Even though Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama is part of Humongous Entertainment's Junior Arcade Collection, I found it to be a game many adults would enjoy along with younger gamers. It is basically a Breakout clone with cute characters and, while the first several levels are quite simple, the game offers adult-sized challenges as play progresses.
Graphically, Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama is very good. The title characters are rendered nicely from both artistic and animation viewpoints and the diversity of the balloons to be popped is quite good. The background images for each level are not spectacular but they fulfill their intended functions by not distracting from gameplay.
In the area of audio, the dialogue is a bit sappy but, keep in mind, the game is targeted toward kids. The sound effects are simple cartoon noises, "boings" and "bonks" mostly, coupled with some light background music. It's a good sound scheme and fits into the game's overall audiovisual style.
Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama's action is quite exciting and I can't imagine too many children getting bored with it quickly. Although repetitive, the increasing difficulty in each level along with the hidden goodies in some balloons helps to keep the action fresh.
The game is not unlike Tetris where the action is so amazingly simple yet so addictive that it is hard to walk away. If you can't get through a level, you feel like an idiot so you play again. If you fail again, you feel worse; if you make it past the level, you want to see how tough the next level is. It's a vicious circle but that's how good games keep gamers playing.
Even though the level building utility in Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama is fun, it would be better if the levels began cleared of all balloons. Unfortunately, there are already balloons set up in many areas of the screen and if you don't like their placement, you have to change them or pop them to design your own course.
Another improvement in the game would be joystick support. The mouse controls are fine but as mouse users know, sometimes the mouse pad simply isn't big enough. The game doesn't usually require broad mouse movements but there are some occasional wide swipes.
Overall, Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama deserves an excellent rating for a game that targets younger players. Don't be surprised, parents, if you buy this for your children and find yourself playing the game quite a bit as well.
Graphics: The game has very good graphics with an animated feel. Kids will enjoy the characters and the circus atmosphere.
Sound: Sound is very good, again with roots in animation. Sound and animation has a cartoon-like quality.
Enjoyment: Even though the game is designed with children in mind, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Replay Value: The increased difficulty in each round and the level creation module help keep the game fresh. Young gamers will want to play the game repeatedly.
The game starts with Putt-Putt (the purple car) and Pep (his brown puppy) driving on to the screen with a bunch of balloons in peps mouth. Putt-putt tells his companion to hold on to the balloons tightly, which Pep immediately lets go of by barking.
In the rest of the game, the player progresses through different levels popping the balloons which seem to have multiplied hundreds of times. Using the mouse, move Putt-putt across the screen, bouncing Pep on the seats or dashboard. Different balloons are introduced during the game including candy balloons which gives the player 50 points for each piece of candy caught, paint-bucket balloons which change the player's color depending on the balloon, and question mark balloons which gives the player a power-up such as Fireman Pep. The game also has a level builder.
People who downloaded Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama have also downloaded:
Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon, Putt-Putt and Pep's Dog on a Stick, Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, Putt-Putt Enters the Race, Putt-Putt Joins the Parade, Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell, Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse
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