|Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo begins as the little car Putt-Putt and his
puppy Pep attempt to deliver a bag of food from Mr. Balidini's store to the Cartown zoo.
However, upon their arrival at the zoo (which is due to open on this same day), Putt-Putt
and Pep find the zookeeper distraught. It seems that six baby animals have somehow
wandered off from their parents. Until they're found, the zoo will not be able to open.
Your job is to help Putt-Putt search the zoo for the lost babies, solve the puzzles that
will extricate the babies from their predicaments, and allow the zoo to open on time.
Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo is yet another of Humongous Entertainment's terrific Junior
Adventure series, designed for kids between the ages of 3-8, and like the Freddie the Fish
and Pajama Sam adventures, Humongous has come up with a winner in Putt-Putt.
Putt-Putt is a snap to install and to run; just put the CD in and voila, you're ready to start. This is a real advantage given the age of the game's intended audience. The game interface itself - presented in the form of Putt-Putt's dashboard - is simple, elegant, and intuitive, and my three-year-old was navigating it like a pro in no time. You can leave your kid alone with this game; they won't need you to fiddle with files or saves or any other game mechanics. My little boy loves this; he thinks of Putt-Putt as "his game." The puzzles aren't too daunting; kids can figure them out pretty easily, and if your objective is to "win" the game by finding all the babies and getting them home, this can be accomplished (even by a three-year-old) with little problem. Myst this ain't. Of course, if all you do is focus on solving the problem, you're going to miss out on most of the fun of Putt-Putt. The game is full of extraneous and utterly delightful detail. Most everything you click on does something amusing or informative, and there are all sorts of side adventures and games to play as well. For instance, you can click on speakers at the zoo exhibits that will tell you all about the animals in the zoo, paint Putt-Putt different colors, play hockey with a polar bear, enjoy song-and-dance numbers by topiary animals and hipster monkeys, play "zoo tag," and ride the rapids. This stuff is all a lot of fun; to Humongous' great credit, it's also educational.
By the way, the game also looks and sounds great. The animation is smooth and professional, the sound and songs are lively and well-done. There is some lag between the sound and movement at times, but it's nothing terribly noticeable; just a surprising fault in a near-faultless game. And finally, I must echo Al's sentiments in his Freddie the Fish review: this game is educational and challenging for my three-year-old, but my seven-year-old found it fun but unchallenging. I'd recommend this game for kids from 3-6 tops. And I'd recommend it highly. I hate to sound like an advertisement, but if you have a young child and a computer and you haven't checked out Humongous Entertainment's games yet, you're doing yourself a disservice. See their web page at www.humongous.com.