Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service is a game that's based on the popular children's TV series of the same name. It's been brought to the Nintendo DS by French development studio, Uacari, and looks to bring the world of Postman Pat to life. To do this, the developers have brought together a collection of mini-games, with the hopes of stimulating their target audience.
The first thing that's immediately obvious is that the game is targeted at a younger audience, or those who have a serious case of nostalgia going on; it's not trying to be anything other than a conglomeration of mini-games. There is no story to be found here, so those hoping for a more in depth look at Postman Pat's adventures might be disappointed. That said, various locations and characters make appearences and each has their own particular mini-game relating to a part of the show that directly affects them in some way or other.
There are a grand total of 15 mini-games to choose from, all of which are available from the get go. A lot of these aren't very innovative, as they are just the typical games that would be expected. Games such as Word Search, Pairs, Hangman and Spot the Difference all factor in. There aren't really many that are totally unique to the title, but of course, they all have their references to the TV series in some form. While there are a lot of games, it does feel as though the developers could have done a bit more with their production levels.
As far as the actual gameplay goes, all of them are controlled completely by the stylus, so the d-pad and buttons have no use. Some of the mini-games are quite fun for a while and a couple can be particularly challenging, especially to a younger audience. However, there isn't really any particular gain or loss if the objectives aren't achieved. Most of the games have indefinite time limits or can't be lost as they just involve setting a high score. In hindsight, this does have some benefits, as younger players would get frustrated otherwise, and it does help to keep entertainment levels relatively high. Variation is actually quite a problem though, as the majority of games have very little. Spot the Difference and the Slide puzzles use different images and it helps to keep things fresh, but the rest of the games are almost identical on each playthrough. Each game does come with three difficulty levels and this does change the games slightly, but it doesn't really offer much in terms of replay value.
The game features its own theme song, which will loop contiously between modes. While it's quite charming initally, it will probably get on most peoples nerves are a little while. The soundbytes used on the mini-games also have a similar nasty habit of being just a tiny bit over used. While all the voice cast is actually in the game, the amount of actual sound clips and dialogue used is extremely minimal. Graphically not a great deal can be said about the game. Most of the images are stationary pictures and the mini-games that involve some movement are poorly animated, if at all.
Mini-game control is acceptable for the most part, although there are some minor detection issues at times when trying to loop words in the Word Search, or with regards to pointing out differences in Spot the Difference. Sometimes it wants the positioning to be a little too precise and in Word Search especially, it's a bit frustrating. The majority of the mini-games are also far too easy, even for younger players. There is some minor replay value in terms of the high score system which awards stamps of different rankings in gold, silver and bronze, but other than bragging rights, they don't really mean anything.
It's fair to say Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service achieves its purpose of being an introduction into gaming for the younger generation. However, the mini-games it chooses to employ are essentially just old classics with a Postman Pat re-skin; it would have been nice to see some more original games. Due to the nature of the title, there isn't a great deal of content, and while it may serve as a distraction for kids for while, inevitably its overall appeal will become tiresome within a short peroid of time. While Postman Pat is quite endearing to a lot of children the game itself doesn't really do enough with the branding to make it one of a kind.