Sandlot Games has released an App Store title that--and we'll come right out and say it--is one of the best games available for the iPhone and iPod touch.  Snail Mail [App Store] is a kart-style racer in which the player controls a racing snail on a mission to collect packages and deliver them to the farthest reaches of the universe while dodging obstacles such as laser towers, slugs, asteroids, and salt (it burns!).

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

SNAIL MAIL

Episode 1: A New Recruit

There is turmoil within the Republic. The SLUG PIRATES have established trade barriers all along the Intergalactic Highway barring all package delivery. Fearful of the Slugs' wrath, the Galaxy Postal Service has gone on strike. Meanwhile, on planet Earth a young snail named TURBO has come of age and is ready to join the ranks of SNAIL MAIL, the fastest delivery service in the known universe. Now TURBO will have to brave great dangers to collect, protect, and deliver the packages that we rely upon...

Turbo is a cel-shaded racing snail that rides a ribbon-like track extending through the animated, nebulous backdrop of space.  The track features rolls and loops, harrowing gaps and jumps, and the aforementioned obstacles which combine to make the task of delivering intergalactic mail a rather challenging one.  Those familiar with Mario Kart will find Snail Mail's track arrangement highly reminiscent of the Nintendo kart racer's Rainbow Road level.

Snail Mail offers three modes of play.  In Postal Mode, it's all about gathering as many packages as possible and making it to the mail stop in one piece.  Time Trial mode is a race against the clock to the finish line and the aptly named Challenge Mode is a carnival of obstacles and track trickery that is quick to humble the most confident of snail racers.  A Tutorial mode is also available for the uninitiated.

The game features some of the most spot-on accelerometer control I've seen on the iPhone.  It just feels perfectly right and takes the game well beyond Sandlot's original Windows version.  As illustrated in our demonstration video (easier to film), there is also a touch mode for those afraid of tossing their iPhone across the room.  Snail Mail can be played in portrait or landscape mode depending on the orientation of the iPhone.

Everything about this game is fun.  The cutely rendered snail, his amusing, goofy quips, the clean track and backdrop visuals, and the smooth, excellent control system all combine to make Snail Mail a unique and challenging kart-style racer that's rather hard to put down.

Not only is this some of the most fun to be had on an iPhone or iPod touch, but right now it's easily one of the best values as well at its limited time, introductory price of $1.99 [App Store].  Do not let this one pass you by.

Game Details
Name: Snail Mail (v1.00) Price: $1.99 [Buy]
Developer: Sandlot Games Size: 21.9 MB
Take a cute, loudmouth, cel-shaded snail, mix with a spot-on control system and add a challenging, smoothly-animated set of tracks and what do you get?  Snail Mail: some of the most fun to be had in the iTunes App Store.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Sky Blue

    Snail Mail link goes to the wrong URL

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    FINALLY, thank you for putting this fantastic game up.
    I still love it and play eeeeevery day. Level 30 now....

  • http://www.smiles-game.com PoV

    That DOES look pretty cool.

  • SalsaMD

    It is not clear to me:

    1. what you "bullets" do?
    2. What your opponents do to you (the mean looking dudes for example)
    3. What the bar on the right is (health meter?). Does the salt affect your health for example.
    4. What happens if you steer off the track–do you fall into space?

  • Snow Mani

    To answer SalsaMD's questions:

    1. Bullets allow you to show the asteroids off the race track. And when you power up you can also shoot the slugs with more powerful shots.

    2. The mean looking dudes are slugs. You die if you touch them. They are static on the track and don't move (at least on the levels I've played so far).

    3. The bar on the right is a health meter. You lose health if you touch the salt and if you get shot.

    4. If you steer off the track you fall into space and die!

    I must add that game remembers level you are up to. If you die a lot (like me) then you can just restart that level.

    The time trial is fantastic. I use it to practice the current level and you can view "video" replay of the fastest race for that track. And when racing, ghost snails appear to show you how far behind you are from the fastest time! Excellent fun!

  • Carlos-Sz

    One of the best, if not the best, iPhone games so far.

  • http://www.secretexit.com Frand

    This looks like a really nice variation of good old Trailblazer.

  • http://www.smiles-game.com PoV

    "ghost snails appear to show you how far behind you are from the fastest time!"

    Uh oh... does this violate the ghost car patent? The "bane" of the racing game industry?

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Frand: Indeed it reminded me of Trailblazer. Which started life on the rare Commodore 16. Yes, I am a tome of retro knowledge.

  • Snow Mani

    I don't normally play racing games. So I don't know of any ghost car patent?

    When playing the time trial I noticed that two "ghost" like snails, one on the left side and one on the right side, appeared occasionally. I worked out that they seemed to appear whenever my latest attempt to beat my previous time was failing. I assumed they show you how much faster you need to go to beat the previous best time?

  • Snow Mani

    Hhmm, I played and tried to see if I could get the "ghost" snails to appear again but couldn't. Maybe I was wrong and they relate to something specific to the tracks I saw them on?

  • Vidkid

    The video looks interesting...

    I'm a racing game enthusiast, back to Bump n Jump, Pole position, heck.. I'll date myself - nightdriver. ;-) I've bought many racing games for iPhone - and all have disappointed to date except for Fastlane street racing. There is no better and no I don't work for that dev.

    Watching the video... Well - Err... didn't excite me enough to rush out and buy it. Hats off to the developers and Sandlot for delivering a fresh look at racing games- but I'm gonna pass for now.

    Hope your sales do well! This game is a PRIME candidate to sit in the top 10 if it's .99 (HINT!!! - There are no 3D racing games for .99) Go grab it. There are a LOT of stores worldwide. Generate some press and make it to the top 10. If your publisher says you can get more - Please download the competitions games and see for yourself.

  • Noah

    Does the "ground" ever change colors from that orange you saw in the video?

  • Nagromme

    $1.99 is too much, but .99 is acceptable? If the game is good then a buck won't kill me. Or a few bucks for that matter. But it might just make the difference of a developer making enough to live on and make me more games :)

    I'm buying... as soon as I decide what to DELETE to make room on my home screen :p

  • G-SYS

    What about unlockable content?

  • Dillo

    This game is a port of Sandlot's PC game of the same name, of which you can download a one hour trial at reflexive.com. (I haven't tried either version yet, so I can't comment on the differences, but the screenshots look similar enough.)

  • Oliver

    Graphics are great. Makes fun. But the difficulty level increases way to fast withing the first 60 seconds from the tutorial to the first (!!) level. There are corkscrewers and others things. You just die every time :).

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    @Oliver
    Perhaps YOU just die every time... ;)
    This game as a perfect level of increasing difficulty....really perfect.

  • Oliver

    That may be ;)

  • polyplay

    Yeah, this game is definitely difficult enough to keep the interest up without being too frustrating. At least, it's not too frustrating yet...

    @G-SYS
    There only unlockable things in the game are the levels in the "story" mode. There isn't a huge amount of variety in the gameplay, but what it does it does very very well. The weapons upgrades during gameplay are great fun to go for, as they help quite a bit.

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  • Capone

    Okay, you made me buy that game. I'll see if it's worth the price.
    I recently bought Powerboat Challenge 3D for the same price. It's not perfect and has some bugs, but all in all it's extremely addicting and well worth the price (would be a 4/5 rating, I guess).

  • http://www.visionaryart.biz nanokiwi

    It's a wee gem alright
    just buy it you stingy buggers
    you'd just have to put on ipod touch
    top 10

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    Turbo for president! :)

  • Peter321

    Great game, thanks for pointing it out.

    I also bought power boat challenge and think it sucks in comparison - the graphics/framerate and speed of the boat is just too slow.

    Snail Mail on the other hand is extremely fluid and great fun - a lot of humor in the game as well - absolutely worth the 2 bucks.

  • Peter321

    Ohh, and to the people who complain that $1.99 is too much - take a look at what other mobile games cost...

    $1.99 IS A STEAL!!!

    Not to mention what it would cost you if you had a NDS or PSP ;)

  • STM

    Its like a cross between the Rainbow Road course in Mario Kart and the bonus stage in Sonic 2.

    You can't really compare this game to those but it makes a great similar portable version!

    Only 4 stars because they can improve this game by:
    -Making it multiplayer (online)
    -Race against your ghost like in Mario Kart
    -More variety of power-ups as the levels progress
    -More variety of enemies
    -Ability to play your own music

    OVERALL: Awesome start, great even if there are not any updates

    TIP: If it crashes then restart your iPhone and the crashes will stop

    (my same review is given in app store)

  • Capone

    I played the first 20 levels yesterday, and I totally agree that this is an awesome game. It seems to me that the developer made it like Nintendo in Mario Kart 64: the environment is 3D, the charakter itself 2D. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.

    @Peter: I bought Powerboat Challenge for 1.59€, which is cheap for such an extensive game. Of course it's not perfect, I also found some bugs according to graphics and sound. Nontheless I consider it one of the better games in the store.

    @STM: I also would love to see Snail Mail to be more like Mario Kart. But hey, it's so damn cheap, we can't expect that. But to be honest: I would pay 10-15 € for a Mario Kart-like game, even if it would just be a SMK-Clone. I would have bought Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart, but the reviews were not that good...

  • Zenja

    Wow, what a relaxing game. You can spend hours on it trying to get the perfect score, and the voice over is cute and funny. The controls are dead easy - well done Spamlot. Frame rate is excellent, graphics are excellent. Best $2 I spent in a long, long time.

  • AWESOME SIMPLY THE BEST

    wow this is THE GAME to have on your iphone

    people might not like it for its appearances..
    but the game play?

    well i play 3 hours of it everyday
    it has like 50+ hrs. of game play in this.

    the slide mechanism is awesome and what a fun racer to play

    it has like 100's of levels
    best fun racer ever! worth the money. actually this game could've been more expensive.
    I recommend it for everyone who loves racing

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  • mugabs

    Chromadrome 2 rip-off. Shameless.

  • crug

    It's the same programmer as Chromadrome 2, Richard Evans from Wales.

  • luke

    it is indeed richard. Well done rich! hope the chess and music is still going too!

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  • http://www.bosebuy.com Stubbers

    I downloaded this yesterday, spent the last 4 hours playing it. It is the best, iPhone game I have so far.

  • Smash

    I have spent hours playing the free trial, just the four (or is it five?) levels in the trial and I know I will have to buy this. At 2.99 I feel it's expensive, but this game is fun, the snails comments keep you entertained and honestly the way he yelps or says he's gonna need a new shell everytime I run into salt makes me feel kinda guilty and I find myself apologizing to him.

  • Vende

    This game is so tremendous. I cannot beat level 44 for the life of me though

  • Tessa

    Does anyone know how to beat level 44? I get to the end with the army of slugs, and even with upgraded bullets i can't get them to die!

  • Kman

    On level 44, if you get enough weapon upgrades you become invincible and can plow straight through the slugs at the end. I think sometimes there might not even be enough hoops to jump through to get this. Anyway, if you jump through enough, you get the laser, then double laser, then missile, than rapid missile, then become invincible. This upgrade is available on any level with enough hoops.

    Anybody get higher than 525,660 on the challenge mode?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1054082588 Caroline Barker

    hi does anyone know what the slugs say, my son and I can't agree, he is adamant one of the things is 'Mini |Cooper' ??? where as i think its 'sideshow bob' lol