Putt-Putt Travels Through Time

aka: Bip-Bip Puteshestvuet vo Vremeni, De Reis door de Tijd, Pouce-Pouce 2 - Voyage Dans Le Temps , Töff-Töff Reist Durch Die Zeit
Moby ID: 1201

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 87% (based on 5 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 2 reviews)

The peak of the Putt-Putt games. Not in terms of popularity, but in terms of quality.

The Good
When Putt-Putt's name is brought up nowadays, his Zoo-themed third installment seems to be the one people remember the most. It's a shame that its sequels have been somewhat overshadowed, because while I won't defend what happened to the subseries after the turn of the millennium, this game in particular is the best thing Humongous Entertainment ever did with the character. It takes everything good about its prequel and makes it even better.

The setting marks an improvement in both quality and quantity. It's spread across four time periods, all of which have a very different feel from each other. This is in no small part thanks to the strong presentation, which gives each time period a very distinct look and sound. The music in particular deserves special praise. For the fifth time in a row, Jeremy Soule managed to compose a large selection of beautifully surreal and bouncy tunes. Each time period has its own musical direction, yet thanks to stylistic similarities and leitmotifs, all of the tracks still feel like they belong to the same game.

In typical Putt-Putt fashion, there is a large focus on minigames and other activities. As with most Junior Adventure minigames, they tend to be very simplistic, so most of them are unlikely to entertain people above the game's age group for more than a few minutes (except for maybe the crow-chasing game, which has a bit more depth to it), but they still help bring the setting to life. A lot of them are also incorporated into some of the game's puzzles.

Speaking of the puzzles, they are also superior to those of Putt-Putt's previous outings. For once, Humongous did not shy away from making full use of the randomization their other Junior Adventures are known for. In fact, this is one of their most heavily randomized games. Each of the four key items can appear in each of the four time periods. So on every playthrough, you're only going to see four of the sixteen primary puzzle chains. Like with the first Pajama Sam, the puzzle chains of your first playthrough are always the same, but the rest of them gradually become available on subsequent playthroughs. A lot of them are more creative than those in past games, and some are a bit more complex, too.

The writing marks a step forward as well. It's still a lot more basic than what you see in Humongous Entertainment games aimed at older children, but many of the characters now have distinctive speech patterns, which give them a bit more personality. Some of their dialogue is also mildly amusing.

On a side note, the ability to change Putt-Putt's color has also been improved. You can now also pick brighter or darker shades of the seven base colors.

The Bad
Ironically, one of the game's greatest strengths—the huge amount of puzzle chains—is also its greatest weakness. You can tell that the developers had to make some compromises in order to fit so many puzzle chains into this game, and so some of them are a lot simpler than others, with some requiring little more than to win a round of a minigame that you've probably already played before (though it is still nice to see these minigames being properly integrated into the game instead of just serving as a distraction). Even a few of the puzzle chains that don't involve minigames feel more like short fetch quests than actual puzzles. What's strange about this is that the order in which the puzzle chains are unlocked doesn't always correspond with their difficulty. The game can sometimes end up becoming easier on subsequent playthroughs rather than harder. Despite all this however, I still think most of them are an improvement over Putt-Putt's earlier games. Many of them may still be simplistic, but barring a handful of particularly lazy ones, they generally have more creativity put into them.

Also, while most of the game's voice acting, including Putt-Putt's, is perfectly fine, some of his lines sound a bit deeper than they should. You can tell that Jason Ellefson was entering puberty at the time of the game's recording sessions, and thus struggling to reproduce his old voice. It's not surprising that this game would mark his last performance as Putt-Putt.

The Bottom Line
Taken as a whole, the Putt-Putt games are arguably the most flawed of the Junior Adventures, but this game marks the best realization of their formula. As usual, it feels a bit like a theme park with its large amount of minigames, but it's a pretty well-made theme park with a wonderful setting. And while its puzzles arguably favor quantity over quality, they still manage to outclass earlier puzzles in both departments.

Windows · by SomeRandomHEFan (164) · 2020

The most boring Putt-Putt game I know

The Good
As usual the graphics are nice - the more cartoony, candy-sweet type introduced in "Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo". The game also contains those trademark little details which can be discovered by clicking on a part of the surroundings. Since the above mentioned game, small hints to those details are provided - a transparent arrow means "nope, this object isn't interactive", a white one means "just click and find out!". Those little touches are typical for Putt-Putt games: little critters climb out from behind rocks, plants and clouds start moving... after some time it gets more predictable, but still is funny, also because of its anachronistic character - for example a surfing lizard in a Stone Age lake. The game has some educational value. While I would say that, despite its topic, it doesn't teach much about history, it for example manages to sneak a mathematical exercise in an unobtrusive way - the little task in Future City where Putt-Putt helps make batteries. A part I liked very much was the squash minigame, also in the Future City.

The Bad
However, all those tasks don't feel coherent as a whole game. While Putt-Putt games, being designed for children, don't feature long puzzles known from adventure games for somewhat older players, in no other Putt-Putt game did I have this much of a feeling that it's just a collection of more or less annoying tasks and not a whole game. In "Putt-Putt Joins the Circus" - which was made later, but I happened to play it just before - those strings of events already get relatively long (such as "find the saw to make a patch for the hole in the pool to make the hippo dive to get the lion's costume back"). In "Putt-Putt Travels Through Time" the puzzles (finding Pep, the lunchbox, Putt-Putt's essay for history class and the calculator) feel very separate, loose, disconnected, and soon travelling to find all lost objects gets tiresome. Probably you shouldn't admit you didn't understand something in a game for children ;), but anyway one of the minigames is extremely annoying - I mean the one where you help an apatosaurus scratch an itching spot on its back. I just couldn't get to the right spot - Putt-Putt always moved just beside it. Plus, the apatosaurus' whining voice is really hard to stand.

The Bottom Line
Collectors may be interested in trying this game out, but it doesn't feel as fun as other Putt-Putt games. Well, maybe it's just me - for example I will replay "Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo" because I love big cats, while for some other people this game could be boring too - but anyway, the topic of time travel also seemed very interesting and promising, and yet the end result just doesn't work.

Windows · by Nowhere Girl (8679) · 2012

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by vedder, Scaryfun, Jeanne.