In 2013 an updated Putty Squad arrived on modern systems (3DS version in 2014) and this is now available on Switch, slightly re-titled as Super Putty Squad for reasons unknown. You control a stretchy blue blob and employ various abilities in this platformer as you navigate the stages collecting all the red blobs to proceed.
It had been planned for a few systems, but ultimately the original Putty Squad only saw a release on the SNES - although developer System 3 would make the Amiga version available as a free download in the same year as the remake. The visuals here match the style of that original game, but with the increase in colour, detail and resolution you’d expect a couple of decades on. It’s quite simple looking, but bright and fun with some good enemy designs such as the gun-toting carrots and soldier cats. Despite a simple design Putty himself is quite hypnotic to watch when he’s stretching to reach a platform or move up and down ladders.
On the negative side of things stage scenery can look too square in places and there are a few occasions where it’s not clear what’s part of the background and what’s a platform. Sometimes you’ll find your forward momentum stopped by what looked like background decoration and other times you’ll fall off what you thought was a platform; fatal if you were at the bottom of the screen. These may not be frequent occurrences, but nor are they the only problems in the game.
In order to perform Putty’s various actions a number of buttons are employed. Putty has a basic attack, but rather than use the one button, there’s two (one for left, one for right). There’s a float move that could have been used with the jump button (double jump? up and jump?) but instead has its own button. Should you have collected some explosive nitro, this is thrown in the direction you are facing - which is fine - but it can also be dropped when in your inflated form, and in those instances it’s not always clear which direction you are facing.
Nitro is one of the power-up items you can collect and as with the rocket attack (collected by absorbing the rocket-firing enemies) proves to be a useful way of clearing away enemies or removing a barricade from around a red putty. You need to pay attention to what power-up you most recently collected as it is automatically selected. Power-ups are cycled through using up/down on the right stick (or directional buttons) but if you haven’t noticed that in between collecting those health-restoring items you picked up that rocket ship, you may find yourself calling it into action when you just wanted to lob some nitro at that mortar-firing enemy.
Enemies increase in number as you progress and more thought must be taken to avoid attacks, but most hits to your health seem to occur from deploying the wrong power-up or attacking in the wrong direction. That’s frustrating, but other times the game gets dull due to the repetitive gameplay.
The primary aim of each level is to collect all the red putties and then head for the exit that appears, but there’s no real exploration required. Call up your map, check the locations (even the exit is shown), plan your route and off you go. It’s not always so straightforward, however, and the game can get a bit more interesting if you have to go find a missile foe to absorb and then head back to blast your way through to a putty you couldn’t otherwise collect. Other times you begin levels by just avoiding the attacks that are coming from multiple directions, before launching your counter attack once you’ve found a safe spot.
Other good moments include stages that have putties in seemingly inaccessible areas until you remember the stretch ability and reach across onto a shelf to pull yourself inside. At one point minecarts are encountered and you’ll be quickly moving between platforms (rails) to avoid getting squashed. The game also features quite a bit for you to do, with stars and stickers to collect and over 100 levels to play (some of which are hidden).
Once cleared 45 of the levels are available to play in Challenge mode, which tasks you with completing certain goals like collecting all the stars, beating a certain time and avoiding health-restoring food items. This focused gameplay works quite well and makes for a more entertaining experience.
With a variety of actions available, things to collect and different enemies to deal with, Super Putty Squad has potential. Unfortunately it's often underwhelming. There's some control frustration with the game using more buttons than is strictly necessary, with the challenge often coming from Putty not doing what you intended. A bigger problem is the levels, which often get repetitive as you simply move from one spot to the next collecting the putties. Sometimes things do get interesting, however, such as when you have to work out how best to get through a group of enemies or have to consider the best route through a level. The number of levels (and the challenge mode) ensures that there is some entertainment to be found in Super Putty Squad, but it is an average experience overall.