After getting my Playstation 5 console earlier this year, I started finding little games to play. Normally I check with to see how much time I'm going to dump into a game before even downloading it, but I tend to stay AWAY from reviews or spoilers. It's kind of like being a kid and renting a video game purely on box art again. Sometimes it works out (Ghost of Tsushima) while others it can be a bummer (Tchia). Lake was neither exciting looking nor very interesting if I'm being honest. It looked like a soothing game.

What Kind of Game Is This?

If I had to sum it up, it's a dramatic storytelling game that involves mailman simulation. That sounds really stupid. It also has driving mechanics and a "choose your own adventure" style of dialogue options if that's more your thing. They do have an effect on the ending(s) you can get, but from what I've read, there are really only three endings (with one having a twist depending on how you play). It does keep track of how you play throughout, extending beyond dialogue options and going into how you drive your car.


This game is a semi-life sim type of game. And because you're filling in for the mailman, much of the game is delivering mail. Like, far too much of the game is delivering mail. It's interesting for the first couple days, but man does it get old. You have two types of mail to deliver: letters that go to mailboxes and packages that are delivered to the door (or office). Many of the package deliveries (and a couple of the letters) cause some sort of cut scene and some story progression. Thankfully, there is an option to skip dialogue -- In some cases, you'll be stuck listening to cats meowing.

Within this game loop, you will meet a few characters who can change the trajectory of your story. Each day while you're delivering mail, you can pop in and chat them up. Sometimes it's interesting, often times it's not. Occasionally you'll have to be proactive to get all of the things the story offers (looking at you, photo contest). If you want to play it "fast," you can ignore these people altogether unless you're delivering to them and it forces you to talk. If you want to get to know the town better, you can opt in to basically every scenario they ask you to. It depends on how you answer their questions or respond to their statements and it's relatively obvious which path you'll go down once you see the options.

Why does this fisherman know how to heal cats?


You're a busy professional woman who takes a brief two-week vacation to her hometown to cover for her dad, a mailman! While you're there, you get to reintroduce yourself to the town, meeting some familiar faces along the way (and some new ones). Many of them will want you to move back. Some will want you to move out. Others are a bit zany and provide some color, though no one in the town seems to be malicious or too real.

A quick tangent here about small town life, especially because the main character in this movie is set up as a 40-year old woman and I'm also 40 years old from a very small town. There are WAY too many people who don't know anything about her, but in my experience, people remember you far more often than you want. I think this would be especially true in the setting of this game (1986) where folks weren't moving around quite as much and people definitely weren't distracted by youtube videos or facebook posts. And while it does introduce some "interesting" characters, it's missing the straight up jerks that exist in every town. I would've loved to meet someone who was a dick when they were kids and remained that way forever. Or even some people who used to hate her and now have evened out a bit. But I get that would put a darker tone on a game that plays it very safe.

Back to the story.

As days go by, you'll be introduced to a deeper story of what is going on in the town. Nothing dark, as I said before, but there is a bit of intrigue. You'll get to reconnect with an old best friend and decide what happens with her. You'll meet potential suitors in the town and decide what happens (if anything) with them. You can basically ignore everyone if you want, just get your mail stuff done, and help out on your BIG CITY JOB in the evenings until your two weeks is up. You can also embrace the town and long for the small town vibe forever. It's totally up to you.

I wouldn't say that, Kay.


It seems obvious that I'm going to dump on controls since I gave it a whole section. Put plainly: they're not good. The camera is slow to pan until it's not, and now it's zooming around your character. The same stickiness exists on the map where you CAN fast travel, but because of the goofy controls, it's a hassle to even click the right area. It's like they made this for a PC with a keyboard+mouse combo and threw controller support in as an afterthought.

Walking is SLOW, but at least they give you a "speed up" button. Just kidding, that takes you from moving SLOW to moving slow. Note the lack of capitals there! I'm not sure what they were thinking with that. Let me run! Let me jump! Let me do .. anything?

You have a mailbag that is filled with letters, but if you stop at a house that requires you drop off a package, you have to manually go to the back of the truck, open the door, select the right package, then carry it over every time. Fun mini game perhaps, but when you are doing 10+ stops each day (for 2 weeks...), it gets old FAST. If you happen to forget the package, you will be stopped by an imaginary wall and a voiceover that reminds you to grab it. Helpful. Just give me the package straight out of the truck.

Is It Good?

There are aspects of the game that I quite enjoyed. The scenery was nice, the general vibe was pleasant, and the different options were pretty well thought-out. But the make-or-break of a game can sometimes come down to something as simple as its controls and man was this game pretty bad for controls. It also has an extremely limited soundtrack. There's a reference to this in the dialogue. The developers made a spotify playlist of the soundtrack and it has 10 songs (plus a couple theme song things that don't play while you're driving). Maybe there were 10 songs, but I only remember hearing three or four on repeat. Most annoyingly, they're modern songs that do NOT fit the 80s at all. It's incredibly anachronistic and does more damage to the immersion of the game than I think they realize.

That's not to say the soundtrack is bad because it isn't. But they're also not songs you're going to want to listen to 50 times while you play the game for six hours. You're going to start to analyze the lyrics as they continue to play and wonder how these people put this stuff out after a while. And believe me, you're going to be looking for ANYTHING to distract you from your job as a mailman after, say, day four.

Because of those things, I have a hard time recommending the game. If you could somehow trim down the mailman aspect a bit and focus more on the life in town, it could be a hidden gem of a game. I liked the interactions with the townsfolk and I liked being in the driver's seat of what Meredith's life could be. It was soothing enough that it made me introspect on my own life and choices, which is something games don't often do. It's such a mixed bag and I really want it to be better than it is.

So to answer the question "is it good?" - Yes and no. It is the ultimate mix of serene life sim / adventure and utterly inane task-driven gameplay. But I paid nothing for this since it was on PS+, so I feel pretty good about my experience, despite the clunkiness. If you do give it a go, make sure you're nice to Angie. I liked her the most.

Look, it's an endearing game.

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