Humongous Entertainment’s hugely popular Putt-Putt adventure game series which debuted for the PC in the early 90’s finally makes its way to iOS.
Being a High School/College student in the 90’s, I didn’t give the Putt-Putt PC titles much notice other than constantly seeing them advertised in the sales circular for Lechmere, Sears, Circuit City and eventually Best Buy (when we got one). Now that I have kids of my own, I’m much more interested in games made for this age group.
Originally the third title in the PC series, Put-Putt Saves the Zoo is the first to grace iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch screens as $2.99 a universal app. In this adventure, your child must help Putt-Putt save the Cartown Zoo, by finding the baby animals that are lost in various locations around the Zoo. By interacting with the lost baby animals as well as their parents, listening to clues, picking up items and figuring out when and where to use them, you can rescue each of the six lost animals and open up the Zoo on time. This is a full-fledged adventure game, just on a slightly easier scale for kids.
Aimed at children aged 3-8 years old this “Junior Adventure” is perfectly suited for my inquisitive 4.5 year old daughter Emily. The mouse controls of the original PC release have been converted to a solid set of touch controls. Since there is no cursor that changes to indicate where you should click (as I suspect the original had) this version may present more of a challenge. The cute, colorful graphics and plethora of interactive elements immediately engaged and excited her. Whether it be giving Putt-Putt a paint job or playing with souvenirs, she relished being in the Cartown universe. While on her quest to solve the puzzles she touched laughing flowers and giggled along with them, turned on Putt-Putt’s radio and danced along with Putt-Putt’s dog.
We started off playing the game together and I helped her to understand the basics of the interactivity, showing her where to touch to navigate the zoo, etc and then I let her take Putt-Putt’s driver’s seat and she had no problems solving the puzzles on her own and exploring the vast Cartown Zoo. It didn’t take her too long to complete the entire game, perhaps about an hour or so, but as soon as she finished her first game, she quite literally immediately wanted to play it again (and again and again).
There are so many things to play and interact with in the scenery of each game screen, that Emily is constantly discovering new things to make her laugh and smile with each play through of the game. As far as the game’s graphics go, to my discerning eyes I was honestly a little disappointed to see that they pretty much looked like a direct port of the PC version from 1995, complete with the noticeable jaggy edges (as you can see in the screenshots). It’s almost like the game is running through a ScummVM engine and had a Don Bluth-like art style to it. However, this didn’t seem to bother Emily one bit and since she’s the intended audience, I guess I can’t really complain. The voice acting was well done.
Emily is thoroughly delighted by her first Putt-Putt experience and I’m enjoying seeing her reactions to Put-Putt Saves the Zoo. I can see why these titles sold so well on the PC. As I’m sure Emily will agree, we hope this is just the first of many Putt-Putt titles being brought over to iOS. Like I mentioned earlier, the game is available as a universal app for $2.99, but it will be ($1 off) starting tomorrow November 23rd through the 28th. If you have young kids, this could be just the thing to entertain them while you are trying to get the Turkey on the table.