Bottom Line: Postknight is the kind of low-intensity cute fest that mobile apps are stuck with, but if that’s the kind of timekiller you’re looking for there’s no reason to avoid it.
Played on: Android smartphone
Delivering the Basics
Postknight is essentially a game about managing a couple of cooldowns strategically while watching your health points. I suppose it’s also about delivering magical mail packages that manifest into full-sized furniture upon delivery, among other things. I think there’s options to romance NPC damsels as well, eventually. Overall it’s a simplistic auto-scroller that lets you make RPG choices in a bright and friendly environment. The reason I decided to downloaded it was to gauge where smartphone games were at these days, and although I’m not impressed, I can’t say there’s anything wrong with developers serving this very broad, shallow market.
The game starts linear, with somebody giving you a quest to deliver mail and your character automatically marching to the right side of the screen. It scrolls along and you can tap a button to do a charge attack, which has a short recovery time. The character also attacks on his own, and takes damage if the enemy isn’t dispatched quick enough. After you bash some wolves you’ll reach your first objective: a dude who’s going to help you deliver mail to the correct recipients. It turns out everyone fled the village because they heard a dragon was coming, but that wasn’t true, so now you have to go get them back. You are a Post Knight after all. A treasure chest sitting next to the dude can be opened and you’ll get a little shield, some items, and money, then level up. It’s all happy sounding, so you’ll get that nice boost of energy to keep going. When you level up you get to upgrade Strength, Agility, Intelligence, and Vitality. These do predictable things like increase damage output, crit and dodge chance, magic stuff, and HP. There are potions for healing, reducing cooldowns, and bonus effects like defense.
As you travel the dangerous roads and meet folks along the way, the village grows and you start to realize how much there is to do. You’ll gather material and can use them at the Blacksmith to upgrade your stuff, while the Witch helps you brew helpful potions with other ingredients. The typical mobile app gimmickry comes into play when you meet Merchant Carle, who has a list of stuff you can buy at really high prices — like 1,000 coins for a single “Ceruleaf”, which is as basic as anything gets. It takes 2 hours to refresh his list of items, but if you don’t like what he’s selling or can’t afford anything you can refresh the list of items by paying gems or… watching a 30 second video advertisement.
Personally I don’t hate the “pay to bypass cooldown” approach of free smartphone games. Gamers tend to get obsessive, especially when they’re casual and they don’t have high standards for what counts as a fun experience, so when I see the cooldown I think that it would probably be a good idea to put the game away and do something else for a few hours. Unlike a PC or console game that you buy outright a free mobile game should be something you play for a little bit and then put away, right? And if you are so obsessed that you feel the need to pay actual money, then you must like enough to pay them. Sure they’re bright and simple and designed to appeal to children too, who have nothing else to do than sit and obsess and will try to spend their parent’s money on the app, but if you’re a parent in 2017 and you have no discipline or rules when it comes to mobile phone games then you’re a failure at parenting already.
Once you have the sword charge, shield block, and potion drink abilities your game will revolve around timed usages of each. Fighting a boss character, I realized that I hadn’t been drinking potions until that point and that it’s just on a cooldown like everything else. Healing, blocking, and charging can actually take a bit of skill, so that’s not bad. I deliberately chose to not upgrade my agility at all because I wanted to see if it would feel like I could handle the challenges without crits or dodges, and so far it’s the case; however, I have been taking a lot of hits that I would love to dodge and my damage feels a bit flat…
Quests become more open-ended once you’ve established the basics of the village, allowing you to choose randomized quests from a notice board (which refreshes with a 6 hour cooldown, or the same gems/ads techniques as the merchant’s shop) and your character will get sleepy if you do one of them. How do you refresh your character? Why, gems and ads of course! Yes, it gets rather obvious that “grinding” in this game forces you to either pay up or give them ad dollars, and this is fine. You shouldn’t grind this game. That would be insane.
The music, visuals, and concepts of Postknight are enjoyable, not annoying. The gameplay is nothing special and it demands a lot of repetition, but that’s what makes it suited for kids and casuals. I can see myself playing it from time to time when I’m bored with my phone because I actually don’t want to play a game like this for hours at a time.