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Review of Lake Ridden by Stevens R. Miller

Stars - 40

Rating by Stevens R. Miller posted on Sep 8, 2019 | edit | delete

Relaxing, slightly spooky mystery.

Although dotted with a couple of tolerable flaws, this is a fine, relaxing game in the walking-sim/mystery genre. The developers say it’s not a walking sim, but we thought it was and why not? They also say it’s not a horror game. We agree on that point, but it is a bit spooky here and there. Just the right amount when you want chills, but not blood. It’s slightly akin to “Gone Home,” in that regard.

The trailer is an accurate sample of what game-play is like, so if you like the kind of game you recognize in that trailer, you’ll like this one. Negative comments have been that it has no manual save, and that you do a lot of walking long distances. We’ll add that you open a lot of empty containers and that some of the puzzles are a bit repetitive. But the overall story and environment are pretty entertaining.

The absence of a manual save means you have to live with the last checkpoint the game chose to save at when you restart. You only get a moment’s notice with a diskette icon in the upper right corner when it saves, and this made it a bit tricky because a similar icon in almost the same place indicates a scene is loading. You can confuse one for the other. (Also, how much longer are we going to use a diskette for an icon? You can hardly even buy them anymore.) We coped with that by running long distances which seemed to force a save, eventually. Yes, it was a bit annoying, but nowhere near enough of a problem to make us stop playing.

As for having to run back and forth to solve puzzles, we didn’t mind that. Now, we are not believers in the “that’s how it would be in real life” defense of a boring element in a sim. Games should be fun. If real life were as fun as games, we wouldn’t need games. However, in this case, the amount of retracing our steps required actually did feel like it added to the realism of the experience, and did so without being tedious. So we actually didn’t see this as a negative.

We did think the almost always empty containers got a bit dull but, again, not enough to ruin the game. The mystery unravels at a good pace, the environment is rich and interesting, and the soundtrack (music and acting) were very good. We think this one is a fine entry in the genre (whichever one or ones it’s in). If you like “Eyes of Ara,” “Quern,” “Xing,” “Myha,” or “Mind Path to Thalamus,” this is for you.

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Time Played: 5-10 hours
Difficulty: Easy

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