Spongebob to the rescue!
Title: SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated
Platform: PC, PS4 and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Purple Lamp Studios
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: Interactive TV show
Price: £25 / $30
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a remake of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom which first released in 2003 on Gameboy Advance, Nintendo Gamecube, PC, PS2 and Xbox. While the home console and PC versions was a 3D platformer, the GBA version was a simpler, linear 2D platformer most likely due to hardware limitations. Fast forward to June 2019 when SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated was announced seemingly out of nowhere. And now a year later, we’re playing the game.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated has Spongebob and his friends, Patrick and Sandy, roaming around Bikini Bottom as they collect Shiny Objects and Golden Spatulas in order to unlock new areas to explore and complete quests given by various Spongebob universe characters.
Battle for Bikini Bottom is a 3D non-linear platformer where you can jump and attack enemies to collect Shiny Objects and Golden Spatulas giving players access to additional areas. Each of the three characters has their own distinct attacks and special skills which will come handy throughout the game in order to complete quests and solve puzzles.
Aside from collecting the Shiny Objects and Golden Spatulas, most levels will require players to hunt a specific object in order to obtain an “oh so glorious spatula!“. For example, early on, Patrick asks Spongebob’s help to find his socks, and on another level has the team looking for a ship’s wheel.
Quest difficulty varies wildly from one another. It can either be an easy right-under-your-nose item location to a pull-your-hair-out experience exploring a level from top-to-bottom item. It’s a bit inconsistent which can cause unnecessary frustrations.
Thankfully, when loading up the map of the various areas, you’ll be able to see how many items you’ve missed including the Golden Spatulas. Once you find the location or quest for a spatula, an icon will appear in the location detail under the pause menu and you can teleport directly near the area for that missing spatula. It’s a very fun feature that avoids a lot of backtracking and confusion while navigating. Speaking of which, a mini-map for each level would’ve been a welcomed addition.
Spongebob can attack with his bubble wand, skyrocket upwards, and smash the ground after a jump. Patrick has a belly attack, but can also pick up certain specific items to either attack enemies or solve puzzles. Sandy has a karate chop to attack, a lasso that can be used to glide through the air, grab specific hooks to swing across wide gaps or enemies.
While Shiny Objects are peppered throughout every level (except boss levels) and also obtainable by defeating Tikis, Golden Spatulas are obtained by accomplishing specific quests given by various characters from the Spongebob universe or solving a specific puzzle giving allowing you to grab the seemingly out of reach spatula.
While spatulas obtained through side-quests are pretty self-explanatory thanks to the helpful hints from the NPCs, obtaining spatulas from puzzles is a bit more of a headache. You’ll sometime see an out of reach Golden Spatula in certain levels with no idea or clues how to reach them. It gets a bit frustrating, especially for players wanting to complete everything before moving on to the next level.
The game also has an interesting enemy design. Aside from Tikis that will either hide at the sight of the protagonist or detonate, the majority of the enemies are various types of robots. Most of them can either be smashed by a simple attack, while others, for example, will require players to play as Spongebob in order to sneak up on them undetected. It’s a nice touch, however, requiring a specific character to clear certain enemies can cause a roadblock when using another character.
In order to diversify the gameplay, the developers implemented a few gameplay mechanics aside from the platforming. There are a few slides in certain levels that allow players to either reach the end of the tunnel before time’s up or part of a Golden Spatula puzzle. There’s also an interesting mechanic where Spongebob can turn into a ball and roll around. And then there’s a bungee mini-activity which is optional to pick up hidden Shiny items or required items such as a Golden Spatula. Problem is, the controls when bungee-ing is a bit random and having to bounce up and down more than a few times can be nauseating.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated looks great and is a faithful representation of the tv show. Every area is bright and colourful; even cave-like areas which would be darker have some colourful lights peppered through the level. Characters look the part and are faithfully represented from the show. Enemy design is well thought out and each area introduces a new robotic threat. Audio-wise, it is what you’d expect from a “kids” show: upbeat and joyful score while you romp around the various levels. Each track matches the level’s feel and environments. Voiceovers are spot-on; as if you’d watch a Spongebob episode.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is definitely one of the most fun games to release this year. While it feels more like a remaster than a remake, it’s just big dumb fun. Sure it could’ve benefited from a mini-map to help with the navigation, but exploring every level is addictive and boss battles are fun and unique. Add to the fact that it’s budget-priced? This is definitely a worthwhile purchase.
- Easy to pick up and play
- Interesting Co-op Horde like mode
- Three vastly different playable characters
- Fun and unique boss battles
- Nauseating bungee activity
- Confusing level design
- Lack of mini-map can cause frustration
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is rated E10+ and PEGI7 due to the presence of comic mischief and cartoon violence.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher