Developer: LCB Game Studio
Publisher: Chorus Worldwide
Genre: Visual Novel
Reviewed For: Nintendo Switch
Also Available On: PC, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
One of the most pleasant surprises from last year’s impressive slate of visual novels was Mothmen 1966, a pulpy horror masterpiece that made the most out of its short experience. Now LCB Game Studio is back with the second standalone game in the series, Varney Lake.
While Mothmen 1966 focused on darkness and everyone’s favorite cryptid, Varney Lake is a hot, summer tale with a vampire encounter. The vibe is different here, and while there are still plenty of horrors, Varney Lake almost feels like a coming-of-age story. Players take on the role of a paranormal investigator that looks into the story of three children who ran into a vampire. Players will get to know all four characters quite well in this tightly told narrative with many decisions.
Those who enjoyed Mothmen 1966 will find themselves catching characters and motifs in Varney Lake. This is a self-contained game, which makes it accessible to newcomers, but it feels like LCB Game Studio is building something that will surely reward longtime players. There are even hints of the next entry in the form of a small demo at the end of Varney Lake.
Like Mothmen 1966, Varney Lake has some impeccable presentation. The 80’s home computer graphics will pull players into another era of gaming. Even better, the presentation suits the narrative well. This is a game that looks and feels like a retro game, yet it doesn’t suffer from the clunky mechanisms of the past. Everything from the “pixel-pulp” graphics to the campy story works in Varney Lake. It’s a nice reminder of what things used to be while holding on to modern-day gaming trends for the best quality of life possible.
Like its predecessor, Varney Lake is short but sweet. It won’t scare the pants off of anyone, but the tension is palpable and the mystery is engaging. It’s full of subtle scares that are unnerving. Any fan of the genre won’t be disappointed by Varney Lake, but it is highly recommended that players dive into Mothmen 1966 first to fully appreciate the direction that this series is going.
Varney Lake is another strong showing for LCB Game Studio. Any fan of horror or visual novels will enjoy this one.