Edutaining Kids .COM                        2009 Holiday Gift Guides for Kids
Guide to Children's Products for Fun & Learning

 

Children's Software Review:    Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise

Related Links

 

When 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 review.

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! 

As 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 reasonable speed.

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]

 

                       ....MORE (see screenshots and notes from the game)

 

 
Pros:
  • Fun graphics and gameplay.
  • Requires problem-solving skills and memory skills.
 

 

Cons:
  • Some design features detract a little from the game's appeal, as noted above. 

 

 

 

For Windows By: Atari  Ages 3-7 Published: 2003

 

 

Our Rating:

A-

To Buy this CD-ROM:

Buy Putt Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise  for $19.99 US or less at Amazon.com

Buy Putt Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise at Amazon.ca

Reviewed November 2003                                                                                            Comments? Email us.
 
 

Guides to:  SoftwareVideosBooksToysMusic,  & Video Games
Guides by Age:  ToddlersPreschoolersKids 5-8Kids 9-up, Families
Index to All Reviews    Index to All Articles
Shopping Guide   Family Internet Guide

What's New   Contact Us   About Us   Search
EdutainingKids.com Main

Copyright 2003