Putty Pals Review – or ‘How to Stress-Test Your Relationship’

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Don’t be swayed by its colourful appearance, Putty Pals has been put on this earth to hurt you. The FingerGuns Review; 

Putty Pals and Switch go together well, there’s no doubt about that. It’s bright, colourful appearance – which looks great on the handhelds screen – is welcoming and inviting for younger gamers, and should tick plenty of boxes for those over-cautious parents as they traverse the eShop for something they’re happy for their younglings to get stuck into. Its logo looks like it’s been adapted from a cBeebies cartoon and its characters are made to make you feel fuzzy. It’s all sweetness and light, eh?

No. Putty Pals wants to invite you in, make you feel comfortable then get you drunk and handcuff you to a lamp-post whilst it shares the entire sordid evening on Snapchat. Putty Pals is about as friendly as a clown that lives in a sewer. Pennywise Pals? Maybe they’re some synergy there. I digress…

I don’t think I’ve been so blindsided by a game as I have with Putty Pals. Built as a full two-player experience – you can play it in single player but boy…more on that shortly -, each player can take a Joy-Con and control a ball of putty through a variety of puzzles across 28 levels. Puzzles are colour coded, meaning if you see a section of a puzzle which is the same colour as your character, you know that’s where you gonna want to go. Classic gaming rules. Of course, as with most puzzle games you can’t just shoot through each sequence as they take an awful lot of communication and attention to ensure you’re each doing the job you’re assigned to do by the game in order to overcome.

It’s here you come to realise just how strong your relationship is with the person you’re playing with. I do what I can to source games that me and my partner can play together, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime being a particular favourite, along with Snipperclips. Neither of these games have agitated us to such an extent that we still gently argue about decisions made long after we’ve played it like Putty Pals has. Whether it be pressing the wrong button on the Joy-Con or, brilliantly, why we didn’t complete a level we spent far too long on because we just kept doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Putty Pals is that kind of experience and as you jump in you’re either going to fall for its charm or you’re going to delete and never want to play it again. Me and my partner chose the former, and we’re still together. Just. I think. Why is there a duvet on the sofa?

Case in point;

‘Just jump’
‘I can’t jump you’re hanging on to me, if I let go I’ll fall’
‘No you won’t I’ve got hold of you’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes’
‘Ok’
‘No, that’s the wrong way’
‘Which way are we going?’
‘We’re going right, it’s a 2D video game’
‘You don’t need to get like that’
‘So make sure your directional line is pointing to the right of us and you’ll be able to connect with the next part of the wall’
‘Are you sure?’
‘….yes’
*jumps*
*lands in lava*
‘I TOLD YOU. I BLOODY TOLD YOU’
‘What did you press?’
‘I PRESSED THE BUTTON YOU SAID TO PRESS’
‘Well, with love, obviously you didn’t because now you’re in lava and not on the wall’
‘I PRESSED THE WALL BUTTON’
‘The wall button?’
‘THE WALL BUTTON TO MAKE ME STAY ON THE WALL’
‘Show me’
*shows button*
‘Yeah, that’s not the right button’
*I proceed to show which button it was now we’ve started over back on the wall*
‘YOU JUST FELL IN THE LAVA. I TOLD YOU THAT WASN’T THE RIGHT BUTTON ROSS’
‘OK…so, if you just press the other one then we’ll…yeah…there we go..now we’re back on ground’

^^^^ My life basically every time we’ve played Putty Pals this week..

 

I am being a tad overdramatic in terms of the difficulty. Yes, it’s bloody hard in certain places and you’re almost certain the game is broken when a million efforts of the same attempt doesn’t work (it’s not them, it’s you) but the difficulty is finely balanced across the levels. It’s a breeze to begin with and allows you to learn the game mechanics with little fuss, the controls are straightforward and are displayed in a way that you can’t really miss them, pretty much ensuring that the game gives you all the tools you need to successfully complete the game. Whether it be being able to reach out and link up with your partner to navigate across walls or over lava pits, being able to flatten yourself into a trampoline so your partner can reach greater heights or learning how to stick to walls and each take turns maneuvering yourself over each other to get to the other side and ultimate, beat the level.

The game *strongly* encourages you to play in two player mode and I cannot stress this enough: please listen to the game. It’s a tricky game which is made even more difficult when you have to control two balls of putty independently across the level on individual analogue sticks. No, not in a Binaries kind of way where you control both balls with one stick, you have a stick for each ball and if you choose to go down this particular route, Putty Pals becomes a lesson in patience and bravery more than anything. It does work surprisingly well, and though I most certainly prefer playing this game with another person, if you’re up for an extra challenge it’s worth jumping into.

VERDICT

I genuinely enjoyed my time with Putty Pals. It’s challenging as h*ck but massively rewarding. The animation is lovely along with the use of colour which will appeal to family audiences. It’s not ever going to set the world on fire and it’s a shame there are a ton of major releases incoming so soon after its console release, and should the game branch out to other consoles maybe early next year it could give the game some breathing space along with a deserving larger audience.

The puzzles, while fun and challenging, certainly aren’t as inventive as those you’d find in other co-op Switch titles like Snipperclips for example, but the charm of Putty Pals and its platforming elements will be enough to appeal to a similar fanbase. Putty Pals is an eShop gem. Don’t miss it.


Putty Pals is available now on Switch (reviewed) and PC.

Written by Rossko Keniston – @RosskoKeniston

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with review code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.

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