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Putty Squad (Video Game Review)

Putty Squad is the newest release for PlayStation 4 from developer System 3 and publisher Maximum Games. The game is also available for other PlayStation systems and Nintendo 3DS, and it's a remake of the classic Amiga and Super Nintendo game of the same name that was originally developed way back in 1994. The new game recaptures many of the same controls and ideas that were present in the original release, but it also manages to unfortunately feature many problems of the classic that make the game less enjoyable in today's current generation of games. There is no doubt that Putty Squad will click with a certain audience and players that are desperate for a new platformer on PlayStation 4, and the budget friendly introductory price doesn't hurt, but the game is far from great, so gamers will need to look past a few glaring flaws in order to fully enjoy the new release.

As with the original Putty Squad, the new game doesn't feature much in terms of a storyline. Players set off as a pile of blue goo and are tasked with traveling through levels to rescue the friendly red putty creatures scattered across the different levels of the game. Along the way, players will do battle with a variety of different enemies including some pretty terrifying looking clowns with green helmets, carrots with bad attitudes and guns, and wind-up chattering teeth. The enemies are random as was seen in many classic video games of the past, and the blue putty's reason for traveling through the distinct levels makes about as much sense as these random encounters with enemies.

Putty Squad easily classifies as a platformer, and players will need to dodge enemies, jump gaps and otherwise move around stages to free the red putties, grab some collectibles and powerups and move on to the next level. Enemies have a variety of different attacks that are about as random as their design, but the blue putty can attack to his left and right to deal damage and get rid of the threats. Other hazards in the game include some gaps between platforms, some of which require jumps be timed to make it across safely. Putty Squad isn't terribly difficult, and most of the early stages in the game allows players to make numerous mistakes without too much of a penalty. Later stages are a little more punishing and can force players to restart levels after making too many mistakes, and stages always have a timer counting down to failure that becomes more relevant in the harder stages later in the game.

One of the most important features that can make or break a platformer is the game's controls. Putty Squad's controls definitely aren't up to the same high qualities of a Super Meat Boy or Spelunky, but they're good enough to not cause too many unnecessary deaths for players. Most problems occur when running up to ledges to jump to the next platform, because there is a definite learning curve for when the player thinks they should jump and when Putty Squad wants players to jump. The game also give the blue putty the ability to slide between platforms above and below for added maneuverability. This works a bit better and is more reliable than timing jumps, since it's pretty easy to tell if the goo can stretch to the new location or not before attempting the move.

Despite having a really obscure collection of enemies and level themes that change how each stage is laid out each time a new level is completed, Putty Squad does have some pretty repetitive gameplay. It's rare for players to discover any new moves for the blue goo, and what players begin the game with is typically what they end a stage with as well. There are some hidden stars to find in levels to help boost the high score and climb online leaderboards. Players will also find the much rarer stickers that can be added to a decal collection to check in the game, but new enemies aren't introduced very often, and stages seem to drag on later in the game when players have already seen all the tricks the game has to throw at players by about the middle of the campaign.

Putty Squad features several modes of play including a Tutorial Mode that introduces new players to the classic gameplay featured in the game. Players can also head to the Challenge Mode to race against the clock and try to beat levels as quickly as possible to prove their skill as a putty master. A Marathon Mode lets players continuously enjoy the game until they can no longer complete levels or until they choose to quit. The normal campaign in Putty Squad features over 50 different levels, so there is a lot of content in the game for players that enjoy the new platformer, and the different game modes and collectibles will help players feel they've got the most enjoyment out of this budget release on PlayStation 4.

Putty Squad is a good enough looking game. The lighting and character models have obviously been drastically improved from the original release nearly 20 years ago, though the game hardly pushes the PlayStation 4 to its limits. Players should easily be able to tell the difference between friends and foes, and the level designs allow for plenty of colorful action in the background of stages to compliment the action of the foreground between players and enemies. Though the game features a completely new soundtrack, it takes some impressions from games released earlier for the series with retro sounds that sound better while playing on modern consoles. Of course, the game is flexible enough to be played on home consoles, or players can take it on the go with PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS, where the game looks and plays nearly the same across all major platforms.

Putty Squad inspires to recreate a classic game for a new generation. While some gamers won't be interested in the retro gameplay, there is some fun gameplay masked underneath the aged ideas present in the game. Players can enjoy sniffing out PlayStation Trophies, stickers and more in the game all while completing levels and getting high scores to climb online leaderboards. The new features help old school gamers enjoy the new release even when somewhat uncooperative controls pop up to ruin a good score run. Show off you blobing platformer skills in Putty Squad today for PlayStation systems or Nintendo 3DS today!

Putty Squad is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $29.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Putty Squad is rated E by the ESRB. For more information on the game, check out the official Putty Squad website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Retro Gameplay
  • Over 50 Levels
  • Challenge and Marathon Modes
  • Trophy Support

Game Information:
Developer: System 3
Publisher: Maximum Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita & Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: March 11, 2014

Score: 6 out of 10

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