I always look forward to when a new 3D platformer game comes out. They are a rare breed nowadays, which is a shame because when I was growing up, they were the genre of choice my younger self would gravitate towards.
Truth be told, Mail Mole is by no means perfect. This isn’t too surprising as this is the first game from Talpa Games, a new studio formed by a bunch of recent university graduates. That being said, Mail Mole provides a gaming experience with far more ups than downs and is certainly worth a look into if you’re missing a good-old 3D platformer.
You take on the role of Molty the delivery mole who is enjoying a well-deserved break on Coconut Island. Suddenly, Molty receives a letter from his cousin, asking him for help in Carrortland. Molty doesn’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill and immediately calls his holiday short. He soon discovers the town is suffering a power outage, and our hero wastes no time in setting out to reboot all the power stations.
Mail Mole is a bit odd as there are no enemies within the levels. But that doesn’t mean there are no challenges to overcome. As our mole-hero burrows underground, you’ll have to avoid many environmental obstacles such as spikes and gigantic holes. To get past these barriers, you will have to jump out of the underground passage just at the right moment to dodge these dangers. This will not be the only thing standing in your way, as you’ll have to get past boxes that will block your path. To get rid of these boxes, you can either perform a short dash or use a ground-pound to destroy them to smithereens.
The boss battles are the only time you will go head-to-head with an opponent, which involves going against another member of the animal kingdom. Not to give too much away, but the boss battles are a bit on the repetitive side. Luckily, it will not take too long to learn their movements and patterns to anticipate their actions, allowing you to quickly retaliate and finish your foe.
The simplicity of these mechanics makes the game newcomer friendly. However, if you’re someone craving a bit of a challenge and don’t want to deliver mail at a snail pace, then you can attempt to go as fast as you can against the clock. These runs can earn you a bronze, silver, or gold medal. When I took a stab at collecting several medals myself, I was surprised at how hard some of them were. Some runs will require you to achieve a time of under a minute. This can be particularly tricky, as the game heavily relies on you mastering your movements at precisely the right time to cut corners and dodge certain obstacles. The key to success is a combination of knowing what route you need to take to optimise your run and what manoeuvres you need to perform.
The speed runs are not the only activities that you can do, as I also found myself often going back to previous levels on the hunt for carrots and radishes. These root vegetables (other than being one of your five a day) can be used as currency. They can be spent on numerous clothing goodies from the shop located within the hub world. This was a personal highlight, as it had a nice selection of items to browse through, ranging from sleek glasses, oversized mailbags and swanky hats. There was just something about picking an outfit that made me far more attached to our little hero than I would have otherwise been.
Several activities can also be found in the hub world. Regretfully, it didn’t seem to matter, as the hub world as a whole felt very bland and barren. I appreciate the fact the more you progress throughout the game, the more access you can gain to the hub world. However, it didn’t really seem to add any real depth or value. If it wasn’t for my window shopping trips spent looking at stylish hats, the hub world would not have offered much.
The only other useful thing that can be found in the hub world are the cannons. Cannons are the gateways to accessing levels and are dotted all around the hub world. Once you have selected which cannon and level you would like to challenge, our mole-hero is then shot out of the cannon in a very amusing animation (even though I am sure PETA would have something to say about shooting little animals out of a cannon…)
On the presentation side, the world is beaming with colourful visuals that really make some of the levels pop out. So, it was even more of a shame that the first few levels I travelled through were slightly on the plainer side. It does improve later, with some of the levels providing some entertaining and creative level designs, but it did make the beginning levels of the game stick out as a little dull and lacklustre. Another small nit-pick is the soundtrack is a bit wearisome. There isn’t much variety in the music department, with the songs often on a continuous loop, which made grinding for those elusive medals a bit more tiresome.
Was my time with Mail Mole a prime delivery? It might not have provided anything out of the ordinary when it comes to 3D platforming, but my time with the game was well spent. There is no denying the game has several shortcomings, but nothing that dampens the experience to a detrimental level. Mail Mole delivers a great little package, even if it has a few scratches on the outside. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time we see this little mole.
Mail Mole PS5, PS4 Review
- Overall - Very Good - 7.5/107.5/10
Mail Mole provides a fun 3D platforming experience. The game is easy to pick up and play, but plenty of time can be spent with in-game endeavours such as time trials and gaining new outfits.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using: PS5, PS4.