Indie game Mail Time is a cottagecore dream-come-true that TechRaptor had the pleasure of previewing ahead of the game's presence at Gamescom. Mail Time lets players create their own Mail Scout and deliver mail to the residents of Grumblewood Grove. Though the release date has not been announced, the Mail Time preview demonstrates just how much there is to look forward to once it's released.
Mail Time Preview Character Creator
One of the most striking aspects of Mail Time is its unique art style which we get to explore pretty immediately in the character creator. It's clear that the developer, Kela van der Deijl, took great care in crafting a system distinctly free of gender-specific items. There is a pronoun selector that players have the option of choosing from - she/her, he/him or they/them - but that's where gender signifiers start and stop.
Hairstyles are not categorized by "feminine" or "masculine," and are instead signified by adorable symbols such as insects or plants. Players will also be able to recreate any hair color or skin tone thanks to Mail Time's color selector sliders. Choosing to include color sliders is a great way to make sure everyone is represented from the very start of the game.
Mail Time Preview Gameplay
Mail Time is a 3D platformer that lets players run around a highly-stylized cottagecore world, Grumblewood Grove, to deliver mail to its residents. As you continue to deliver mail to various residents or collect items, you'll earn Mail Scout patches to commemorate your achievements. The main driver of the game, however, is its dialogue. Players must talk to specific residents to advance the main storyline of the game - delivering mail to someone named Greg, who hasn't been seen in a while so it's up to the Mail Scout to find him.
The NPCs of Grumblewood Grove are all adorable woodland creatures with their own stories and quests should players choose to interact with them. As players continue to explore areas, they'll stumble upon bottle caps that can be collected and given to a certain NPC to complete a quest. Choosing to collect or not collect these bottle caps won't affect the main storyline of Mail Time, but are instead a fun collect-a-thon aspect that players may enjoy searching for.
I was told that each map area would probably have six bottle caps to find - five of which would be regularly placed and one that would be difficult to reach. The "difficult" one shown in the preview was placed in a space that was once "out of bounds" and took some skill to maneuver to and collect. It also gave a new view of that specific section of Grumblewood Grove.
Exploration is undoubtedly the main focus of Mail Time, with players being able to glide through the air using a letter, bouncing on mushrooms to reach great heights, or wandering through hollow logs to find items. Checking out all of Grumblewood Grove gets even better when players realize they have a bee companion with them! The bee doesn't have any special abilities yet, firmly in the "emotional support bee" category, but will have some capabilities further down the line.
Mail Time is meant to be played at your own pace, with no timers rushing you to complete anything by a given time. It also doesn't have any fall damage so if players miss and end up falling back to the ground, they just need to brush themselves off and try again. Players will be able to finish the game at a general pace in about 6-8 hours but will have a total runtime into the teens if they want to complete all quests and collect all bottle caps.
Development is not complete for Mail Time, and it's currently up in the air how many sections of Grumblewood Grove there will be by the time the game is done, but it's clear that this mail delivery service has a lot of potential. Anyone who's a fan of cozy, cottagecore games should keep their eyes and ears peeled for updates about Mail Time because this is a game you don't want to miss.
TechRaptor previewed a hands-off demonstration of Mail Time on PC. It will be launching on Nintendo Switch and PC on a currently unannounced date.