Mail Mole

Mail Mole isn’t a bad game, but its biggest design decision, its whole gimmick, is just really baffling. This is a 3D platformer where you play as a mole who spends 90% of the game underground. You only pop out of the ground when you jump. This feels so backwards to me, though. Part of the charm of any 3D platformer is to see your character running about, so why hide him underground like this? In fact, why bother “rewarding” the player with different costumes if you rarely get to see those costumes in action? And yeah, I get that this is a mole, and moles like to be underground, but any other 3D platformer would have made “going underground” a usable skill to help you solve puzzles or avoid obstacles. In any other 3D platformer, going underground would be like “ducking,” but in Mail Mole, things can still hit you when you’re in this underground state. The only way to avoid spikes, etc. is to jump out and over them.

Jumping is another odd choice that Mail Mole makes. You can tap to jump, but this default jump is so weak and small that you’ll rarely find it useful. To really jump, you have to hold the jump button for half a second first to power up. Again, any other 3D platformer would base the height of your jump on how long you’re actively holding the button down. I realize it sounds like I’m penalizing Mail Mole for trying to be different, but it’s breaking conventions without providing a good reason to do so. These backwards mechanics only work in the levels that are more speed-driven, where you’re either fleeing a rolling obstacle or being propelled forward by zip pads. Had the game been purely this style of gameplay, it would have been fine. But the slower-paced, find-the-secrets type levels just don’t feel right when your character keeps trying to reinvent the 3D platformer for the worse.

Reviewer

Clark
Gamer, programmer, writer, and educator.

Published by

Clark

Gamer, programmer, writer, and educator.