Mail Time is a simple title that follows a young mail delivery person as they embark upon their journey to deliver letters to friendly animals in a forested area. In the modern-day gaming market, it’s hard to come across titles where players get to step into the shoes of a mail delivery person, so this is a unique overall take.
The content in Mail Time's preview is very limited, but it does manage to showcase features that will be staples throughout the game. While it’s unclear if any further mechanics will be added to it, the ones already present are here to stay.
Mail Time: A mail delivery person, bouncy mushrooms, and letter gliders
The entire journey in Mail Time starts with you creating your own character. While the customization options are slightly limited at this point, you get to pick from your character's entire color scheme. Most importantly, this game allows you to choose your pronouns. Not many titles have this feature in the character creation menu.
Once you’ve created your character, you’re ready to embark on your Mail Time journey. Things start with you and your companion, Janet, traveling in a forest to deliver letters. The first letter that you will have to deliver is to a hedgehog. After a brief conversation with Janet, you get to explore the path until you reach Barb, the hedgehog.
As I made my way through the forest, I came across several animals who had us deliver letters. These animals also serve as markers, but more on that in a bit.
While talking to the animals, you will be introduced to the two basic mechanics of the game: jumping and gliding. Jumping is a mechanic that has been a part of many titles since the inception of the gaming industry. The gliding mechanic, however, is rather interesting.
If you press and hold the jump button, your character will whip out a letter and use it as a glider. It's a quicker way of traveling, but only when you’re going downhill.
At any given point, you will always have a letter on your person. I never came across a situation where I didn’t have a letter on me. Thus, it’s hard to tell if you will be able to glide when you don’t have a letter with you.
Minimalistic HUD: A job well done
When it comes to the HUD in Mail Time, there’s very little on the screen. The number of letters you have shows up in the bottom-right corner, and that’s about it. There is no health bar either, so the question of taking any sort of damage can also be eliminated.
Moreover, you will be followed by your trusted bee friend. We’re not sure if it’s associated with any in-game mechanic. However, there should be some sort of involvement once the full game goes live. For now, it is just a follower that loves buzzing around behind you. Additionally, having this creature act as an objective tracker is helpful since there’s no map in the game.
This brings me to the animals. I came across a decent number of animals on my way to Barb. At first, we thought of skipping the overall conversation and making our way to the hedgehog directly.
However, Janet very vaguely mentions where to find Barb, so I had to talk to all the NPCs in the hope of figuring out where the hedgehog could potentially be.
Throughout the conversation, you will receive letters that you will have to deliver to animals that you come across on your journey. You must keep talking to these NPCs until someone finally tells you where to find Barb.
Now, here’s the confusing part. All NPCs have a small exclamation mark on their heads. However, if they have a quest for you, the marker above their heads will sport three exclamation marks. It did take me a while to figure this out, and it can be confusing for most players.
You do have a journal that helps you keep track of the deliveries you need to make, but even that doesn’t tell you where to find which character.
I finally managed to get hold of Barb, who was standing on top of a tree. I had to go through a minor jumping puzzle to reach them. When I did, they handed me yet another delivery meant for Greg, and that is where the preview ends.
When it comes to overall game design and character design, Mail Time is a very simple title. The aesthetics are pleasing to the eye, and the characters look like they’re out of a child’s storybook. The title has a storyline, which will be available in its full version, but the overall objective remains the same: collecting and delivering items.
Mail Time is developed by solo developer Kela van der Deijl and published by Freedom Games. The title will be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Steam. It is set to be released in April 2023.
Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the opinions of the writer