Lake (Review)

A small town postman simulator might not be the kind of game that springs to mind for many players but Lake from Whitethorn Games gives that to you in a nice chill package that is easy to enjoy and succeeds by keeping the experience short and sweet.

The game puts you in the shoes of Meredith, who is taking a break from her role at a software company in the city and returning to her home town of Providence Oaks as a favour to her parents who are out of town. She takes on the job of the town’s postman and travels around the lake the town sits next to, delivering mail and packages while talking with members of the community and sometimes helping them out when needed. So don’t expect drive by shootings, explosions or alien visitations here… just a little slice of life.

The main focus of gameplay in Lake is the mail delivery, driving around the map each day stopping at destinations marked on your map. Though if you want to avoid the driving there is an “autopilot” by setting a waypoint on the map… it’s a little hanky but it works. During the course of those deliveries you get the opportunity to talk with some of the locals which then opens up additional story paths that help give Meredith a little more to do beyond the mail. The game’s generous achievements may give a lot away in relation to what you need to do, most of it can be done in a single playthrough, but it’s worth trying to do them regardless because it really adds to the experience.

Visually the game is pretty charming with stylised characters and a bright setting that reminds me sometimes of watercolour paintings. Detail pop-in, especially when driving, is fairly noticeable as are odd behaviours of the AI vehicles but it’s still the sort of game that lends itself well to lots of screenshots for pretty backgrounds. Audio contains a full voice cast for the characters and a number of songs on the local radio station that are fitting. You’ll probably find quickly that the songs repeat a lot but the game even mentions that in a cutscene so it is self aware of it’s own limitations.

The game will take a couple of hours to complete for those wanting to rush through and maybe a couple more for the completionists and those wanting to see the different endings. I think trying to do as much as you can is the way to go – in the end I wanted to find out more and that seems like a sign that the game’s story is doing a good job and sometimes that’s all you need. 🙂

Lake is out now for PC and Xbox. Played on an Xbox Series X via Game Pass.

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