Varney Lake review

2024-01-04 by Callum Andrews

  • Reviewed on

  • Platforms

    Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4,PC , Xbox Series X/S, Mac OS, Playstation 5

  • Developer
    LCB Games Studio

  • Publisher
    Chorus Worldwide

I've seen this before

Continuing my journey with the "Pixel Pulp" games, the next game in line is Varney Lake. It's another visual novel with the developer LCB Games Studio, who brought us the previously reviewed Mothmen 1966. In this outing, we will familiarise ourselves with a group of three friends together with other characters. Additionally, we will become familiar once more with various personalities from the previous game.

Varney Lake follows the story of Doug, Jimmy and Christine. Who are spending their fourth summer together. Finding various ways to spend their summer days, they go fishing, watch movies at the local drive-in and save a vampire from the scorching summer sun. The story takes place in two time periods. One in 1954 around Varney Lake where the friends are spending their summer vacation. The other being in 1981 in a diner somewhere in the U.S where we reacquaint ourselves with the writer Lou Hill whom we last met in Mothemen 1966. However, Lou won't be the only character making an appearance from that game. Lou is doing some research for his new book and this involves interviewing Jimmy and Christine who by now are grown adults.

Old souls

The game unfolds very much like a visual novel should with a couple of puzzle segments thrown in. Gone are the game events from the previous game in which you needed to make a sequence of choices that decided whether you could continue or not. Even if the puzzles seem too difficult or too tedious they are not mandatory and they are very much skippable. However considering that the game has several endings, completing them might prove to be useful in case you decided to skip them in a previous playthrough.

While I did enjoy this game's writing a bit more than the previous ones. There was one thing that kept gnawing on my mind once I finished the story. I believe that getting kids' characters right in any form of media is pretty hard. Why? Because, usually it's an adult that is trying to convey thoughts, mannerisms and ways of conversing from a kid's standpoint. Which I believe to be practically impossible. To me, Doug, Christine and Jimmy seemed to be way more mature than they had any right to be considering the age they were. Sure, the things they did might be considered regular things teens do. But, it was their thoughts that struck me as if they were coming more from a grown person's mind than a mere teen's.

One thing that's almost a requirement for this game is the necessity to play the previous game in the "Pixel Pulp" series. During the sections in the game that take place in 1981 some mentions and characters that are featured in Mothmen 1966 are thrown straight into this game's narrative. A lot of context might be lost to players that aren't familiar with the events or characters from that game considering that there is no introduction made for these characters. Not even Lou gets a proper introduction, who takes a big part in this narrative. You will still be able to follow along with the main story however I believe that this will leave a lot of people scratching their heads wondering who some of these characters are and how they relate to the story.

Making more with less

The game's visuals are still very much reminiscent of that 80's aesthetic feel. This time though the artist played around with a bit more colours considering there are events taking place during summer and during the day as opposed to the previous game where all the events took place during the night. So there's more brighter colours at play here than the first time around. There isn't as much music here as previously but when it does appear it adds to the dramatic effect the game is trying to convey at each specific moment.

I don't know why this story appealed to me more than Mothmen 1966 which had more of a unique story than this one did. Maybe it was themes that the story covered and that it wasn't as dark as the previous game. In any event, it's a follow-up that's well worth checking out and I can't wait to see what LCB Games Studio has in store for the next installment in their "Pixel Pulp" series.


Another curve ball from LCB Games Studio who bring us yet another unique outing in their "Pixel Pulp" series that is well worth following through to the end.