Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise
Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise is an educational point-and-click adventure game developed by Humongous Entertainment and published by Atari. This game was the last in the series, and in this game, Putt-Putt is voiced by Michelle Thorson.
In this game, you control Putt-Putt as you must find all the birthday supplies for Pep. The game is played strictly with the mouse with many fun things to click on called Click Points. Putt-Putt can also talk to characters, find objects, and watch animations. There are also two mini-games to play and a cake to decorate and print out.
Why It Sucks
- Putt Putt's voice actor has been changed yet again, and it is clear that the voice has been through a voice box. The voice also sounds nothing like his past two voices, Jason Ellefson and Nancy Cartwright.
- The lip-syncing for the voice is far off and sometimes the voices cut off due to bad editing. There are odd pauses in between each character's line of dialogue.
- The plot is stolen straight from a Putt-Putt children's book called "Putt-Putt: Race Against the Clock" released three years prior. The book is also not credited despite not being written by Humongous Entertainment.
- Each screen has loading time in between it, which was not found in prior Putt-Putt games (but this reason may be due to this one not using the SCUMM engine, instead of being YAGA).
- In most Putt-Putt games, you can change Putt-Putt's color, but in this game, the color wears off after leaving the color-changing room. In all other Putt-Putt games, the color change lasts for the rest of the game.
- Nobody in this game blinks, which is odd because, in the last few Putt-Putt games, everyone had a blinking animation. The reason behind this may be from budget costs or programming limitations.
- Putt-Putt has a speedometer, but it is always at 5 mph, even when Putt-Putt is not moving or driving fast.
- An invitation song is played if you click on the "Welcome to Cartown" sign, which is not only unexpected but also shows clips from superior Putt-Putt games like Putt-Putt Travels Through Time and Enters the Race.
- It's mandatory to listen to the song once in order to progress, whereas in the previous games, listening to songs like "Topiary Creatures" from Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo was completely optional.
- The song says 16 tons of bunnies will be at Pep's birthday party, which would mean approximately 400 bunnies would be there, so that's nearly impossible.
- The song also mentions a "limo from the mansion", who only shows up once for the song (and on one of the billboards in Cartown) and never shows up again, not even in the ending.
- The song breaks the fourth wall and mentions "some Martians from a Putt-Putt game that you have played before". While this is trying to reference Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon, no Martians have shown up in that game, nor any other main game in the Putt-Putt series.
- Hank the Security Car has a ball of string that he is making, and wants you to look around for rubber bands so he can get the world record. However, he never stops talking about it and says it in almost every single sentence,
- Also, Hank already has the record for the world's largest (at least in Cartown), so why would he want the same exact record again? The ball is not even any larger.
- After Putt-Putt hears about the new rubber band ball, he makes one of the worst puns in the book. "Wow, what a stretch!"
- On the farm, Torvill Tractor tell Putt-Putt that he can't get into the barn until he moves some apples, which is odd because Torvil could just move them himself since they weigh much less than he does.
- Torvil Tractor then tells Putt-Putt not to listen to the chickens that he gets eggs from, which is even weirder since the chickens can't talk.
- Many assets, like sound effects and even backgrounds, are stolen from prior Putt-Putt games. This wouldn't be bad normally, but Mr. Firebird's time machine room from Putt-Putt Travels Through Time is the bakery room, with a time machine in the background.
- In the Egg Filling mini-game, there is a hamster being forced to work tied to a string, with cheese bait being the only reason he's working. Technically this is animal abuse since he's forcing the hamster to do easy work for him, but that's a stretch.
- Despite this game looking, sounding, and playing worse than the other Putt-Putt games, it still is able to teach young children about various topics, such as logic and thinking skills.
- Putt-Putt is a very good role model for kids and shows politeness and compassion towards Pep and his townsfolk.
- The game allows you to print out most of your creations, which is a nice touch for someone who puts a lot of effort into smaller activities in games.
- There's some variation on different playthroughs, unlike with Pajama Sam: Life is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff, which came out the same month.
- This game had a lot of potentials, especially because it used the more powerful YAGA engine, but due to HE and Atari's low budget, they had to cut down on many things, especially in the voice and animation departments.
Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise has had a very mixed reception throughout the years, both good and bad. PeanutButterGamer reviewed the game in his Putt Does Some MORE Things AGAIN video, claiming that he could "barely sit through Pep's Birthday Surprise" and that "it kinda sucked". The game has very mixed reception on Amazon and Steam, with parents praising the game while veterans of the Humongous Entertainment franchises diss the game for its differences. Kids review sites like Edutaining Kids praised the game for its educational skills, but criticized it for its control system and its challenging nature for the younger side of the age demographic.