Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a little gnome delivering mail to the creatures of the forest? Me neither until I saw the trailer for Applemoes Games’ new adventure title Mail Time. Mail Time is a cottagecore platformer title that sees you playing as Olive, a new mail scout tasked with, well, delivering mail. A premise that, without context, can seem bland on paper. However, bland is nowhere near a proper descriptor for this wonderful indie title. Join me as I give you the rundown on my first day as a mail scout!
The premise is pretty straightforward in this title. You play as Olive, little mushroom hat-wearing gnome with a budding career as a mail scout. It’s your first day delivering mail in Grumblewood Grove and your boss, Janet, has asked you to deliver a letter to a mysterious fellow named Greg. With no address on the letter and no clue where to go, we are sent out into the forest to do our job and figure out where this Glen character is at.
The story to this adventure exceeded my expectations in the best of ways. Along your journey delivering mail between the other forest citizens you’ll end up involved in a secret operation, become an amateur mycologist, and help love blossom. With characters like an explosive-loving mole and a wood-carving punk woodpecker filling in its cast, it is an endearing short tale. Written by Bloo van der Deijl, the story in this game is very fitting, humorous, and unpredictable. The only complaint I have is I wish it went on for a little longer, but that’s less of a complaint; more of a compliment. I didn’t really want the story to end at all. I wanted to meet more of the forest’s citizens.
The gameplay is mostly your run of the mill platforming, but not to this game’s detriment. You’ll be climbing trees, gliding to cliffsides, and bouncing on bread and mushrooms quite frequently. With a game as cute as this, that never really got tiring in my time with it. And while it doesn’t rewrite the book, it doesn’t dissatisfy either. It sticks to what makes the genre what it is in the first place.
With collections to complete, obstacles to climb, and mail to deliver, the gameplay helps carry you between story beats in an accessible fashion. You aren’t rushed with timers or burdened by things like fall damage. With a focus on the aesthetic and story, this game is a nice break from my usual chaos of fighting and action titles. It felt like returning to the era of 3D platformers on the PS2 and GameCube, and I loved it.
Graphics and Sound
First off, I want to commend the development team for this wonderful visual and auditory experience. The entire aesthetic of this game is adorable and serene. With the animation-style visuals, it felt like I was playing through a cartoon from my childhood. From the color choices to character designs, the visual presentation just gave me that sense of warmth and comfort. It’s both fresh and nostalgic at the same time. Truly a piece of art in my opinion. The soundtrack is equally as enjoyable.
Every area in Grumblewood has its distinct theme song, each well-suited to its corresponding space. The first you encounter, a small neighborhood of trees, features a tune that captures the sense of wonder and adventure that awaits you. Meanwhile, the pond has a slower, more climactic sound, perfect for the place that harbors Swomp, the pyrotechnic rat. The entire soundtrack makes you feel as if you’re getting lost in a mystical forest. That’s spot on, in my opinion.
If you’re a fan of platformers, cute characters, cottagecore, or all three, Mail Time is worth a try. The entire team at Applemoes has crafted a great time. Perfect for when you just want to relax and occupy the mind with something peaceful yet interactive. I came into this game hoping for a change of pace and a break from the violence of Mortal Kombat, and I walked away with a bit more than that. Although the story felt a little shorter than I’d hoped, it’s already among my favorite indie games of this decade. With that being said, I’m going back to Grumblewood Grove to gather the last of my collectibles and hoping for a sequel!
- A fun, casual experience
- Cute, well written characters
- Strong nostalgia factor
- Easy to pick up
- Never wanted the story to end