SpongeBob SquarePants is a great animated show that targets not just children but also adults. It has continued to run successfully for a long time and has received multiple games across different platforms. In the previous generation of consoles, licensed games like SpongeBob SquarePants were quite popular, however, they slowly started to fade or shift to mobile as the development cost for them ballooned. This is why it is nice to finally get a decent SpongeBob SquarePants game on consoles and PC even if it is a remaster of an old game.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is not just a simple remaster. In addition to completely revamping the visuals of the game, it has added new content that was previously cut from it. This includes new boss battles and the ability to play online multiplayer with a horde mode. On paper, this sounds good and all but does the quality of the game hold after all these years. It sadly doesn’t seem to be the case. The outdated design continues to hamper the enjoyment of the game, particularly with the level design.
The first impression of the game is that is it looks pretty good. This is in part due to the art style of the game that has been revamped for the remaster. It seems to hold up rather well despite getting a release almost two generations ago. The cartoon-like aesthetics are not perfectly accurate to the animated show since they are 3D, but they get the job done when it comes to representing the various characters. The beauty of the visuals lies in the colorful aesthetics and environments. There are quite a few levels to progress through, but they are not that long and don’t overstay their welcome.
One of the biggest qualms that I had with the game is loading. There are multiple instances of the game going into a loading screen which can often feel annoying. Whenever you enter a new area, a loading screen pops up and they can take a few seconds. The same happens when you die in a level. You can also accidentally end up out of bounds from a level and get picked by a hand, just like in the show, but it feels a little out of place in the current generation with open level design.
So the story in the game is quite simple. It features Plankton hatching another evil scheme to get his hands on the Krabby Patty recipe but in a bid to takeover Krusty Krab, he makes an army of robots. Somehow the duplicator that is being used to make this army of robots makes them disobey Plankton because he failed to flick a simple switch that could have made them obey him. This leads to the start of the game where you control SpongeBob in a world that is overrun by evil robots made by Plankton.
The story is alright as it serves the purpose of offering a villain, some context for exploring the various levels, and an army of robots as enemies. There are also boss battles with evil robots that take the appearance of popular SpongeBob Squarepants characters like Sandy, Patrick, and Squidward. It is a game that is mainly aimed at children but it can prove to be fun for adults as well. That is if you have enjoyed the show and want to find something that can fulfill the itch to play a game based on it.
There are multiple playable characters in the game from Patrick, Sandy, to SpongeBob. They offer their advantage in a level and have abilities that can help you clear an obstacle or forge a new path. It has a tinge of the Metroidvania element with the ability to return to a level again with new skills to unlock a hidden path or discover a secret. Most of the levels are full of collectibles and the difficulty is pretty easy with an abundance of checkpoints, so dying is never a major problem.
The level design is fairly basic with different gameplay styles e.g sliding, boss battles, and puzzles. They are all fairly easy to complete so this game is ideal for kids. There are plenty of collectibles to find in the game. Golden Spatulas unlock new levels while colorful shiny objects are used as a form of currency in the game. There are other forms of collectibles like socks and pants for SpongeBob that also act as his health.
I would recommend SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated for everyone because, despite its flaws, it has a certain charm. Some of the decisions regarding the level design are outdated, like manually removing the player from an out of bound area despite the area being accessible, and the load times are frequent and thus feel a bit too long, at least on the PS4. If we can overlook these issues, which are minor enough, this is easily one of the best SpongeBob SquarePants games.