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Lake Ridden Review (PC)

by on September 24, 2018
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Recently, the number of video games known as walking sims have increased.  And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes, in order to tell a specific story, gameplay needs to be toned down and simplified, allowing developers to tell their story.  I wouldn’t necessarily call Lake Ridden a “walking sim,” even though you do walk a lot.  Rather, Lake Ridden uses the walking sim model in order to focus on story and puzzles.

At first glance, Lake Ridden is a tale of a young girl who has lost her sister.  You immediately get the sense that the protagonist not only cares for her sister but is aware that maybe she did something to drive her away.  The protagonist talks about returning, which may have set in motion some of the initial events.  You would think that the initial disappearance would be enough to push a story forward, but that’s not the case in Lake Ridden.  You have to deal with some supernatural shenanigans.

As you continue to play, you will encounter unfamiliar voices and items that guide you on your journey to find your sister.  These supernatural occurrences are a bit on the spooky side, although I would never say it goes straight into horror territory.  The big issue with this is the story can be a little vague.  You will be told enough throughout your playthrough, but you won’t have a clear picture of what is going on.  The only way to get a full-fledged story is to find letters that are scattered all over Lake Ridden.  On one hand, it is a great motivator when it comes to finding everything in the game.  On the other, I wish the story was a bit more clear.

Lake Ridden isn’t all letters and walking.  There are many different puzzles for you to solve.  Puzzles most often are solved in order to clear the way to the next section of the game.  These puzzles involve placing items in specific areas and/or turning wheels to create an image.  Another type of puzzle works like a game of Simon.  On a box will be 9 buttons that must be pressed in a specific order.  These puzzles are challenging, but accessible to typical players.

One type of puzzle that is very challenging contains pieces of content that will help you dive deeper into the story.  These boxes are scattered throughout the game and are a chore to solve.  Pressing a button will turn specific items on the box.  You must press buttons in a specific order if you want to access the contents.  I’m usually pretty good at these type of brain teasers, but I was having a tough time with these specific boxes.  I needed a lot of trial and error in order to open them.

A key component to Lake Ridden is the atmosphere.  Because we are dealing with supernatural themes, it needs to have the right kind of environment mixed with appropriate music.  The development team behind Lake Ridden does a fantastic job of creating this kind of atmosphere.  The lighting and detail is a nice touch, especially as you search areas that are obviously rundown and in disrepair.  The music is the right kind of haunting, in that it sets a really spooky vibe without including cheap jump scares.  The voice acting was appropriate, although I would have liked to have seen some more voice fluctuation in the protagonist.  In a way, she sounds almost too calm despite things that are going on.

Lake Ridden is a short, story-driven game with a spooky, supernatural vibe.  The puzzles range from just the right amount of difficulty to being way too hard.  The story has moments of interest, but not enough keep me engaged throughout the entire playthrough.

Lake Ridden is available now on Steam.

Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.

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Editor Rating
 
Gameplay
A+

 
Graphics
A+

 
Story
A+

 
Replay Value
A+

Total Score
A+

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