Putt Putt first came to the computer screen over a decade ago, he
impressed both kids and their parents with his fun personality and
willingness to lend a helping hand. It's been a few years since a
new adventure starring the adorable purple car has been released.
Now, Putt-Putt stars in a brand new problem-solving adventure with
Putt Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise. Although similar in many ways
to other titles in the long-running series, there are a couple
differences worth noting, and we'll get to those later in the
Although in absolute terms a few
years is not a long time, it is a long time in the world of
software. As a result, kids who enjoyed Putt Putt adventures as
they were released will probably be too old for this new game!
However, even though it has been a while, Putt Putt has continued
to take up shelf space in the software aisles, so many young
computer users are familiar with the delightful character and the
style of games he stars in. Kids move Putt Putt around Cartown,
meeting up with characters and solving small problems for each.
The ultimate goal, in this case, is to collect items for a
surprise birthday party for Putt-Putt's little dog friend, Pep.
Five items are needed for the party, but this isn't simply a game
of hide-and-seek. Kids need to solve a series of intertwined
missions in order to complete the entire adventure, and they
definitely need to draw upon memory and thinking skills as they
do. For example, Putt Putt needs a magician's card for the party,
but Marvin the Magician has lost his magic hat. With a little
exploring, Putt Putt finds the hat in the library, but he will
need to round up some bunnies before he can pick it up. How does
he lure the bunnies into the hat? With carrots, of course. Mr.
Baldini (a character from old Putt Putt games) has too many
carrots, and he will give Putt Putt some of them if he finds some
apples to replace them!
children explore Cartown, they find plenty of hotspots, colorful
characters, and a few mini-games. Sometimes hotspots lead to
song-videos. The mini-games involve some logical thinking and
memory skills. Our testers enjoyed all of the surprises.
When we first played the
game, we couldn't find a way to skip through chatter and found
ourselves stuck in lengthy song-videos without an apparent way to
"escape". In fact, "escape" is the right word
because previous Putt Putt adventures allowed us to skip through
sequences by using the Escape key on the keyboard. A look into the
jewelcase manual solved the problem--kids can press the spacebar
to pass over a character's current dialogue, and they can press
the Enter key to skip an entire sequence. We found the two options
a little confusing for younger players. Because many users don't
refer to the manual, we expect quite a few players to be
frustrated by what appears to be a slow-moving game. If kids are
told how to bypass the chatter, however, they won't be needlessly
"stuck" in the middle of song-videos or conversations
they already heard.
Putt-Putt Pep's Birthday Surprise
requires a chunk of hard drive space and involves an installation
process, unlike most of the previous games. You'll need a
comparatively fast processor in order to enjoy the game at a
This game is comparatively easy
to complete, although it is not without its small
challenges--perfect for children ages 6-7 and great for children
ages 3-5 who have some help from parents or older siblings.
[For more information, user
reviews, or to buy: Putt Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise]
screenshots and notes from the game)
- Fun graphics and
- Requires problem-solving
skills and memory skills.
- Some design features
detract a little from the game's appeal, as noted above.