When reviews were being passed around this past week, Post Master had come up and I was intrigued. I had just binged through a few playthroughs of Venture Towns and my interest in isometric simulation games was absolutely piqued. So, I booted up Post Master and after signing a EULA that promised I wouldn’t disassemble the game lest Excalibur Publishing take away my right to play it, I dove right in.
Now playing a game about running a postal service isn’t exactly the most stimulating thing to sign up for. However, as many other sims have proven, even the most mundane of tasks can be amusing as long as the developers take the right approach to it. With Excalibur’s track record stocked full of these quirky types of simulation games, let’s see how Post Master fares.
Post Master is built around the logistics of a privatized post service as it grows from a single location to a city wide operation. As your company grows, you’ll face competition against rival companies that will be looking to undercut your routes. This means your post offices across the city will have to operate to get the mail out to each location to ensure proper delivery and to ensure customer satisfaction.
So after running through 99 steps of tutorials, I came to figure out the subtle nuances of the user interface. If that seems like a lot of steps, well it is. This isn’t an overly complicated game. In fact, it is the lack of true depth that has left me a bit put off with it. The entire game is built around buying new properties and delivering mail. That is the beginning, middle and end of it all. You can choose the vehicles that run the routes, but it’s about little more than ensuring the efficiency of the post office. The only thing that really changes from post office to post office is the growth of the city around it and since post offices run in the same square grids, your options are all fairly limited.
That’s not to say there isn’t some appeal to Post Master. Managing the right routes to take to maximize efficiency is fine, but that’s all you are really doing. What this fails to do is bring in something to spice things up. You have criminals that can steal from you, but if you have a security guard and some extra stars lying around, it’ll just be an annoying little reminder that you weren’t wasting your money when you installed that guard. There is also an interesting specialty route that tasks you with combing the city for packages that can be picked up randomly for bonus stars, but unfortunately the notifications don’t show up on the fastest setting. Since this game works off a 24-hour schedule, fast tracking is a big deal.
In fact, that’s where this game really struggles. You can plan a route, plan your day out while paused. Then you have 24 hours. You can do it all mid game as well, but really this game is interesting on fast and stop. Any other setting just takes the interesting hours of your life away from you.
Post Master boils down to the basic foundations of what a decent simulation should have. It has some nice art, good ideas and a concept of how a simulation game should work. Except it doesn’t have the one thing that sets it a step above; the personality or the ability to grab your attention to keep this in the discussion. If you are indeed looking to conquer a metropolis via operating a fast growing delivery service, then Post Master should scratch that itch. Otherwise, the fact that this is the first simulation game I’ve picked up in a while that doesn’t leave me wanting to replay it, and leaves me with only one score to give it.
[+Nice Buildings] [+Solid Foundations] [-Uninteresting Goals] [-Overcomplicated UI] [-Repetitive]