Running With Scissors is no stranger when it comes to shocking content in video games. For the first time ever, one of their games has finally made it to consoles, and it just so happens to be the vastly underrated 2016 remake of the controversial top-down shooter POSTAL, of which the original was released back in 1997. Despite a few noticeable cutbacks, this is a gritty, nasty title that’s well worth the (blood) money, even on Nintendo’s home console.
The Postal Dude is on a quest for revenge against… pretty much everyone. According to the diary extracts that appear during the loading screens, he’s dead set on pretty much slaughtering the town of Paradise with no pity or remorse. Or is he…? Thing is, if you play on harder difficulties, the narrative will take a completely different turn. The insane ramblings are replaced with paranoid, fear-stricken details about the townspeople being sick and attacking the Dude on sight at every turn. The vagueness of the plot works in the game’s favour, as you’re left speculating all the way through.
The core objective of each level is to kill a specific percentage of hostiles in each level. If they’re armed and ready to attack, then they’re an enemy. The original game cleverly omitted the fact that you didn’t have to slaughter the civilians to finish the level, and it’s the same case here. Whether or not you spare the innocent or clear house, you’ll be notified in the top corner of the screen. Otherwise, the objective in each level is straightforward and enjoyable enough, though by no means a cakewalk.
Countless people in the streets are ready to take you on, and the sheer number of them can make some of the earlier missions rather tough, especially on the higher difficulties due to the sparsity of health items at times. Police and soldiers are often armed with semi or fully-automatic guns, while miners, rocketeers and firemen utilize explosives or pyro-centric weapons. Mowing down packs of them is sadistically satisfying, doubly so if you take out packs of them, or get them to accidentally kill one another. Of course, the hunter can become the hunted in any situation here, and only makes it all the more thrilling.
Starting off with an accurate-but-weak SMG with unlimited ammo, you’ll find yourself snagging two shotguns and rocket launcher variants, a flamethrower, a revolver, and more. Other equipment include grenades, molotovs, mines and time bombs, some of which are only useful in certain situations. Otherwise, the arsenal in general is a wicked selection of damage-dealing tools, with enough ammo scattered around each mission to keep you going.
The highlight of this game is Rampage mode. Each level is filled with targets that you need to massacre for points. You’ll receive big rewards if you maintain an ongoing combo. Being speed, executing the wounded, using a variety of weapons and getting creative with your kills (e.g. rushing into a crowd after getting set on fire) will beef up your score much quicker. It’s the main reason that you’ll want to come back to keep playing the title more, as earning top marks on each level is incredibly tough, but the thrill you get from the chaotic gunplay here is astoundingly entertaining.
This HD remake retains the disturbing atmosphere of the original title, while adding some well-needed polish in every department. The environments are eloquently designed and look nice and detailed, for one thing. The animated intermission soundscapes are nothing short of horrifying, and the techno soundtrack that plays during Rampage mode is fast-paced, chaotic and very catchy. Meanwhile, the twin stick controls work flawlessly here on the Switch, and its loading times are reasonable in length.
It’s not a perfect port, and there have been some notable compromises. It runs at a stable and mostly consistent 30 frames-per-second, but some of the more densely populated missions like in the Air Base will make the game chug a fair bit. There’s no cooperative mode (not even with bots, either) or online deathmatch, which the PC version still retains. In short, it remains a single player title on this platform. Still, playing a POSTAL game on handheld gives it a lot more replayability, and it makes for a great pick-up-and-play title to dive into in between your boring daily life as you strive to beat that one tough level that’s holding you back.
POSTAL Redux a top-of-the-line pick for any sadistic Switch players who’re gruelling for a challenge. While the content is a bit lighter than the PC release and it doesn’t run quite as smoothly, the core content at hand is no doubt worth a double-dip. Being able to jump in and out of the occasionally-strenuous but addicting gameplay while on the go is a big plus-point, while the creepy atmosphere, solid selection of weapons and cracking arcade mode-equivalent is a joy to replay over and over. If you’re a first-timer or just so happen to be revisiting this one, bag it – you won’t regret it.
Review copy supplied by developer.