Now that’s a long one.
Being a kid in the ’90s, it goes without saying that platformers are what defined most of my childhood—mainly because of the huge influx of platforming games that came out in that time but its either that or I could’ve been dubbed “the kid that played outside”. So my fondest of memories take form in the idea of squeezing butts in the living room couch with my friends, all while competing on who can survive the longest without losing a single life in Crash Bandicoot 3 among a few others.
But SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was not part of that equation. While I do love the show and its cast of stupidly lovable characters, it was also a time when I moved out of console gaming and into the world of PC and its MMOs. Fast forward to the year 2020 and my love for platformers has been “N. Sanely Reignited” with games from my yesteryear. And with the game having such a huge cult following, how could I go wrong, right?
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is such a long title to even read aloud so from this point onward, we’ll just call it “Rehydrated” for simplicity’s sake. Rehydrated is the re-imagined cult classic of 2003. It brought 3D platforming with the vibrant characters of Sponge bob, Patrick and Sandy as a collect-a-thon where your main goal, unlike Crash Bandicoot’s crystals or Spyro’s gems, is obtaining golden spatulas (but as to why they are golden, I have no idea why) and these unlock new areas to explore that ultimately unlocks new bosses to beat and unique powers to obtain.
Amazingly enough, my first impression of the game is how slow and unimpressionable the game is. The game flow is like any generic platformer with its dull and detached core combat mechanics that really fails to deliver a good message to its audience. From its uninspired opening level that is more or less a mash fest to beat the most generic of robots to the lack of a challenging first boss fight. It seemed like it had all the right boxes ticked off for a disaster just waiting to happen but more on that later. However, while I do hate its slow-paced core gameplay and combat, the characters just really talk in volumes for me. It has the same disgustingly stupid banter that I’ve come to love the series for while also providing fairly decent platforming elements such as its sliding sections that really reminds me of the time I played Tarzan back in the original PlayStation.
Each of the three playable characters also brings a different style to the table and only specific characters are able to do certain actions. From Sponge bob that can do a headbutt to hit specific triggers while Patrick can lift objects that SpongeBob can only dream to achieve without breaking his limbs off or Sandy who has the most fun for a non-flying squirrel that can lasso her way to reach long distances while also being able to lasso her enemies for a quick kill. And this is the part of the paragraph where I complain how you’re only allowed to switch to other characters in specific locations rather than allowing it with a press of a button even if the original doesn’t. It’s just a quality of life improvement that makes sense in 2020 is all I’m saying.
In true collect-a-thon fashion though, a lot of the game revolves around backtracking and optional objectives and the game has its fair share of it. This gives the game some added life as it gives you some incentives to come back into sections of the game where you could’ve missed a thing or two and it really lengthens the value when buying into it. But the most interesting part about the experience is the colourful and vibrant world that really makes the game world feel alive, just don’t go slapping random fish denizens as you’ll feel a virtual slap right back to reality with how unresponsive they are as they simply fall down and stand back up as nothing happened. Considering how Beenox made Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled with such passion and dedication, I just wished other games would’ve received a bit more than just a fancy new spray of paint.
So let’s just get back to its combat and game flow. It comes off really slow and uninteresting which is ultimately what most games would’ve had in the first place as it builds up. The main problem for the game is that it really doesn’t even sound or feel fun on paper and in practice. Most of its early encounters just have you mashing the attack button while others have you doing ground slams or throwing objects from a distance. Boss fights, however, are at least decent with these encounters pitting you off with bosses that follow a certain mechanic to deal chunks of life damage similar to how most boss fights in platformers play out. It’s undeniable that the game does have the fun factor when it comes to its quirky boss battles but I just wanted that same level of challenge and passion towards its generic goons.
And this is something that comes biting back in its wave-based survival mode. With two players at its helm, you and another person can play your favourite characters aside from a few others not present in the campaign to fight off hordes of enemies. And if you’re adding a mode on a game mechanic that doesn’t particularly feel impressive, to begin with, I would’ve rather went back and do a time trial on specific sections that I know I’m terrible at.
Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated definitely shines with its brand-new spray of paint. From the vibrant and colourful world design to the lovable cast of characters, everything is brimming with colour and life. That is to say, that’s pretty much the only thing that’s really brimming here and most of its gameplay aspects are either just average or subpar. With 17 years of technological advancement, there’s a lot that could’ve been done but didn’t and it feels a bit disappointing that a great and nostalgic show could’ve been more than just that. It could’ve been a great game to going toe to toe with today’s competition.
Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is Developed by Purple Lamp Studios and Published by THQ Nordic
Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
You can purchase the game of your choice here – https://rehydrated.thqnordic.com/
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Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated
The cult classic is back, faithfully remade in spongetastic splendor! Play as SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy and show the evil Plankton that crime pays even less than Mr. Krabs. Want to save Bikini Bottom from lots of rampant robots with your mighty bubbles? Of course you do! Want to underpants bungee jump? Why wouldn’t you! Want to join forces in a brand new multiplayer mode? The battle is on!
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 24.99
Product In Stock: Not Available