October, that wonderful time of year when the weather starts to cool and scary movies start to pop up on television and on the main page of streaming services! To celebrate this month and the upcoming Halloween holiday, I have decided to take a look at some games in the horror genre. This time we’ll be taking a look at the Lake of Voices, a free-to-play visual novel released by GB Patch Games in 2018.
In Lake of Voices you take up the role of Kikka, one of a pair of guards sent to assist a neighboring village being harassed by ruffians. To get there in time, you and your fellow guard, Bemelle, need to cross a cursed lake Sinnlos. Every night, a wooden bridge rises from the depths, inhabited by monstrous creatures knows as the Nixi.
At the entrance to the bridge, you find a woman, Margaret, who also plans to begin to cross the lake tonight. Passage is facilitated by a man called The Guide, who escorts travelers across the twisting two day journey over the lake. Even with guidance, the journey is still by no means a safe one, as the Nixi have a tendency to drown humans in their lake.
I won’t get any further into the plot, as to avoid spoiling anything. There is another character that you can meet along the way, though that’s fairly obvious from the information presented on the game’s webpage. The way the game plays out depends upon what choices you make. Like many visual novels, the decisions that you make are really the only gameplay in this title. It is essentially a choose-you-own-adventure story.
However, for a free-to-play game, it is well put together. The entire thing is fully voice acted and has background music, a haunting piano score to help build an atmosphere of suspense. The mechanic of making choices also is occasionally timed, in that if you don’t make a decision quickly – that is reflected by your character failing to act in the game.
The game does have multiple endings, depending upon the choices that you make, giving it a bit of repeatability. The music is well done and the voice acting is competent. The background art in particular also does a good job at setting a suspenseful atmosphere of a dark lake shrouded in fog.
Visual novel games are not for everyone. But, if interactive story telling is something that you enjoy, then it may be worth checking out this free title. It is available on Steam here, and at the time of this writing has a very positive review score on that platform. Alternatively, you can download it from Itch.io here.