Lake test by jeuxvideo.com

Available for a few days in the PC and console Game Pass, Lake is a new relaxing experience that gives you a unique task: delivering mail to a small American town in the 1980s.

Published on the first day of September 2021 on the Microsoft ecosystem, Lake is the first narrative experience of Gamious, a small team from the Netherlands so far accustomed to mobile puzzle-games. This production edited by Whitethorn Digital and freshly published in the Game Pass catalog gives pride of place to classic slices of life and a contemplative journey. A particularly peaceful journey awaits you on the roads of Providence Oaks, a town where everyone seems deeply connected.

The human factor

Exhausted by a too intrusive job as a programmer, Meredith Weiss allows herself a breath of fresh air for two weeks in her small hometown. However, the hour is not quite at rest, the young woman seeing herself in charge of taking on her father’s postman job during the holidays. Not annoyed for a penny, here she takes the wheel of her little van every day to deliver letters and parcels to the locals. To the rhythm of the soft melodies of a radio which should sometimes change disc, the player quickly forgets himself on the particularly calm roads of Providence Oaks ; The highly relaxing experience therefore oscillates between tranquility and drowsiness and is appreciated a little more during the mornings of work. Away from modern society, Providence Oaks is also bathed in constant tranquility; an atmosphere encouraged by the pre-digital era chosen for setting : the years 1986, when the much adored video clubs are still living their heyday.

On the other hand, it is difficult to appreciate the trip for its contemplative approach; if the decorations certainly display a relatively charming character and nice lighting effects, they show a slight clipping, a capricious camera and an overall lack of finesse. Also the postwoman’s job frequently follows the same routes and takes the same stops, which are indicated by a small map which deserves more precision. So if the task is relaxing, it is just as redundant and mechanical. And Meredith’s step is excessively heavy, even particularly painfully slow. Fortunately, his van, far from being a competition vehicle, enjoys a constant speed whose driving becomes quite easy to handle.

Lake: the new pearl of Xbox Game Pass?

Lake Traction

Between two tours, Lake forges its narrative material into a handful of slices of life that are not lacking in authenticity. Childhood friend lost to sight, particularly hostile hotel manager, suitors for love: Meredith connects reunions and meetings. The latter inherit such a rapid proximity with the protagonist that they become almost disconcerting. The people of Providence Oaks do not hesitate to entrust our letter carrier here and there with a few side delivery quests; a granny with a sour hair will notably shamelessly ask you to bring her sluggish cat to the vet, while a grocery store manager will ask you to take some pictures of the city with her disposable film camera. Something to bring a little freshness to your days. But in a rather constraining way, Meredith often finds herself unable to continue her usual work once a request is given to her (this usually taking the form of a package to be delivered). A little organization is therefore in order not to engage in laborious detours.

The characters you meet are also happy to share their issues, which are all in all endearing. Note also that the dubbing of some of them is particularly good, giving a little life to almost completely expressionless faces, with regret. The interactions are quite flexible, the game leaving the leisure to be just as nice as relatively unpleasant. They also offer a handful of choices which, without presenting colossal moral dilemmas, lead to quite distinct outcomes.. But finally, if we still find enough pleasure to unroll the small palette of narrated issues, it is clear that they suffer from an indolent rhythm and from a sometimes too sterile flavor. Also the conclusion of our experience can be guessed far too early in the adventure which still benefits from a correct lifespan of around seven hours.

Conclusion

Points forts

  • A highly relaxing experience
  • A pleasant atmosphere
  • Often very successful dubbing
  • Quite subtle choices for real consequences

Weak points

  • The annoying slowness of Meredith
  • Sometimes quite sterile stories
  • The faces without expressions of the characters
  • An overall slow pace
  • A rather late technique

Highly relaxing, sometimes too much perhaps, Lake offers an escape of a few hours that is not refused when one seeks a purely restful narrative experience. The interactive story shaped by Gamious also benefits from a great deal of authenticity and choice of dialogues that allow the player to feel truly engaged. Too bad the adventure is based on a pattern that does not evolve enough, a too languid pace and a scenario that fails to touch us fully.

6

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Tiraxa profile, Jeuxvideo.com

Through Tiraxa, Journalist jeuxvideo.com

MP

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