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Written by  :  SomeRandomHEFan (142)
Written on  :  Mar 10, 2020
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars

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Summary

The best of the Humongous Classics, but it's still not quite there

The Good

This is the third and last of the Junior Adventures from Humongous Entertainment's DOS era. Over the course of these games, you can see Humongous gradually getting the hang of things and finding their style. Though this process would take them a few more years to complete, this game already shows some signs of progress compared to Putt-Putt's rougher first offering.

After the relatively mundane settings of the first two games, this game's setting offers a real breath of fresh air. It gives the game a much more surreal atmosphere, which does a lot to make it more memorable. You can tell that the artists in particular were clearly having fun coming up with all sorts of weird and colorful buildings and characters.

And the soundtrack deserves special mention here. I find George Sanger to be a very inconsistent composer (at least judging by his work for Humongous and Hulabee Entertainment), but he was absolutely in his element here. The music really enhances the game's already playfully surreal atmosphere, while also having a really strong sense of rhythm (in contrast to Tom McMail's far more simplistic compositions for Humongous' previous titles).

The game is also notable for the inclusion of Bear Stormin', one of Humongous' more substantial minigames. It's probably the only minigame in the Junior Adventures that allows you to save. And you're going to need that feature. Because the game gets surprisingly hard as it goes on, and not just by the standards of a kids game.

The Bad

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of things that hold this game back. The biggest being the puzzles. Compared to their later years, Humongous initially approached things very carefully when it came to puzzle difficulty. This was probably done due to uncertainty over how much they could expect young children to figure out on their own. They were still right in the middle of this period during this game's development, and as such, the puzzles are once again very simplistic, with many of them taking place only on a single screen.

In general, the game doesn't do a very good job at incorporating much of its world into the puzzle-solving process. There are many locations that exist only to play around with various gimmicks, while doing nothing to advance progress.

It doesn't help that the game is always the same on every playthrough, in contrast with Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise. It would take a few more years for Humongous to fully embrace the randomization concept originally introduced there.

The voice acting also leaves some room for improvement. On the one hand, Putt-Putt's voice actor, Jason Ellefson, seems to have learned a thing or two about acting in the year that passed since his first role at Humongous. His voice acting here is more in line with how he would sound in Putt-Putt's future offerings. On the other hand, many of the side characters sound pretty bizarre, even more so than in previous games.

On a side note, the game's approach to changing Putt-Putt's color is really unintuitive. Whereas other games simply require you to find the color-changing location and pick the color you want, this game requires you to pick the same color three times in a row, as it won't last the first two times. Why anyone, let alone children, would think of doing that is beyond me.

The Bottom Line

Overall, I feel conflicted about this game. I admire its surreal and playful nature, but many of the things that make Humongous' early titles so rough around the edges are still present here. It's their best game up to this point, and it does have a unique style of its own, so I feel more comfortable recommending it compared to its predecessors, but don't go into it expecting something comparable to their later efforts.

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