Recently I decided to try the newly released POSTAL: Brain Damaged. After playing Postal 4, my expectations were very low, but the game still looked appealing. After seeing some screenshots, I was looking forward to giving it a try.
POSTAL: Brain Damaged is very particular and somewhat diverse in how it utilizes its gameplay. It relies heavily on paying homage to and playing off of other games, like Doom, The Sims, and many more. From references and Easter eggs to weapons and game mechanics, it incorporates from all over. To start, let’s talk about the level design.
Level Designs Gone Postal
The level you start on is a big, imaginative suburban neighborhood. The main objective is to find your TV, which was stolen by another Postal Guy. The game wastes no time giving you free reign over how you advance through its levels. You get objectives such as overflowing toilets with urine, finding multi colored keys, and much more.
Between all of that you can kill, urinate on (to stun), or cut up NPC’s and enemies for health as you travel. To be honest, it was very fun! There was plenty of exploration as I looked for weapons and items, all while I discovered new objectives and secrets. The game does very a good job at giving you vibrant places (at first) to explore.
The only issue I have with the level design is that you never know when you are finishing the map as opposed to just finding secrets. Admittedly, this motivates you to explore and experiment in future playthroughs, but the later levels weren’t much to cherish.
POSTAL: Brain Damaged quickly goes too retro and makes you play very dark levels. Most everything after level one will be dark and depressing or rather plain. Eventually things become a bit more exciting, like when you go to THE WALL at the Mexico border. And again when you get to the last third of the game at “Leon Dusk’s Expo.” However, for the most part, you’ll be playing what feels like old maps like from Doom or Turok. Is that bad? Not entirely. But more variety in levels would have been great if it went back and forth. Despite the story giving plenty of opportunity to experiment, levels feel more of the same than they should. About that story…
The Damaged Story in All Its Glory
The story is lived out through Postal Guy’s nightmares and dreams. You are greeted by fun and nicely animated cutscenes highlighting how he feels and thinks, all while he dreams up the plot. As you go through the story, some comedic elements fall flat, becoming obnoxious and lame. Despite this, it has a charm that can still make you smile (more often then Postal 4) and all with some nice weapons and references to help.
The obnoxious parts won’t overwhelm you, and even if they do, the game provides options to lower the frequency of one liners in the settings! It’s a story perfectly serviceable to a Postal entry, allowing for crazy weapons and bosses.
Karens, Rona, and Mexican Jumping Beans on the Border
Most weapons are puns or references to games and more. Between a bow named “The Penetrator” (due to it firing massive dildos), to a “Not So Smart Gun,” everything is meant to be fun and less-than-serious. There’s even a gatling gun called “Gun Go Brrrrrr.”
It’s these small details that show how the developers wanted the player to approach the game and relish in the setting: it’s just about fun. Personally, it worked! I will say that some of these elements are a bit stale; like how you face “Karen, Slayer of Managers” to even fighting the literal Corona virus as a boss! The game does things that makes me think: “Coming to the party a little late with that one, aren’t ya?”
But again, that doesn’t ruin it. While POSTAL: Brain Damaged is definitely better then Postal 4, its not exactly a much better game on its own. It often relies too much on its retro and pop-culture mileage while forgetting to be a better game through actual variety along the linear path it sets for you.
It still has genuinely good merit, but I feel like it could have taken itself that much farther if it explored all the insane levels Postal Guy could have dreamt up! Him being crazy made me hope for some insane, cool looking places, but most of my experiences reminded me of the Campaigners level from Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Which was very dull and bland.
A Brain Damaged Conclusion
POSTAL: Brain Damaged is a fun game, but not a good game. I had trouble putting it down, but I also had a lot of temptation to stop playing due to how rapidly the highs and lows came in succession. One minute I am about to stop playing due to boring levels and lacking variety, the next I see something that keeps me interested or have a fun fight that I want to finish.
In some ways, that’s okay, but the pacing has to be better to hold the player’s attention for a more consistently fun experience. Often I found myself reacting with: “Oooooo! Awwwww…” on repeat as I am constantly loving or becoming increasingly disappointed in each level.
Overall though, it’s a fun game that could be better. While you shouldn’t expect a masterpiece by any means, I find myself recommending POSTAL: Brain Damaged here for $19.99.
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