THQ Nordic is on a remake spree as of late, bringing back a number of its favorites for a new generation to enjoy. While we wait (patiently) for TimeSplitters and 50 Cent: Blood On the Sand to return, we have various other favorites to choose from, like the forthcoming Destroy All Humans and the oddly named (but enjoyable) Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered. Then there’s SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. Initially released for consoles back in the early 2000’s, this was a fun little platformer that made proper use of the Nickelodeon license, warts and all. Now it’s returned in “rehydrated” form, with some new tweaks and better-than-ever presentation. But does that mean it deserved to go through the remastered treatment? Well, to an extent, sure.
The Robots Are On The Hunt
Storyline isn’t exactly the most important thing with SpongeBob Squarepants. Robots have run amuck, and it’s up to our squared hero to save the day. Joining him as playable characters are Patrick, with a penchant for throwing things; and Sandy, a squirrel in an astronaut suit that knows a thing or two about whipping. Over the course of the game, you’ll be able to switch between the characters, as they’ll help you get to new points on each stage, activating items and defeating enemies. The further you go, the more you can collect; and the closer you get to shutting down the robot scourge. In other words, it’s just like one of those classic 2000 platformers, from the “good ol” days before things got all loaded. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it helps to get a strong idea of what you’re in for.
Gameplay That Isn’t All Wet
The neat thing about Battle for Bikini Bottom is that each of the characters handle reasonably well. There are times when Patrick’s auto-aiming with throwing is a pain in the butt (like in one particular stage with enemies running around); and Sandy’s whip isn’t entirely reliable with precision. But for the most part, you’ll have a fun time running around and destroying stuff, while also navigating to hidden areas and discovering one of Bikini Bottom’s many secrets. There’s a lot to find here, just like older games of the 2000 era. What’s more, the developersdid add something new to the mix – a horde mode.
That’s right, something that got its start in Gears of War somehow made it to a SpongeBob Squarepants game. This time around, you’re taking on an evil Robo-Squidward and his horde of robots across a number of waves, using one of seven different characters. Each one has special abilities that prove useful against them, so it doesn’t hurt to try each of them out. It’s slightly gimmicky at first – but get a good group of friends together and you just might have fun with it.
A Slightly Wrinkled Presentation, But Fans Will Love It
There are some pretty visuals on display in Battle for Bikini Bottom, showing THQ Nordic’s penchant for retreating such material. This looks like an episode of the cartoon brought to life, complete with colorful level design and charming animations. (Case in point – if you wander too far into a level, a giant hand will come and whisk you away back to safety.) There are crashes, however, particularly if you go too far off the beaten path. Fortunately, the game is easy enough to reload. Also, the loading times… well, they could be a bit better. It can take a good while for the game to get started in spots, but the overall visual presentation is worth it. It just depends on how patient you want to be for the product to finish up. As for sound, it’s true to the cartoon. That means you’ll hear Tom Kenny’s voice as SpongeBob, as well as his buddies, for better or worse. The dialogue is a bit groansome at times (we are talking SpongeBob here), but overall it’s something for fans to appreciate. The music is lively and bouncy enough; and the sound effects are what you’d expect from a game such as this.
A Platformer Worth Bouncing Around With
While SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated can’t quite measure up with the brilliant Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon remakes on the market, it definitely isn’t a bad game. Sure, there are some issues to iron out (particularly with the loading and glitches), but its gameplay is charming and suitable for players of all ages. Plus, its Horde Mode is engaging in a surprising sort of way. So if you’re all about your favorite character that lives in a pineapple under the sea, Bikini Bottom is for you. Yes, again.