Since the popularity of Simcity, Theme Park, and Roller Coaster Tycoon, the games market has been saturated with light business sims. The intervening years since these classics have brought this game concept to myriad topics from Dog Walking Tycoon all the way to the seminal Theme Flower Arraigning. (I do not want to depress myself to see if these actually exist.)
Released March 7th of 2014, Post Master from Excalibur is the latest entry to this genre. It allows you to create and run your own shipping and mail service with a goal of crushing your competition and cornering the market. It is also so exceedingly middle-of-the-road as to render its existence moot.
When you first start the game, I do highly recommend running the tutorial. While a tad overlong, it does a great job of introducing you to the mechanics, showing you how to set paths, link offices, and create drop boxes for mail. If you forget which button does what in-game, you needn’t fret. The menu system is well done and features near instant pop-up text to remind you of which button does what when you move your cursor over it. The graphics themselves are clean, if uninspired. They bring to mind earlier the style of earlier Simcity.
This is all well and good but what should be the crux of the game, fun, is missing. The primary winning strategy is to set up your first office fully, let it run on autopilot until cash builds up, then open and link up your next office. Repeat until you don’t want to play anymore. You do open up the option for better vehicles and office decorations via completing in game tasks. So, yes. Your fleet of vans can be traded for fleet of larger vans.
There is also the competition, or lack thereof. Playing through on normal, it was easy to stomp the AI using the methods addressed above. Invading their business market was simple. Thriving was simpler. The competition did make one attempt at entering my territory, but it was so half-hearted that it did not even bear noticing.
I also feel compelled to bring up one other issue that makes the whole thing tedious. The in-game day takes place from 8:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. The incredibly slow in-game clock simulates from 7:30 A.M. until Midnight before skipping until the next day. This leaves eight hours of nothing really happening with no way to skip it beyond speeding up time. It is not possible to set the speed fast enough. You can set up a vehicle or two to check your drop boxes after business hours, but this only needs to be done once.
That right there is really the game. Waiting. Wait until you have enough money to build your next expansion. For money to come in, you need to wait for business to open. I suppose that it speaks well for your employees that you can go make a sandwich while they work and not have to worry about what shenanigans they might get up to while you are gone.
Never in my short time on earth have I heard of an armchair shipping enthusiast. If such a thing exists and you are one, then by George, is this your game. You might be the only one who can appreciate this along the lines of a model train set. For everyone else that wants a business simulator, this is not your game. It is not engaging, it is not original, it is not entertaining.