Postmouse – An Adorable, Free, Student-Made Platformer

Postmouse - Key Art

“The second mouse gets the cheese!” – Terry Pratchett

Overview

Postmouse is a short, free, platforming adventure in which the player takes on the role of an adorable little mouse embarking on his first journey to deliver mail.

Developer: Critters Collective
Released: 30th January 2023
Price: Free

Platforms: Windows
Available on: Steam
Engine: Unreal Engine

Postmouse Screenshot - First Job

Gameplay

Postmouse sends the player on a number of mail delivery quests that involve platforming around a range of environments. The platforming itself is not overly challenging though it does get a bit trickier as the game progresses. At the start of the game run and jump are available, with extra abilities such as climbing lichen being introduced later on. It is also possible to enter an inspection mode in which objectives and other items that will aid progression are highlighted. There are a few light puzzle elements to add some variety as well as a much more demanding chase scene towards the end of the game. Things like camera angles and finicky controls add to the difficulty level here.

The minimum specifications listed on Steam are perhaps not accurate as even on a machine that exceeded them, and using the game’s lowest possible graphic settings there was an unhealthy amount of FPS inconsistency and headache-inducing screen tearing which greatly hindered enjoyment of the experience. Postmouse also boasts a hefty file size of nearly 10 GB for a game that can be completed in around an hour.

Postmouse Screenshot - The Map

Narrative and Styling

Postmouse begins with the cute protagonist being informed that one of the regular postal pigeons is missing and that they will need to fill in, starting with a delivery to Pablo the tortoise! This customer is just one of several delightful and curious side characters that the player meets throughout the game. The dialogue is fun and lighthearted for the most part but there are a few touching moments within the overall narrative.

The game has a detailed 3D art style with lots of texture and atmospheric lighting. The scenery is highly varied and ranges from natural to man-made and mechanical creating lots of visual interest. The sound design is lovely, and while the music is often absent, when it is present the soundtrack is varied and includes twee, jovial numbers as well as much more ominous tracks that are full of tension. The sound effects are plentiful and very immersive, featuring birds chirping, frogs croaking and the mechanical whirrs of cogs and devices.

Postmouse Screenshot - Not Pablo the Tortoise

Summary

Postmouse has a lot to offer for a short, free game and is very impressive for a student-made project but is not without its flaws. It could definitely benefit from some improved optimisation as well as some other minor tweaks to things such as the responsiveness of the controls, field of view and general camera angles. That being said, it offers a stunning aesthetic and some fun, (mostly) casual gameplay. Given the lack of cost and minimal time investment required it’s certainly worth a try for anyone looking for a more relaxing take on the platformer genre.

Looking for more free platformers? Take a look at these reviews:
The Navigator: Beautifully Stylistic Puzzle-Platformer – and it’s free!Avoid being ‘Left on Read’ in this Emotional, Free Game!Bee Gaming for Free with BirdGut

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