Of all of the games to get a PS4 remake, you’d probably never put Putty Squad, an SNES game from 1994, at the top of the list. But here we are in 2014 with a full-on re-imagining, with more or less the same platforming mechanics that still work nearly 20 years later.
The only problem is, System 3 Software has opted to charge $29.99 for a decidedly dated game — which is a bit of a problem.
Putty Squad (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Vita)
Developer: System 3 Software
Publisher: System 3 Software
Released: March 11, 2014
The first thing you’ll definitely notice about Putty is that it still looks dated, even though it’s technically billed as a “remake.” The animations are nice and the framerate is consistent however, so if you can deal with the sub-par visuals and lack of effort you won’t have very many problems. That is, if you can completely ignore the other major problem — the gameplay is also dated (and the frogurt is still cursed).
There’s more of an emphasis on puzzle elements than anything else, but the fact remains that Putty Squad is overly simplistic. All you have to do is visit each level (sectioned off like arenas) and collect a certain amount of blobs, then head for the door — that’s about it. Because there’s no surprises or any real “new” concepts outside of scattered items, every level ostensibly feels the same. There’s technically a timer but the levels are mostly built around exploration, so you aren’t really forced to rush through them.
You’ll have power-ups at your disposal to get around and complete your goals, like the ability to “squish” up or down to climb, the power of inflation, or the chance to wield weapons like rockets and bombs — you can also punch left or right at will as a last resort, which takes care of most of the enemies in the game. Levels are packed to the gills with foes and hazards, but most of them function just like they did back in the ’90s — with a limited amount of AI that’s easy to outwit.
The strangest thing about the level design is the fact that it sort of just haphazardly comes together by no real logical plan. The actual stages can be anywhere from sloppy to well designed, and the latter almost feels like the team accidentally stumbled upon a winner after just pasting random objects in. Although it can be dull beyond measure, Putty Squad as a general rule has a decent stable of puzzles to work through.
The entire campaign is also fairly massive, which is good news for hardcore puzzle-platformer fans who need something to keep them busy. Then there’s a challenge mode that tasks you with completing certain goals, which should keep you busy far after the campaign is done. Different themes attempt to keep you interested during every sequence shift, but you’ll start feeling deja vu sooner than later.
One of the oddest things about the game is that it doesn’t look like a PS4 release at all — in fact, it would have been fine on the PS1, albeit without a slight visual sheen that’s currently present. The good news is everything is bright so it’s easy to differentiate friend from foe, but the actual visuals themselves are dull and uninspired.
You should only pick up Putty Squad if you’re a fan of the original, and have an unhealthy affinity towards platformers. Everyone else need not apply unless the game drops to a rightful price of $10 or less.