According to IMDB, Putt-Putt starred in a series of adventure games for preschoolers back in the 90s. He quit his job to pursue “more serious roles,” but his career took a nosedive after he failed to get the lead in the second Fast and the Furious movie. He was last seen as a non-speaking extra in Cars 2.
Late last year, someone pulled out jumper cables, in an attempt to restart Putt-Putt’s career. You can now find Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo on tablets and smartphones. Here is the trailer for the game, which made it a day one purchase for me:
There have been a lot of 1990s adventures games which have been ported to the iPad recently. The last two games I played—Simon the Sorcerer and Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered—were just plain awful. For some reason, 1990s point-and-click controls don’t work on the iPad. Steel Sky forced you to tap a centimeter above an item to interact with it, while Simon the Sorcerer’s double-tap system made it near-impossible to interact with anything near the edge of the screen, such as, I dunno, the exit to every single room.
Fortunately, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo has perfect controls on the iPad. You simply tap on the screen to interact with items, the way point-and-click adventure games are supposed to work. The control scheme is so simple and intuitive that the game’s target audience of preschoolers will have no problem mastering it. Why can’t the other adventure game ports be this good?
Personally, I’m impressed. The last attempt to port the Humongous Entertainment games to a modern system (the Wii) was a failure that resulted in nasty legal issues. I didn’t like that port, because it left out about 30% of the gameplay. This port contains all the original gameplay, along with some new material!
…OK, the new material in this version consists of a different options screen, and nine easy achievements. But still! 900 achievement points! That’s an exciting addition to the game.
As I mentioned earlier, this game is made for preschoolers. It’s about a happy car named Putt-Putt who has to find all six of the baby animals that are lost in the zoo. The puzzles are all rather simple, and the game is littered with optional minigames that could easily entertain children for a decent amount of time.
The characters and animation are all lively and fun. The only real problem people seem to have with this game is, well, Putt-Putt. Like many other preschool entertainment characters, Putt-Putt wavers between “loveable hero” and “annoying kid who won’t stop talking.” Putt-Putt was voiced by a nine-year-old boy, who does a fantastic job considering his age, but he can still come across as tiresome. His acting range is limited to two emotions—amazement and being overjoyed—so get ready to hear almost every line delivered in the exact same way.
Besides Putt-Putt’s potential to be annoying, this is a solid adventure game for preschoolers. They’ll love it, and adults can have fun helping their children beat the game. Heck, I enjoyed it when I first played the game in high school, mainly because it was an adventure game where all the puzzle solutions were simple and made sense. Playing the game made me feel like a genius. If you have any interest in this game whatsoever, I highly recommend getting the free demo.
I’ll conclude this review with a picture which almost perfectly sums up the entire experience of Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo: