Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan finds himself mesmerized by the nostalgic throwbacks in Varney Lake, the second visual novel in a series inspired by mid-20th century pulp fiction and ‘80s home computer graphics from developer LCB Games Studio and publisher Chorus Worldwide.
As a follow-up to Mothmen 1966, Varney Lake is a mystery game spanning decades as three friends untangle the mystery of their harrowing encounter during what should have been an idyllic vacation during their childhood. But the memory of the vampire they met, and all that transpired, haunts them well into adulthood. The interactive adventure draws the reader in with puzzles and a branching narrative, deeper into the mysteries penned by novelist Nico Saraintaris and artist Fernando Martinez Ruppel.
I’m not a huge replayer of games in general, but I have re-read Varney Lake at least three times by this point. Partly I’m trying to see different outcomes and unlock different hidden scenes. Partly I am trying to understand the true spine of the narrative that runs through the game. But really I am drawn back to explore the boundaries of the 1954 sections, where there’s a tale of three friends who meet a vampire, sure, but also so much else. There’s a sense of Peanuts to proceedings, weirdly enough. You might choose to lay on your backs on the grass and spot shapes in the cloud – a classic Peanuts riff, and a classic moment of disappointment for Charlie Brown, who sees a ducky and a horsey while Linus sees the Pilgrim arriving in the new world or some such.
Read the full article here. Varney Lake is available now on Steam, Switch, PS4, PS5 and Xbox. For more information, join LCB Game Studio’s Discord, follow LCB Game Studio and Chorus Worldwide on Twitter, check out the PC demo on the official Varney Lake Steam page, and visit Chorus Worldwide’s website.