When I first read through a bunch of the pitches before voting, Black Lake was one of the two that really caught my eye as something I was going to be excited to see get made so I could play. I intentionally left myself unaware of a lot of the development process so that when I got the prototype, so that it would be completely fresh for me without too much preconception of what to expect.
That being said. After playing all 5 prototypes, Black Lake stands on top of them all. Not only does it seem to be the most polished, but as another poster mentioned, it just feels like it is already a complete story in of itself.
The camera angle and movement, while at first was a little foreign, became a welcome change by being not only simple, but effective at allowing the player to see, there were a few moments were the foreground became cluttered from trees or ferns being in the way, but that was rare and in no way ruined my experience.
The sound assets and lighting for this game were amazing, the sound of bramble foxes creeping around in the dark, seeing their eyes glowing in the distance as they moved closer and closer. This games sound and lighting made such an interesting atmosphere where at times, I would hesitate to move forward due to some of the sounds and not wanting to be seen or killed.
Following the tracks and scent trails and finding the clues that were left behind were very interesting, and with all the space that was available to move around in, I found myself not only losing the trail at times and having to backtrack, but also pushing deeper off the path to find the extra clues that were laying around, and I doubt I was able to find them all my first go.
The only negatives as far as I could think of, aren't actually negatives in my eyes, because as we know, two weeks is not a lot of time, and some concepts may have been simplified for the prototype due to time constraints. The only things I would personally like to see in a more expansive version of this would be:
1. A little more dynamic between using the lantern and remaining in the dark. I ended up not using the lantern all too much as, not only did it lure the bramble foxes in, but most of the trails were unable to be seen in the light.
2. The accordian playing get expanded, as was mentioned above being similar to Link's ocarina, where you learn lullabys and other songs to use on different animals/dreams.
3. Not sure how a full version would be thought out, but I think an open world style would be great for a full version where you move into the forest and stumble upon random trails of animals to follow.
That is about all I can think of, but all in all, due to the sheer amazing quality of this prototype, I am hoping that this is able to get picked up and brought out in full.
Levi and team. Thank you so much for all your work!