Putty Squad - PlayStation 4

Release Date:

29 November 2013

Also on:

PS4 PS3 PS Vita PC 3DS

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.


A remake of a long-lost Amiga title from the early 1990s, Putty Squad is a classically styled side-scrolling platform game in which players control a ball of blue goo named Putty. Gamers help rescue his kidnapped friends by using special morphing abilities that allow Putty to stretch in any direction, lie flat to avoid enemies, absorb items for later use, attack foes with doughy fists, or inflate himself to float to higher locations. Collecting stars helps Putty increase his attack power, and a challenge mode asks players to complete levels under specific conditions.

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Putty Squad for the Playstation 4 is a next generation adaptation of a 1994 video game classic that was initially published by Maximum Games. System 3 went on to develop the 2014 remake and has largely been in control of the IP going forward. The original game is considered a classic as its platforming sensibilities combined with its colorful graphics made fans out of nearly everyone who picked up the controller. While the remake attempts to bring back some of that joy and nostalgia, many fans have found that it has taken several steps in the wrong direction. Let's dive into this old school remake and see how 2014 treated it.

A classic game, reinvented for you.

Almost two decades ago Maximum Games asked fans to invest in a blue blob of amorphous putty. The developers wanted fans to take the character and push him through various platforming levels, around numerous colorful enemies, in what was almost certainly a slow paced Sonic rip off. Gamers at the time were right to be skeptical, but we are glad that they persevered. What one could initially mistake for tackiness was instead the thing of legends. The blue goopy protagonist became one of the more enduring leads from the generation and he was a whole lot of fun to control. The 2014 remake, for the PlayStation 4, wanted to recapture those good feelings. We aren't sure that they succeeded completely, but there is something to be said for the effort.

A long look at the old days.

Upon first booting up Putty Squad, many gamers will be immediately put to the test. If they don't immediately appreciate the old school graphics and simple interface then it is likely that they won't spend much time with the game. But for those that grew up on the platformers of yesteryear, there may be enough Putty here to play with. This remake is almost a shot for shot adaptation of the original game with the most important update belonging to the graphics. While many would assume that the company would go for some sort of pseudo 3D look, they instead stayed with the original style--opting instead to roll up the graphics for HD resolution. So the game looks pretty. But it still looks dated. Rather than looking like an HD reimaging of the legendary game it instead looks like a slightly beefed up sequel. But graphics aren't everything, especially when it comes to platformers. The more important question for PS4 fans was this: how would it play?

Know your putty.

So when you look at the cover to this game you will likely be left wondering, 'What the heck am I looking at'? Now if you've played the original version of the game this section does not apply to you. To that vast, and probably younger, majority there really isn't too much that you've missed. Putty Squad is an action platformer that follows a little blue fellow by the name of Putty as he attempts to save his kidnapped buddies. Using his slick assortment of stretching, inflating, absorbing, and squishing you will be asked to save them all across a long campaign full of puzzles.

When simplicity becomes too simple.

Ostensibly, Putty Squad is a fun game to play. The blob that we grew up with is just as easy to control despite some new additions to his arsenal. Hold the square button down to initiate his rolling feature, otherwise stick to hopping where you need to go. The levels seem stunningly simple, even with a few more puzzles thrown in the mix. Your goal is to explore them and collect enough blobs to earn your way back out. There is a timer in the corner that pushes you to hurry but the simplicity of the game never makes time a concept worth caring about. You would have to struggle in order to struggle with the clock.

So while the game is entertaining in and of itself, you never feel challenged. Despite the occasional power up or super weapon you run into, there seems to be a sort of uneven amount of 'sameness' to it all. You don't feel like you are getting progressively challenged in a way that most platform style games will attack you. Later levels, especially if marathoned, feel like more of a repetition than an achievement once you break through to them. That being said, Putty Squad does bring the puzzles to the screen. There is a very long campaign mode that is compounded in difficulty when you run into a really good puzzle. There is something really good about finally getting past these rare and difficult choke points that will likely push you on to try for the next level, forgetting all of the tedium in between.

A lack of heart.

The biggest problem that most fans will find with this game is that at no point does it inspire you. While the game is reminiscent of the original iteration, it lacks the heart despite all of the additional bells and whistles. Perhaps we are speaking through rose tinted glasses when we say that the original had a soul, and the new one did not. There are many reasons that we could come to that conclusion. The game itself looks like an adequate PS1 release and so it is stuck in that dangerous middle ground of looking 'okay' but not 'good'. It does not have the charm of the original Super Nintendo nor does it have the technical capabilities of what we've come to expect out of our PS4 releases.

A final word.

When we look at Putty Squad as a release on the PlayStation 4, and one that is priced accordingly, we don't see very many redeeming features. The game exists in a space that doesn't work for the current gen and it doesn't really pay proper homage to the original gamers. We could far more easily see this game succeeding as a mobile download priced in the $5-$10 bracket. As it sits, Putty Squad is a serviceable time killer but nothing more.

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Apr 17, 2014

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