Engine - AGS
Suitability Factors - One use of strong language
Earlier in the year...ok fair enough, ALOT earlier in the year, I reviewed a Reality-On-The-Norm game. I also revealed that I would be reviewing another game in the series - well, for those people who haven't yet lost faith (and those who have)...here it is...finally!
The Postman Only Dies Once (from hereon referred to as 'The Postman') is the seventh canon game in the series. If you're new to the RON series and would like an explanation as to what this means, please go here, to read my review of RON: The Repossessor.
Like The Repossessor, The Postman was made by Dave Gilbert.
In this episode of RON, the player takes control of the town's out of luck private investigator, Max Griff. Upon hearing a commotion in the streets, he rushes out of his office only to find the local postman lying dead on the floor. Stood next to the corpse is Michael Gower, the undead mayoral candidate. Mr Gower strangely has nothing to say for himself, and with the sheriff quickly on the scene to arrest him, it appears that the case has been swiftly sewn up. That is until Max receives a visit from local journalist Mika Huy. She offers to hire him to investigate the case - but intent on getting a big news story, this is under the condition that she is allowed to help out.
The story is a little thin on the ground however the offbeat humour of the RON universe carries it through. The writing is very good and does a good job of creating a private investigator type atmosphere.
Despite this, some may be disappointed that The Postman doesn't really make the player feel like a private investigator. Perhaps not everyone will agree but I don't think this is as important as it would be in other games. As I mentioned in my previous RON review, the games in this series are all about the characters, and The Postman doesn't let its players down in this respect. The residents of RON are as strange as ever and it is they more than anything else that are responsible for the immersion the game provides.
Whether you agree with the above statements or not, chances are if you're a fan of the atmosphere created in other RON games then you'll most probably like the atmosphere of this game too.
An area that may detract from the atmosphere however is the sometimes mundane backgrounds, although having not been privy to the deluxe treatment that The Repossessor benefited from, this is to be expected. They're certainly not bad, just a little simple and sparse.
The choices of music are pretty good although the change in track for every location might be a little off-putting.
The player's first goal is to interview witnesses (or potential suspects). These enquiries can be conducted in any order and this non-linearity is a nice touch.
As already touched upon, some people may feel letdown by the small amount of detective work the game actually entails. Although not vital for the atmosphere of the game, I think a few puzzles involving some deductive reasoning would have added to the quality of the gameplay.
As it is, most puzzles are of the standard inventory variety. All are solvable but may provide the player with a degree of challenge in terms of slightly lateral thinking.
The game is of medium length and although my recent replay seemed over quite quickly, I seem to recall the overall playtime to be quite abit longer first time round, perhaps because of the aforementioned lateral thinking that was needed.
Of the RON games I've played thus far, there is no doubt that this is one of those which fans of the series should definitely make time to play. It's story is perhaps slightly more serious than others in the series however it is the crazy RON characters and humour that really shine through. Although it will help for players to have played the earlier games, anyone who enjoys a good old fashioned point and click game should enjoy this. It's interesting characters and offbeat humour easily make up for the lack of any real sleuthing.
- Further great use of RON characters
- Great cameo by the 'The Crazy Homeless Weirdo'
- Well written dialogue
- Perhaps could have given the player more private investigative tasks to perform
- Backgrounds a little bland
If you like this, try;
- Other RON games
Download for free;
Reality-On-The-Norm: The Postman Only Dies Once