On paper — and even a little in practice, I guess — Lake sounds a bit dull. You play as Meredith Weiss, who returns to her sleepy Oregon hometown in 1986 to deliver mail for a two-week vacation while her parents are out on a vacation of their own (her father being one of the resident mail carriers).

As Meredith, the player delivers mail each day, while also interacting with the locals, deciding through dialogue how deeply she’ll ingratiate herself into their lives. At least, that is pretty much the extent of my interactions while playing the recent demo for Lake, which was released as part of Steam Next Fest 2021.

And when I say you deliver the mail, I mean you literally deliver the mail.

At the start of each day, at least in the early goings, you begin at the local post office, jumping into your mail truck and delivering letters and packages to the designated recipients. Each location is thankfully marked on both your minimap and your full map. The name of the street you are currently on is also displayed on your HUD, which makes it easier to rifle through various packages and locate the correct one. You can also opt to skip the driving portion and fast-travel to each stop if you don’t want to put in all the leg work.


I have to give a big kudos to Lake developer Whitethorn Games for this, as they managed to make something as pedestrian as delivering mail feel pleasant, relaxing, and enjoyable, while also giving the player small quality-of-life mechanics in case they just want to experience the story.

Aside from delivering their mail, you’ll also interact with the residence of Providence Oaks. There’s the waitress at the local diner, the kindly old mail person that shows you the ropes, and the spunky teenaged mechanic that works at her dad’s garage and services your mail truck. I can’t speak to the depth of these interactions, because the demo cut me off before I really got to soak up their personalities, but it looks like you will spend more time with various characters beyond the small talk you engage in while on your delivery route.

Of course, spending so much time merely delivering the mail reminded me of another package-delivery game, 2019’s Death Stranding. The main difference, of course, is that Lake lacks the self-serious, high-stakes weirdness that Death Stranding was slathered in. Lake comes without any of the highfalutin’ Hideo Kojima hallmarks. No, this is an enjoyable, charming experience that runs at its own pace.

Lake plays great and looks even greater. I can’t wait for the full release, which is scheduled for September 1 (although the Steam page doesn’t actually specify if that is September 1 of this year, but lord, I would hope to assume so).

You can check out the story trailer for Lake below.

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