One of the most well-known cartoon characters is Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants. Whether you like the show or not there is no denying the popularity of the one who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Now video games based on licensed properties like SpongeBob normally don’t turn out too well but back on the PlayStation 2 there was actually a really good one called SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. Now all these years later THQ Nordic and developer Purple Lamp Studios have remastered this game for current-gen platforms with SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated. Does the game hold up in 2020 and warrant a trip under the sea?
For those who never played the original game this is a character platforming game where you play as SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy. The story in the game has our three characters here trying to destroy the evil Plankton and his army of robots who are out to take over and rule Bikini Bottom. Over the course of the game you’ll go through recognizable locations such as Jellyfish Fields and Goo Lagoon all the while collecting lots and lots of Golden Spatulas. This is very much a simple collectathon platformer which were common back when this game originally released. That means that those looking for a challenge will likely not find it here as I pretty much breezed my way through this game.
Every location in the game pretty much consists of just looking for all the Golden Spatulas and engaging in very simple combat. At times you face off in some boss battles but they too posed very little challenge. Various different objectives are also scattered about like beating a time of someone or finding some students. These do help provide some diversity to the gameplay but it still comes off as a pretty simple game. One of the improvements this version has is updated controls and an updated camera. That means that SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy all feel better to play as than ever which helps offset some of the outdated level design in this game and make it less frustrating. Each of the three have their own unique abilities. SpongeBob can use bubble attacks, Patrick can pick up objects and throw them, and Sandy can use a lasso on enemies as well as use it to swing across areas. All of these things do make the three of them all feel different to play and you’ll need to switch between them effectively to solve puzzles and progress past parts of the game.
So what else has been added? Well there is now a new multiplayer horde mode in the game that you can play locally or online. In this mode you can team up with a friend and take on waves of enemies with different playable characters. It’s not something I see most people spending a lot of time on but I liked that it was here for those who have a friend they’d like to play with.
The game has seen a substantial upgrade in the visual department which is good seeing as this was originally a PlayStation 2 game. It still very much retains that charming art style from the original game but the colors and crispness of everything looks better than ever. Not everything is perfect though as there was some noticeable pop-in at times at things like textures. The load times when you encounter them are also a bit longer than I felt they should’ve been. On the audio side of things, the music and voice overs in this game are straight out of the original though. That means that characters that have new voice actors since this game originally came out don’t have them here. The sound work is pretty good but there were times where the audio sounded a little off. It was also a bit annoying hearing the characters repeat a lot of the same lines over and over again while playing. The last thing I’ll touch on is the trophy list which consists of 33 trophies in total. It’s a very easy list so long as you collect everything in the game and it shouldn’t take you but around 15 hours if that to get the full 100%.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a solid enough 3D platformer that all ages can enjoy. The upgraded visuals make the game look a lot better and the refined controls and camera do the same thing for the gameplay. The level design very much still feels like an early 2000’s game though and while the multiplayer horde mode is a nice addition, it likely won’t have you sticking around to play it. Still the game is very affordable so any fan of SpongeBob will likely enjoy their trip under the sea with this one.
*SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated$29.99
- Upgraded visuals make the game look far better
- Easy to pick up and play for gamers of all ages
- Lots of fan service for SpongeBob fans
- Improved controls and camera help to make things less frustrating
- Level design feels outdated
- Lots of repeated dialogue and some minor audio issues
- Multiplayer mode won't entertain for long