It’s stretchy, malleable and fun to squeeze. In Putty Squad, many of these qualities are brought to life, and now it’s time for the long awaited sequel to the retro classic from experienced UK games publisher, System 3.
Originally being formed in 1982 by a man named Mark Cale, System 3 has been responsible for many critically acclaimed titles over the years. For those who were born in the early eighties, I expect you might remember its original title of Putty from 1992. Two years later however, there was a sequel by the name of Putty Squad and it saw release only on the SNES, unfortunately being scrapped for the Mega Drive, Amiga and PC. All that was left from the scrapped versions was a demo; one that would gain critical acclaim, leaving fans with nothing but the cake without its icing, until now.
Now, over two decades later, the Putty Squad is returning on a myriad of platforms, which has even been reimagined by some of the original programmers as well, believe it or not. To be clear, I was born in the early nineties and unfortunately haven’t been aware of one of System 3’s most praised games until recently. For that fact I feel ashamed, but I consider myself fortunate enough to be learning of Putty Squad’s quality just as they release what I suspect will be the ultimate version for any fan or newbie alike.
Upon starting the demo I didn’t quite know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised with what I came away with. Underneath its glossy retro sheen, lay a fun and open platformer, bringing with it a lot of charm and pizazz. You control, as expected, a small blob of putty (blue no less) via its simple control set: X to jump, square to stretch, circle to use a weapon and triangle to inflate, hovering up to the sky. Throughout each level you’re tasked with a plethora of objectives, with the main one saving a number of red blobs of putty. To acquire these ‘majestic’ creatures, or any item for that matter, all you need to do is stop on top of them and you’ll absorb them instantaneously. Alongside saving these little critters, you can deal the damage with rockets or even nitro bombs.
Aside from the ‘Marathon Mode’, which sees you continuously play through a number of levels, there’s also the addition of a challenge mode. Through this option you’re then given more than just your average set of tasks. Set the challenge of collecting all stars in a level, completing within a certain time, destroying all opponents and finishing without losing a life, are just some of them.
Add the fact that the levels can be approached in a number of ways and you get to see a different angle to each level, dependent of course on which challenge you set yourself. Perhaps you want to try and accomplish all the tasks within the time limit? It’s entirely up to you.
Digging deeper into the other features available and you of course have the usual, with a number of trophies you’ll able to obtain, as well as a sticker book. If you complete the challenges, you’ll earn a sticker for that book, allowing you to unlock extra content. Notably, if you manage to earn enough of the stickers, you’ll be able to gain two free levels at no additional cost once the DLC becomes available. Though for those who find themself in a lazy state, can always deal with their hard-earned cash.
At the end of my time laying down the law with putty, I came away feeling nostalgic and refreshed. With so many action titles brought out in a yearly fashion, it was a delight to experience something that was a little simpler and filled with retro memories. After my first experience of ‘Putty’ I’d highly recommend it to anyone else who like the idea of a retro 2D platformer and look forward to its reception upon its release.
As you’d expect, re-creating a solitary experience such as Pinball, can only be taken so far when bringing it to a virtual world. Therefore, Pinball Arcade plays pretty much how you’d imagine, though here you’re lucky enough to have a wealth of tables at your disposal.
These will range from real-life models from a number of years, including the likes of Arabian Nights, Funhouse or Attack from Mars. The latter is a design from 1995 and is often misconceived to have taken inspiration from the film Mars Attacks, which was out a year later. Why do I know that? Because System 3 have even gone into the history of each table that’s been represented, giving fans some depth to their experience.
When you get down to the basics, you have your back triggers to operate the paddle, the right to launch the ball and the left stick to shake the table, should you want some more control on a certain shot. Don’t get too careless though, as if you get ‘shake’ happy, then you’ll find the table to lock up, giving you a total loss of control.
If you’re already a fan of pinball, then you’re probably going to love Pinball Arcade. If your time with the table is sparse, then there’s no better time to dive in.
Above are two very different games, which would you consider investing your time?