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Mail Mole Review: Special Delivery

Rain and snow are less of a bother when you're underground

Mail Mole stars a legally distinct Monty Mole on his quest to do things that have literally nothing to do with the postal service. Not even thematically. You show up to this town and they tell you to go get their stolen power cells, because apparently that's a postal task in this universe. Everything is called a delivery, but you only deliver something in the final mission.

What have we delivered? Nobody knows

Thematic confusion aside, it's a smashup of all sorts of recent 3D platformers. There's some SM3DW-esque level design, some "running at the camera" scenes from Crash, and so on. Your moveset takes some getting used to, because your jump height is determined by how long you've held down jump. If you immediately release, you do a tiny little jump, but you do a huge one if you've held down for about half a second. Pressing dash when you land causes you to go super fast for a few seconds, which is useful since regular dashing is still pretty slow. That means the fastest movement technique is short jumps combined with dash landings. It's hard to control, but satisfying.

Mail Moles can dig in wood, I guess

Level design similarly takes time to come in to its own. The opening levels can feel derivative, especially since the game is never very pretty to look at and the environments are generic. Eventually, though, it starts introducing new hazards that really interact well with its movement mechanics. There are races against bots (effectively ghosts) as well. Some of those are more frustrating than fun, but others are cool ways to get more out of a level. For completionists, each level has three radishes you can find and three medals for completing under a certain time limit. I didn't go out of my way for those because there's no in-game reward.

Mail Mole isn't going to blow anyone away, and honestly, I probably won't remember it in a few months. It's so low budget that almost the entire soundtrack is free Kevin MacLeod music and the characters are barely animated. But, despite being short, not remarkably original, and using a lot of barebones assets, I still had fun with it. I don't think anyone needs to actively seek this out, but if you're looking for a decent platformer you can knock out in an afternoon, you can do much worse than this.

Time to beat: 4 hours

Platform: PC, also available on everything

MSRP: $14.99

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