Mail Mole review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Undergames
Developer: Undercoders
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

There?s an intriguing mechanic at the heart of Mail Mole: it?s a 3D platformer where you can?t actually see your character, at least for the most part. As the name suggests, you play as a mole, which means you spend nearly all your time burrowing through the ground, only popping up when you have to jump over an obstacle.

Of course, it doesn?t take long before you realize that this basically means you?re mostly getting a tour of various environments, and not a whole lot of action.

This is unfortunate for a pair of reasons. First, the game isn?t visually interesting enough to warrant what basically amounts to tours of a bunch of levels. While Mail Mole is by no means an ugly game, it?s also not all that memorable in the looks department, which means that getting a long look at its worlds probably won?t do all that much for you.

Secondly, the little action that the game does feature is kind of dull, and not very well-executed. As noted above, the game?s hero, Molty Mole, can jump out of the ground, except his jumps aren?t very precise, and they don?t translate that well to jumping across gaps — which is a major problem, seeing as we?re talking about a platformer. While you can mostly overlook the control issues early on, as the game progresses and the levels get more difficult, you really start to wish you weren?t relying on a finicky jumping system in order to make some leaps that require decent speed and solid timing.

Further, there aren?t too many actual enemies here, which means most of your time in Mail Mole is dodging environmental hazards. Even accounting for the different hazards to be found in each world, it still doesn?t make for the most interesting game.

The weird thing is, even though I?ve been fairly down on pretty much everything about Mail Mole, I can?t say I disliked it all that much. I wouldn?t say I loved it or anything, but once I got used to the wonky jumping, I found myself kind of invested. The characters may be as bland as the forgettable worlds, and the platforming may not be great, but the game still has an indescribable charm.

Maybe this all comes down to the fact that it?s a pretty novel approach to a platformer? As I said up top, it?s intriguing, if nothing else. Probably not intriguing enough to sustain a whole game, but there are still some interesting ideas to be found in Mail Mole that make it worth your time if you feel like taking a bit of a risk.

Undergames provided us with a Mail Mole Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-