Originally released on PC way back in 1997, it’s safe to say that Postal is one of the most controversial games ever made.
Thrusting players into the role of a deranged man, Postal asks you to do just one thing: kill. As for context, there’s little; there’s supposedly a story underpinning the action – the tale of a man evicted from his home, who also believes that the United States Air Force is releasing some kind of gas that turns people crazy into his town – but not much is really made of it. As such, playing Postal can be an uneasy experience.
2016’s Postal Redux is a remake of the title, giving it a spruce up in the graphics department while also making some gameplay and content tweaks. The final level that previously had you shooting up an Elementary School has been removed, for example, and a new stage, The Carnival, has been inserted earlier into the campaign. There’s also a new weapon, the Revolver. After making its way to Switch in 2020, it’s now finally available on PS4. And while the action it provides is undoubtedly dated, it still proves to be darkly entertaining.
Primarily viewed from an isometric viewpoint with some top-down levels thrown in for good measure, the twin-stick shooter gameplay of Postal Redux is somewhat basic. Each campaign environment is small, and all you need to do to progress is eliminate an overwhelming majority of its hostiles to open up the exit. It’s basically a kill-or-be-killed situation, and with the odds stacked against you, you need to keep your wits about you and make effective use of your arsenal.
Initially you start out with just a SMG, and its unlimited ammo means you might end up falling back to it often if you don’t make every bullet count for the other weapons that eventually become available. There’s everything from a shotgun to a flamethrower, each useful against certain enemies or in specific situation. There are throwables, too, such as grenades and Molotov cocktails. On Postal Redux‘s easiest difficulty you can pretty much get away with using your arsenal haphazardly, but crank it up and consideration must be given to your resources.
With only 17 levels on offer in its main campaign, Postal Redux isn’t a lengthy experience. There are an additional six missions to bolt onto it if you wish, however, and a score-based Rampage mode that might provide considerable longevity for those who like to challenge their ability to score big. Of course, the multiple difficulty levels might also entice some players to replay the campaign a time or two, especially if they’re into trophies. It’s just a shame that there are no online leaderboards for Rampage mode, and that the online co-op and competitive features found in the PC version of the game are absent.
Ultimately, Postal Redux is what it is – a faithful recreation of a twin-stick shooter that’s now over 20 years old. In terms of gameplay there are much better twin-stick shooters out there. All it really has going for it is its dark atmosphere and disturbing premise, though even that isn’t shocking as it used to be. While Postal Redux is still seen as a vile game, is it any different to what players get up to in GTA V or Hotline Miami? Digital murder is digital murder – Postal Redux just does less to make you feel like you’re on the right side.
Thanks to its budget price, Postal Redux may well be worth checking out if you’re a fan of twin-stick shooters and have the stomach for it – its atmosphere makes it wholly unique. It is undoubtedly dated though, and doesn’t try to do anything interesting other than shock you. Will it succeed? Probably – it can be quite a harrowing game if you think about it too much. Kick back and accept it for what it is, however – a video game – and some enjoyment can be had.
Postal Redux Review: GameSpew’s Score