HomeReviews4/5 ReviewLake: Season's Greetings Review

Lake: Season’s Greetings Review

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Pardon the pun, but Lake made a little bit of a splash two years ago. If you haven’t played it, the gist is that it’s a cozy postal delivery simulator set in the small town of Providence Oaks. You played as Meredith Weiss, a career-driven woman caught at the crossroads, who is asked to return to her childhood town (the aforementioned Providence Oaks) to take on her father’s post.

However, there was some room for expansion with the initial game. Enter Lake: Season’s Greetings, a brand new prequel expansion with a holiday twist.

lake seasons greetings review 3
It’s time to get delivering all over again

In Lake: Season’s Greetings, you play as Thomas Weiss, Meredith’s father, as he helps out a group of friendly faces, both new and old, navigate the holiday season. For ten days, stretching from just before Christmas right up to New Year’s Eve, Thomas will be playing matchmaker between two stranded lovebirds, helping a friend skirt by the watchful eye of his stern boss, settling a feud between local business owners, and most importantly, delivering the packages, parcels and letters the people of Providence Oaks need over the holiday season.

In terms of the gameplay, Season’s Greetings builds off of the foundation Lake left before. Much like in our friends in blue’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Season’s Greetings reuses the original game’s map but builds off of it with a wintry theme. Seeing familiar landmarks blanketed in snow and decked in tinsel is always a pleasant sight to see, and Providence Oaks certainly makes for a winter wonderland. The somewhat divisive gameplay loop of delivering packages is largely unchanged from the base game, but I felt it was still engaging enough, especially when broken up over multiple play sessions. The expansion is short, clocking in around four hours, but it’s one I feel is best enjoyed by taking your time with it.

The tone of the game also deserves considerable praise. Lake, and by extension, Season’s Greetings are very cozy, enjoyable games. It’s not designed to overwhelm the player but rather immerse them in a small-town environment filled with likeable characters and interesting locales. In a way, both the base game and the expansion feel like Life is Strange, if you stripped away the murder mystery and supernatural elements from those games.

lake seasons greetings review 2
Lake: Season’s Greetings deserves praise

However, Season’s Greetings is also a Christmas game, a surprisingly common occurrence this year. While we’ve had games based on The Grinch and A Christmas Carol (Ebenezer and the Invisible World) hit shelves this year, Season’s Greetings is telling an original Christmas-themed story and this is reflected in the tone. Family values, heartwarming morals and loveable characters nail the feelings a good Christmas special on TV evokes. The musical tracks are also incredibly catchy and wholesome but are repeated a few times too many. By the seventh time I heard a particular country tune (an enjoyable one, mind you), I started to get Johnny Guitar in Fallout: New Vegas flashbacks.

Also worthy of laurels are the splendid performances in the game. Thomas’ actor, Troupe Gammage, imbues his character with warmth, charm and just the slightest hint of snark. The other characters are also propped up by some great performances and sharp writing. For me, the standout character is Beth, whose bittersweet story serves in many ways as the heart of the game. Special shoutouts must also go to Frank, who elicits a number of well-earned laughs.

If there is one area where both the base game and the expansion are held back, it’s in performance. Not the performances (which are stellar) but the overall technical state of the game. My experience with Season’s Greetings was unfortunately permeated with a considerable amount of dialogue bugs where voice lines would just outright not play. Considering the strength of the performances, this was quite disappointing, but a reset often helped. Beyond the bugs, the game has a considerable amount of detail pop-in and general pop-in which can be rather distracting at points. This is an unfortunately not uncommon occurrence in titles made within the Unity engine, but it can be immersion-breaking.

Also, while this isn’t factoring into my scoring decision, it is disappointing how little the game takes advantage of some of the Series X’s Quality of Life features. Most notably, quick resume is not supported, which is a bit of a shame, especially as this is the sort of game that would work as a great pallet cleanser to jump into quickly. Also for Cheevo hunters, don’t expect any new achievements here.

lake seasons greetings review 1
Cozy.

Finally, to touch briefly upon value, Lake: Season’s Greetings is available for £8.39 if you own Lake, or as £20.99 package with the original game. The expansion cannot be purchased without also owning Lake, but the price is right no matter how you slice it. This is a game well worth the asking price, and regardless of whether you want to start with Lake or Season’s Greetings (both work as jumping-in points), it’s worth the time.

All in all, I enjoyed my time revisiting Providence Oaks in Lake: Season’s Greetings. The loveable characters, heartwarming story and classic Christmas tone make this well worth a pick-up over the Holiday season, even if some technical qualms hold it back from tree-topping star status.

This is well worth a look, especially if you want a cozy experience to enjoy on a cold winter’s night.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Nails the Christmas Look and Feel
  • Great characters
  • Good value
  • Cozy!
Cons:
  • Technical issues
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Whitethorn Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 15 November 2023 | £8.39
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Nails the Christmas Look and Feel</li> <li>Great characters</li> <li>Good value</li> <li>Cozy!</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Technical issues</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Whitethorn Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 15 November 2023 | £8.39</li> </ul>Lake: Season's Greetings Review
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