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Cozy Game Review: The Lake

Lake is a laid back graphic adventure game where you soak in the memories of Meredith Weiss as she visits her childhood town, but does the game sink or swim? Read this review to find out more.

the lake review

Set in 1986, Lake is a graphic adventure game which follows the life of a middle aged IT programmer named Meredith Weiss, who chooses to take some well deserved time off from her hectic job and visit her hometown of a fictional Oregon town of Providence Oaks. Here she takes on the laid back job of being a courier at the local post office, where she delivers mail and packages, whilst reigniting old friendships and cultivating new ones.

The game is virtually a playable movie. Every morning, you take control of Meredith and drive around in a courier van, soaking in the idyllic sites of this small, cozy town whilst listening to music (albeit it annoying music) and find the right locations in which to drop the parcels and letters off.

the lake game review

Sometimes, you just get out of the van and nothing happens, however, there are key moments where Meredith will deliver a letter or package and be instantly pulled into a cutscene with one of the locals. It’s here that you get to soak up a bit of Meredith’s past and all the different personalities of the townsfolk, majority of which are welcoming.

During most of the interactions, you will have control of Meredith’s reaction, which causes a butterfly effect and alters how her story pans out here. This will affect things like relationships to even whether she even goes back to her job in the big city. The story is all dictated by the player’s choices and it will make you ponder over the things that could have been.

the lake video game review

Although narrative story based games are nothing new, it feels like The Lake has approached this genre in a totally unique way. Firstly, the whole game is fully voice acted, which really suits the game well and it’s also not trying to be poetic or symbolic. This game is literally about a middle-aged woman, taking a long break in her hometown- that’s it.

There were many moments where I really wished I could be here. Just leaving my busy suburban life behind and visiting my loving family in a big detached home in a quiet, lakeside town and making connecting relationships- but I unfortunately don’t have that, so I guess I have to live out this fantasy via this game.

A few things I’m not so keen on are the graphics and gameplay. Honestly, I hate the graphics, well the locations are remarkable and stunning to soak in, however, it’s the character’s and their expressions that are off putting and kind of weird. Throughout the game, I would cringe or feel a bit weirded out when characters would hug or laugh, as it looked a little odd.

the lake cozy game

Also the gameplay, although relaxing at first, can be very repetitive and boring in the long run. There is a limit to how many times you can drive that janky, little van and listen to the same two cheesy pop songs on repeat every day.

One thing that they could have included was more opportunities to interact with the town itself, rather than it being only reserved for cutscenes. I would have loved to just finish up a shift and go to the diner myself or even go shopping and choose customisable outfits for Meredith.

There were a few bugs that I encountered throughout the game that ruined the immersion and overall experience. For example, sometimes I would have to keep entering and exiting the vehicle before Meredith would actually go to the back and grab a parcel, or there were more than a few occasions in which a cutscene was meant to have occurred but nothing happened. The characters would just stand there and just blankly at each other before the scene faded to black.

cozy games xbox game pass

Overall, The Lake was initially a fun experience that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, however, it did get very boring half way through and sometimes I just found it to be graphically off putting at times. I do recommend it, if you’re looking for a cozy story to revel in as it’s very unique, but just be aware that this game may become dull after an extended period of time.

The game is currently available on plenty of home consoles including PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S. I managed to play this for free on Xbox GamePass back last year, however it’s no longer available on there.


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