Putty Squad Preview - The Return of a Lost Classic
Written Wednesday, April 17, 2013 By Lee BradleyView author's profile
In the late eighties to early nineties, British developer and publisher System 3 was on an incredible run of form, with a string of hugely revered titles to its name.
Games like International Karate, Myth, Last Ninja 2 and Impossible Mission ensured that System 3 was one of the big players in the Amiga era.
So in 1994, when the company finished Putty Squad, its follow-up to the critical and commercial hit platformer Putty, you could forgive a certain amount of optimism, especially once the first reviews of the Amiga version started rolling in, earning the game 90+ scores across the board.
Brit games mag Amiga Power said, “Putty Squad has restored my faith in the future of video games." It was going to be big.
But Putty Squad was never released on the Amiga. It was canned and only a SNES version made it onto shelves, arguably missing its target market. It has since become one of the most sought-after Amiga titles in history, with collectors attempting to hunt down copies of the classic that never was.
Fast forward 16 years to 2010 and System 3 announced that work on a HD version of the game was underway for PS3. But aside from another announcement in 2011 revealing that Putty Squad was also being ported to the PS Vita, all has been quiet. Until now.
As part of a move that will see many of the company’s classics polished up and released in HD - including California Games, James Pond and Constructor - Putty Squad is heading to XBLA and PSN with new graphics and a bunch of modern bells and whistles. This isn't just a rehash.
The basics remain the same. You control the titular blue blob as it traverses a number of enclosed levels in an attempt to free its fellow putties. To do so it can jump, punch, stretch, flatten, inflate, float - and a whole load more. There’s a bunch of systems at play.
Not just a straight-up run right jumper, Putty Squad is more of a puzzle platformer, with each level offering up hard-to-reach areas accessible only by a mastery of Putty’s particular skills. Those raised on endless mobile runners may have a shock. This game has depth.
Making your task a little easier is the addition of a tutorial mode introducing the basics of the game. It’s just one element of a revamp that also includes a new Challenge Mode, which allows players to revisit levels for improved times.
This all feeds into the new Sticker Book feature. If you hit the targetted times you’ll earn stickers for your book. Fill an entire page with stickers you’ll unlock even more levels to play, all of which are brand new to the game, created just for this new version.
Indeed, System 3 is promising that at least one level will be released every two weeks for free, alongside new characters and enemies.
Basically, System 3 has taken the core game that wowed reviewers in the 90’s and dragged it into this century. Throw in a glistening HD make-over that’ll melt your eyeballs with its bright, cartoony stylings - while also getting your nostalgia gland twitching with its retro art style - and you’ve got a hugely intriguing prospect.
This year marks the 22nd birthday of Putty Squad and the game already has quite a story. After two decades in the darkness and another two years being updated for current systems, it’s well overdue a happy ending. The only question that remains is whether it will get one.
Putty Squad is targetting an XBLA release later this year.
Footage taken from the unreleased Amiga version of Putty Squad.