SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS
Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. A title so long we couldn’t fit in a snappy sub heading.      


REVIEW

By JAY TEE
23/06/20
Review copy provided by THQ Nordic. Reviewed on Xbox One X.

Patrick is great.

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is not only the most verbose game title in recent memory, but for devotees of the quirky old school platformer, a long time coming. Much requested by fans of the acquired taste yellow square, THQ have dived back into their seemingly never ending vault of recovered IP and given it a fresh coat of paint.

This is about as faithful a remaster as one could imagine; the feel of the platforming, TV accurate voice work, and overall structure have been retained, with a brand new multiplayer mode thrown in for good measure. And while Spongebob’s moveset and puzzle design are both responsive and thoughtful respectively, there are other aspects that have continued to age poorly since its first release.

Graphically speaking, it’s clearly leaps and abounds ahead of the original in terms of visual clarity, but there’s still a pervasive lack of detail permeating much of the level design. Interiors suffer the most, with rudimentary texture work that sticks out for all the wrong reasons. The over reliance on text based tutorials, and painful repetition of over written voice lines, create a through line of irritation that mars much of the experience.

To be clear, I’m not misunderstanding the target audience; this is a game aimed squarely at two camps. The first is quite obviously fans of the show, perhaps those who grew up with it and are re introducing it to family members. The second are torch bearers for the platformer's of yesteryear, brought up on a healthy diet of Banjo Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day.

While I can’t speak to the former, I can certainly view Bikini Bottom through the lens of the latter. For me, it doesn’t hold a candle to those seminal experiences. Level design is faithful to the show, but its simplistic and does little to differentiate itself from other licensed titles. There’s something of a disconnect between the constant flurry of random collectibles, and the need to push forward; Bikini Bottom lacks urgency, and the pace suffers greatly as a result.

Ultimately, your appreciation for this Rehydrated revisit will vary massively depending on your affection for its source material.

At the bottom of some of our articles, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.  

WORTH IT?

BUT

NAH.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is a faithful but unremarkable re-release.     

 

If you’re a fan of the original, you’ll be as wet as a sponge[bob], and likely find the fun.

TARPS?

The WAGGLE YOUR LIPS badge is for a game with terrible pacing and/or too often takes control away from the player.

The LAME WAD badge is used in the event a game has particularly bad dialogue or cheesy voice acting that distracts from the story.  

The I GUESS I SHOULD BE THANKFUL badge is for a game that has purposefully annoying dialogue.

The TOO MANY TARPS badge is awarded when a game has a lot of content, but no real substance or depth.

The DROWSY badge is for a game that sometimes has issues with pacing.



The SEVEN’S IMPLANTS badge is for a game enhanced for specific hardware, and / or re-released with technical improvements.


The HYPE-O-SPRAY badge is for a game that has, or may yet become, a victim of its own hype.



BETTER THAN:

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