I argued with Mildred (the self-professed cat lady) about inspecting the contents of the very obviously teddy bear-shaped package.
I liked how dialogue options allowed me to choose whether I responded politely or not-so-politely. With different attitudes from the characters around me, I mostly responded in the way I was spoken to. Overall, I found the characters to be quite varied in approach but there was never a character I truly resonated with. With no options to skip or speed up dialogue, I was never too disappointed when no one was home and I had to leave the package at the door.
A good soundtrack is part and parcel with being on the road and Lake’s country-music soundtrack began as the perfect complement to driving around the gorgeous Providence Oaks. Unfortunately, whilst I enjoyed listening to the in-game radio, the track selection was severely limited so after playing half the game with the same tracks on loop, I muted the in-game audio to listen to other music elsewhere.
One audio feature that I did keep on however was the voiceover. Pretty much all of Lake’s dialogue has full voice acting and, whilst sometimes lacking in contextual delivery, I enjoyed hearing a voice attached to each character.
Overall, Lake lives up to its promise of mail-delivering gameplay by delivering a neatly tied up package of gameplay and well-written dialogue. Lake’s repetitive delivery gameplay will not be for everyone, but if you’ve always wanted to live out your dreams of being a mail carrier in a remote town, then there’s a definite charm to Lake.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.