Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama

aka: Автомобильчик Бип-Бип и полёты на воздушных шариках
Moby ID: 12433
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$4.99 new on Steam

Description official description

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 Pep's 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 give 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 give the player a power-up such as Fireman Pep. The game also has a level builder.

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Credits (Windows version)

37 People (36 developers, 1 thanks) · View all

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Critics

Average score: 75% (based on 2 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 7 ratings with 1 reviews)

An amazing soundtrack bundled with a very unbalanced Breakout clone

The Good
This is one of the debut titles of the Junior Arcade series, a group of Junior Adventure spin-offs that focus strictly on simple entertainment without any educational value.

This one is a Breakout clone. You use the mouse to move Putt-Putt and prevent Pep from falling to the ground as he keeps bouncing and hitting balloons until they're all popped. As the game progresses, it gradually adds more gameplay elements, such as powerups or re-spawning balloons.

To prevent the game from becoming too frustrating for younger players, there are two cheats available (referred to as Junior Helpers). One of them prevents you from losing a life whenever Pep hits the ground, while the other permanently gives you a powerup that makes Pep stick to Putt-Putt, thereby making him much easier to control. Features like this would become a recurring element of the Junior Arcades.

You may have realized by now that this isn't a very positive review, seeing how I'm just using this section for a neutral summary of the game without praising anything (much like in my earlier reviews for Putt-Putt Joins the Parade and Let's Explore the Farm). But there is one aspect of it that really does deserve to be here, and that's the soundtrack. It accomplishes the rare feat of being amazingly catchy, while also having a really strong sense of atmosphere and offering a lot of variety. It's arguably some of the best music in Humongous Entertainment's history.

The Bad
Sadly, we now have to move on to the game's flaws. Of which there are many.

First of all, the game is just too long. There's not enough depth and variety to the game to warrant a total of 120 levels. I realize that the developers wanted to ensure the game will keep children busy for a while, but I'm not sure how many of them have the patience to play such a repetitive game long enough to actually make it through the whole thing.

I also doubt that many children have managed to make it to the end without either of the Junior Helpers. Beating the game in a single run would be a rather impressive feat even for an adult. Unlike most Breakout games I've played over the years, this game seems to require Pep to make contact with the very top of Putt-Putt. If you just barely miss him, a quick sweep in his direction won't save him. This makes him surprisingly hard to catch, especially when bouncing off of balloons or other obstacles near the ground. Which means you're going to lose lives fairly often as the game gets harder. And the game just doesn't hand out enough extra lives to compensate for that. As a result, I found that while I made it through about the first half of the game on my first run, subsequent runs rarely lasted more than a handful of levels. This is especially true of the last levels, which are often just downright cruel. The very last level in particular must have taken me over 10 runs to complete.

The scoring system isn't well-thought-out either. Though there are many different ways to get points, they're not balanced at all. Hitting individual balloons gives you next to nothing. You can increase the amount of points they award through combos, but due to the way the physics work, you can rarely manage to string together combos that are long enough to matter unless the level is designed in a way that allows for easy combos, which typically isn't the case. You also get points for launching Pep high enough to leave the screen, but they're generally too few to be of any significance. Collecting items dropped from various balloons grants you a decent amount of points, but due to the aforementioned strictness of the game's collision detection, you often won't be able to catch many of them. Bonus levels can give you a lot more opportunities to score points, but accessing them is borderline luck-based. To do that, you need to hit a UFO, but the game often won't spawn it until you're about a second away from clearing the level and thus can't hit it anymore. But the worst part of this whole system is that it can basically be ignored unless you start your run from the beginning. You're not going to beat your high score from runs that start at some point after the game starts getting hard. And that's all points are good for.

The powerups are also poorly balanced. They don't show up too often, but when they do, some are just way better than others. The cape in particular is so powerful that it can turn any level into a cakewalk.

Finally, the game also has a level editor. But while it does have a pretty child-friendly UI, this comes at the cost of it missing a lot of features. Many of the game's official levels couldn't be recreated with it. Although I suppose it's better than nothing.

The Bottom Line
Few Breakout games can compete with this one when it comes to music, but aside from that, I wouldn't really recommend it. It's too primitive and poorly designed to appeal to adults. And considering how maddening its last levels are, I can't really call it child-friendly either. I suppose really young children might get some enjoyment out of it with the Junior Helpers turned on, but there are better ways to entertain children than to give them a game that's been stripped of literally any challenge.

Windows · by SomeRandomHEFan (164) · 2020

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Gundark Krozmotov.

Windows 3.x, Linux added by Sciere. Macintosh added by Andrew Shepard.

Additional contributors: Klaster_1.

Game added March 17, 2004. Last modified August 17, 2023.