Publisher: Whitethorn Digital
Release Date: 09/01/2021
Also Available On
Have you ever wanted to play a game where you are a mail delivery woman? The answer is probably, “I have no clue”, but you’re going to find out with this game. You play as Meredith Weiss, a computer programmer who lives in the big city and decides to go back home to the sleepy town of Providence Oaks, Oregon to help out with her dad’s mail route so her parents can go on vacation. You spend two weeks in this town and the bulk of the game is mail delivery, but there are also story choices here that decide your relationships with various townsfolk.
You start the game out with a little back story. Your mail co-worker, Frank, picks you up from the airport and drops you off at your parents’ house. You then start your delivery the next day. This is actually quite fun at first. You drive your mail truck around the small town and drop off mail at mailboxes and packages at doors. You get a map with envelope icons for mail and box icons for packages. It’s not too hard to figure out as there are very few roads and you can’t get lost. There are certain landmarks in which story characters reside such as Mo’s Diner, Kay’s house (childhood best friend that you lost contact with), a lumberjack who is trying to prevent corporate apartments from being built, a potato farmer, a teenage mechanic, a general store owner, a movie rental store owner, and you get to decide what your relationship is with these people. You can fall in love with them, ignore them, or just stay neutral. This is a story about everyday life, and while the characters aren’t very interesting, the overall bigger picture of small-town life is what can drive you in.
After the first day of mail delivery, the game becomes mundane and dull very fast. While the town looks nice to drive around in you just drive around one big circle along the lake, maybe a few side roads for rural houses, and it’s just stopping the mail truck, getting own, going to the back, picking the correct package, and back in the truck. The same four songs repeat forever on the radio and having to do this for 12 days just gets so tedious. It’s literally filler to create a “game” in between the story choices. The delivery thing doesn’t add anything to the story at all. You could cut all that gameplay out and just have an interactive novel and it would probably be a bit better so the developer could focus more on character development. The characters do stand out and all have a unique personalities, but they don’t have enough screen time to really fill out.
Every choice leads up to an open mic night at the diner and your choices up until this point carry out. You also get to decide whether to stay in the town and keep delivering mail, go run away with someone, or go back to the city life and make money. I do commend the developers for capturing the small Pacific Northwest lifestyle. My mother lives in a small town in Oregon and I also live in the PNW and just love games that capture the feeling up here. Lots of rain, beautiful scenery, and small lifestyles in the rural areas. The game looks pretty too, but not technically speaking. Lots of low-resolution textures and models, but the lighting and detail are really nice, but after the first hour, you just see the same scenery on repeat. You spend maybe 3-4 hours in that mail truck trying to pick the most efficient route to the dozen or so people you deliver to daily. The world is devoid of life outside of mindless NPCs that drive around or walk the streets. The town just feels dead and not alive at all.
Overall, you’re not missing anything by not playing this game. The mail delivery mechanics are unique and new, but they aren’t fleshed out enough to stay interesting. The town is too small for a gameplay loop like this and there needs to be more variety to the 12 days of mundane mail delivery. While the characters do have unique personalities I didn’t care about them enough to really let my choices sink in. There’s just not enough screen time with them. Just as they start to blossom the game ends despite the number of choices available to weave your own path. The game does capture the sleepy rural PNW feeling, but the small area is just devoid of any life.