It’s 1986 – Meredith Weiss takes a break from her career in the big city to deliver mail in her hometown. How will she experience two weeks in beautiful Providence Oaks, with its iconic lake and quirky community? And what will she do next? It’s up to you.
The cozy, relaxing Lake received a trailer at the Future Games Show at E3 2021. The game is centered around delivering mail in a small, quiet town in the year 1986. The game is set to release for multiple platforms, but will first release to Xbox Series X|S and PC. As Meredith Weiss computer programmer extraordinaire you take a hiatus from big city life (and your boss who makes you do WAAAAY too much) and head back home to cover for your dad as the mailman for a few weeks while your parents head to Florida (why? I don’t really know, just go with it. I don’t take a vacation to go work another job but ya know, to each their own.)
The game focuses on yep that’s right delivering mail. Each day you set off with a list of houses to deliver letters and packages to. Letters are easy enough just go to the mailbox and drop em off. Packages, you have to unload the right one for the house and head to the front door. What the game does is deliver its story elements through interactions with the townsfolk, whether you were dropping off something for them, or came across them in your travels. The town of Providence Oaks is quite a looker with a unique cell-shaded approach blended with realism gives you a great feel for what this town represents with its beauty and nature. The town is always lively with something going on and is filled with all the characters you’d expect in an eccentric lake town (Crazy Cat Lady, Hipster, Lumberjack, Grouchy Fisherman, Diner Lady, etc).
There are interactions and activities that take place after work hours, of course, you can help your friends or do favors for them. You can tackle some of your work from remote from the big city, go to the movies or even just curl up with a good book. What you do is decided by you, and the more you interact with folks the more options you get. There are romance options as well depending on how you want to play, and how you interact with others. But ultimately you are just delivering the mail as the ultimate goal while this beautiful narrative is woven around your actions. For those of you who are Gilmore Girls fans, Providence Oaks definitely has some parallels to Stars Hallow for sure and I am here for it.
There were a few minor glitches that would pop up, not sure if there is a day one patch planed but there was a certain day I had to save and quit and go back in just to end the workday. The music in the game (radio as well) is catchy and fits the mood of the game, and the narrative of the story, and is used very well in-game.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed the relaxation of the game, it was done so uniquely and creatively that I was just absorbed by it all. Even to the point when I finished the game, my wife and one of my kids also picked it up and played through it, they also greatly loved it. It is just so different and can make you really think about and evaluate your life’s priorities and what’s really important to you. There are lots of little details and stuff hidden in the game as well so take your time, and explore.
Full disclosure, one of my guilty pleasures is during the holidays watching Hallmark Christmas movies, there is something about them that makes you all warm and fuzzy. Honestly, Lake is like playing a summer-themed Hallmark Movie, in all the best ways.