‘Mail Time’ Is About to Be Your New Cozy Game Obsession
Independent game developer Kela van der Deijl and publisher Freedom Games just released Mail Time on Steam for PC and Mac, and it’s about to be your new cozy game obsession.
After creating a character with dozens of customization combinations, choosing your pronouns (he/him, she/her, or they/them), and giving your character a name, you meet Janet, your boss, who gives you your first official assignment as a newly minted Mail Scout: deliver a stamped letter to Greg.
Who’s Greg? Where does he live? You don’t know, and neither does Janet. To complete your first assignment, you and your trusty bee companion have to talk to the various animals (20 in total) who live in your neighborhood. Some of them know Greg and some of them don’t, but each of them has their own needs from you in your official duties as Mail Scout. Whether it’s delivering a letter from a secret admirer, handing off a noise complaint to an elderly man’s punk woodpecker neighbor, or helping to collect mushroom samples for a true connoisseur, there are plenty of things to do.
Similar to games like Animal Crossing and Ooblets, there’s no time limit to complete these quests. Even the former poses some risk of harm with its wasps, tarantulas, and scorpions, as well as the possibility of upsetting villagers if you stay away for too long or fail to deliver their gifts to each other during the same in-game day. In Mail Time, even that kind of time restriction is absent, and there is no risk of harm, even if you fall. This takes away the pressure to perform and provides a genuinely relaxing gameplay experience.
As you meet villagers, learn their stories, and collect their letters and packages for delivery, you’ll learn more about the game’s world and earn patches for your achievements. Each one upgrades your gliding ability, allowing you to reach new heights and fly for increasingly longer distances as you traverse the forest and surrounding area. If you get frustrated with a task, you can come back to it later or decide to skip it altogether, although staying determined (thank you, Undertale) makes each small victory taste that much sweeter.
The world of Mail Time is absolutely beautiful, with a wide array of foliage, bouncy mushrooms, a truly decadent picnic spread, a ladybug pen, unique homes including teapots and trees, and more. Each layer of the forest offers something new to see, and if you ever need a break from exploring, you can simply sit down and enjoy the sunshine.
There are also several accessibility settings that can be toggled in the game’s main menu. van der Deijl has a full checklist linked on the Mail Time website, which provides total transparency around implemented features, features that are still in development, and features that will be unavailable, with notes accompanying each list item. In the Steam version of Mail Time, you can alter the HUD, input sensitivity, camera settings, audio, and graphics. You can change your character’s pronouns at any time and you can set the game’s language to English, French, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, or simplified Chinese.
It’s no wonder Mail Time has amassed such a huge following in the last two years of development. It’s one of the coziest, most relaxing games I’ve played in a long time, and the cottagecore aesthetic is perfectly executed. It’s clear van der Deijl has poured extraordinary amounts of care into building this world, and it results in a truly remarkable gameplay experience that leaves me feeling as warm and satisfied as a bowl of my favorite soup with a side of crusty bread.
In addition to design, art, and coding by van der Deijl, Mail Time also features writing by Bloo van der Deijl, music by Gina Loughlin, and sound by Amerlyn Zeta.
Mail Time is currently available via Steam for PC and Mac for $19.99, but if you buy it before May 4, you can get it for a 20 percent discount. It will be available for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation at a later date, which has not been announced at the time of writing. For updates, visit the community Discord or follow van der Deijl on Twitter.
(featured image: Freedom Games)
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