Release Date: March 2021
How the mighty have fallen! How did Undercoders go from an enjoyable 2D Metroidvania/platformer (SuperEpic: The Entertainment War) to a frustrating, lackluster game?
Platformers are usually known for having simplistic stories and such is the case in Mail Mole. The main character Molty is on vacation, relaxing from delivering mail until he receives a letter from his cousin. He springs to action, answering the call of duty to help his relative with preparing for the upcoming festival. Little does he know trouble is afoot and he is in for quite an adventure.
Just like every platformer protagonist, Molty is armed with an arsenal of abilities such as a sprint, a dash, a short jump, a charged jump, a dive, and a ground pound. His digging skill is identical to Lucky’s from New Super Lucky’s Tale. Unlike the little fox however, Molty remains underground for the majority of the game. The only time he’s not underground is when he’s talking to NPCs or if he’s jumping out of the ground of his own accord.
The hub world contains cannons which act as transportation to far-off levels. As you progress through the game, a shop and a race pitstop are unlocked. The shop allows players to customise Molty in any way they see fit. Carrots are required to unlock the outfits and accessories and special items are unlocked by obtaining radishes. The race area is where a skunk named Scarlett challenges Molty to race against her MechaMoles. A Powercell is awarded to Molty should he win.
In my opinion the races should have been optional, not a necessity to advance to the final level as not every gamer is a speed runner. Of all the races in Mail Mole, the snowy level is the most challenging to win unless you master the dash technique. The closest I got to winning was second place and always right behind the yellow MechaMole.
Molty’s controls are fine for the most part, but when it comes to speed, this is where the controls fall apart. The instant the dash and sprint abilities are activated, his speed becomes unruly and uncontrollable. There are often times when I accidentally veer off course resulting in Molty’s death.
Despite the game’s overall charm, the characters are blank slates in terms of personality. Do you know what else is empty? The levels themselves–there aren’t really any enemies to fight other than the bosses and the same boss tends to show up if you’ve collected a certain amount of Powercells. The attack pattern from said boss is the same in every confrontation, albeit different obstacles, platforms, and switch placements.
What is inexcusable are the glitches like the one that caused the game to completely delete my save file, which happened after I watched the credits and returned to the main menu. It would have been better for players if there had been a manual save feature implemented.
I will say that I enjoyed the throwbacks and references to Crash Bandicoot and Sonic The Hedgehog. Heck, the final level in the volcanic world even had the name, “Gotta Go Fast”! Unfortunately though, the negatives do outweigh the positives and, since the game is marred with glitches, it doesn’t warrant a replay.
Final Verdict: 2/10
Words by Fiona Li
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