Mail Time – Review
Follow Genre: Open world adventure
Developer: Appelmoes Games
Publisher: Freedom Games
Platforms: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5
Tested on: Switch

Mail Time – Review

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Good: Gorgeous aesthetics
Bad: Not enough content for the price point
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With fall in full swing, it’s a wonderful time to get some cozy gaming in. It’s the ideal time for spending a rainy Sunday afternoon on your couch, curled up in a blanket, and with your hot beverage of choice. Mail Time, from Appelmoes Games, might just be the perfect game for this, at least at first glance. Aesthetically, it captures the feeling of fall pretty darn well, and with the wholesome atmosphere it evokes, it might just be the perfect antithesis for a dreary day. Armed with a nice cup of tea, we gave Mail Time a spin to find out if this is a special delivery you’d want to see in your mailbox or if it should be returned to the sender instead.


Set in a forest inhabited by adorable woodland critters, Mail Time puts you in the role of a mail scout in training. Mail scouts are tiny humanoid creatures that wear mushroom caps as hats, not unlike gnomes. Today is the day of your final test: if you can make a successful first delivery all by yourself, you can officially call yourself a full-fledged mail scout. For your self-insert character, this is serious business, as they have worked hard to get to this point. Completing the delivery is a bigger challenge than you’d expect. With only a name to go by, your gnome avatar will have to find the recipient by talking to the forest’s inhabitants and asking around. Their clues to the whereabouts of your recipient come at a cost, however. Pretty much everyone you talk to is dealing with a problem of sorts, and as a friendly and dedicated mail scout, you’re more than happy to go out of your way to help them if it means getting that delivery where it needs to be.

The premise is very simple, so it helps that Mail Time’s dialogue is so well-written. The characters ooze personality, from a wannabe sports idol turtle, who is disappointed that you don’t ask for his autograph to a purple cat named Kiki, who is the closest thing that Mail Time has to a villain: Kiki is a greedy landlord. Even so, beneath the grumpy personality of this cat beats a kind heart. Everything about Mail Time’s narrative is wholesome, with simple conflicts that are easily resolved.


The adorable hand-drawn art style is without a doubt Mail Time’s most defining element. The clear highlights are the expressive character portraits shown during dialogue, although the 3D models and varied environments look great as well. The game performs well enough on Switch, with no noticeable frame drops or stutter, although there is some occasional clipping going on. Particularly of note is the character creator. While this feels rather limited compared to high-end games, offering only a specific number of presets, it does a more than adequate job. According to the developer, there are still 44 million possible combinations when keeping all the different color schemes in mind, and having presets means that your character portrait in dialogue will match your custom mail scout design as well.


Unfortunately, there is no voice acting present. Given how expressive the cast is in writing, this feels like a missed opportunity. Fortunately, the cheerful music does make up for this somewhat, with a variety of whimsical instrumental tunes that evoke a sense of light-heartedness. These change depending on which part of the world you find yourself in. Rounding things out are ambient sound effects, including bird whistles, and these do help in bringing the world to life.


‘Open world adventure’ probably isn’t the genre that immediately pops into your head when you look at Mail Time’s aesthetics, but in essence, this is what you’re getting here, albeit a very watered-down version. Your main goal is to get your official letter delivered so that you can graduate from the Mail Scout Academy, but to do so, you’ll need to gather clues from the forest’s inhabitants. With these, you should be able to piece together the identity and whereabouts of your “target”, so to speak. Each of the NPCs has a request of their own before they spill the beans, and you’re more than eager to prove your worth as a mail scout by helping them out.

This is where cracks begin to show, however. Mail Time drops the ball when it comes to side quests, as every single one of these is just a simple fetch quest. There are no puzzles or minigames to be found here. You simply talk to a character and they’ll ask you to find items or deliver a message to another character. If it wasn’t for the utterly charming atmosphere of the game, Mail Time would be a very dull affair. We’d go as far as to say that this is one of the most egregious examples of style over substance that we’ve ever seen. Granted, Mail Time does try to break up the tedium of its main story by adding small side objectives that you can complete at your leisure, but even these are mostly more fetch quests or variants of this, like collecting trash from the environment. You earn a badge for these, and filling up your scrapbook with every badge is your secondary goal. You can earn badges by talking to everyone or gliding for a specific number of seconds, to name a few examples. Any badges you earn can be used to upgrade your glider, although this is a slightly hidden feature as it is never explained in the game itself that you can do this, and we stumbled upon this by accident.

Speaking of gliding, this is one of your main ways of getting around the forest. Your mail scout can perform a double jump as well as soar through the skies by holding down the B button after jumping. Mail Time’s world isn’t massive in terms of surface, but there is a lot of verticality here as well. You’ll be jumping on mushrooms to reach rope bridges, then use these as a starting point to soar to harder-to-reach areas. Navigating the forest is the most challenging aspect of Mail Time and not necessarily by design. Jumping can sometimes feel wildly inaccurate as you may bump into scenery. At one point we even got stuck, forcing us to restart. Fortunately, Mail Time autosaves quite frequently, so we didn’t lose a lot of progress but this shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Another slightly frustrating aspect of Mail Time is that there is no in-game map. Sure, the world isn’t very big, but you can still get lost. It also would help tremendously if there was some way to indicate the location of characters you’ve met previously when you need to return to them. A lot of your time in the game will be spent aimlessly running, jumping, or gliding around and trying to figure out where to go next. Granted, exploration is a key aspect, as one of the side quests involves collecting various types of mushrooms, which can subsequently be turned into hats, and the best way to find them all is to simply stumble into these. Still, an in-game map is the thing we’d want to see implemented the most here, even more so than fixing some of the minor glitches affecting jumping or getting stuck in the environment. You can tackle Mail Time at your leisure, but all in all the game can easily be completed in a single sitting, even when playing at a snail’s pace. It took us roughly two hours, so Mail Time doesn’t overstay its welcome. We don’t mind how short the game is, although this does make the €20 price tag difficult to swallow. Mail Time is severely lacking in replay value as well.


We were definitely enamored by both Mail Time’s aesthetics and the wonderful dialogue, but the game didn’t quite meet our expectations when it came to actual gameplay. There simply isn’t enough content here to justify the price, and what’s present in terms of mechanics is bland and lacking in variety. Add to this that navigation can be frustrating, due to the lack of an in-game map and minor glitches, and you’ve got a title that didn’t quite meet our expectations. There is only so much that can be compensated with a sense of whimsy and wholesomeness. If Mail Time is ever on sale, it might be worth looking into, but at full price, this is an easy pass. That’s not to say that Mail Time is necessarily a bad game, but there just isn’t enough content here to warrant picking it up without a discount.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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