After 15 years of near silence, the little blue blob of putty from System 3 is finally making a return to the world of video games, in glorious HD.
Many of you will not remember Putty, or the sequel Putty Squad. The original game appeared on the Amiga and the SNES. The sequel, although arriving on the SNES, was also destined for the Amiga. But it only made it so far as being included as a demo on various cover discs. Then everything went quiet and the little blue guy was not heard of again. Until now, that is.
But I remember the games, and I remember them well. I can remember waking in the dead of night screaming out “putty!”, much to my parents concern. Y’see, back in those days, games were hard. There were no save points and gamers were expected to replay levels over and over until their thumbs were bleeding. Putty Squad was one of the worst, ensuring that players would be driven to near insanity by it’s unflinchingly precise gameplay. But that is not to say it was a bad game, in fact it stands as one of my all time favorites from that era.
When I heard that Putty Squad was coming back, and I had recovered from cowering in the corner of the room, I actually got quite excited. The game will be coming to the PS3 and PSP, via PSN, and the iPhone/iPad this March with a price of under Â£5 for the PSN version and under Â£1 for the iTunes version. Which is great, but what’s it all about?
Well, Putty Squad is a retro styled puzzle platformer in which the player takes control of a blue blob of putty, who is the hero of this tale. His friends have been kidnapped and it is down to the player to guide Putty through the 60+ levels in order to rescue these friends and save the day. Of course, nothing is ever that simple and Putty will have to deal with all sorts of enemies and environmental hazards if he is to succeed. Thankfully, as he is a piece of Putty that is able to change shape, he has a variety of special abilities for the player to make use of.
Players are able to stretch Putty in order to reach difficult areas, or even to have him lie flat so the enemies just walk straight over him. For really out of reach areas, Putty can inflate himself for a limited time. He can even deal with things in a more aggressive manner by simply punching the enemies. As he progresses through the levels, stars can be collected to upgrade Putty’s attack from a regular punch to a star punch, darts, electric prods and even exploding putties. But these upgrades can be lost just as quickly by taking damage and losing stars.
By laying flat, or melting, Putty can not only remain unharmed by enemies, but also absorb the items and food that he is standing next to. Absorbing firework Imps will allow Putty to take on their powers and finding the Nitro item will allow Putty to leave bombs for the unsuspecting enemies. If Putty absorbs the POD item, he will be able to fly around the level in the POD, for a short time. When combined with the Nitro item, Putty can drop bombs on enemies from above, in relative safety.
As is customary in this type of game, losing all of the lives will result in a big fat Game Over screen. Now, I have been assured by some very learned people that the level of difficulty has been toned down since the original games, which believe me is a good thing. But worry not, hardcore gamers, with the 60+ levels to play through, there will be plenty here to satisfy your gaming appetite.
After seeing some preview footage of the game, I am pleased to say that Putty Squad has retained it’s classic retro look whilst still managing not to look out of place amongst modern games.
At a very affordable price point and packing in a huge number of levels, Putty Squad looks to be an attractive purchase for gamers young and old. We will have to wait until March to see if it plays as good as it looks, but I am optimistic. Welcome back Putty, you have been missed.