REVIEW : SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated (PC)
Some games have held up the test of time where indisputable as the cracks in the foundation are, there is always a silver lining of fun for gamers young and old. So let’s get this out of the way first. Spongebob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom did not need a remake. It’s a flawed, but incredibly enjoyable 3D-platformer, back when the genre was just past its peak and starting to make its way downhill for a long slumber. But from a nostalgia perspective yes, nostalgia does play a part in this, Game “Rehydrated” is a love letter to fans of the original game and 3D-platformers in general.
You are presumably familiar with Spongebob and most of his friends. His dumb, but caring best buddy Patrick Star. The sour neighbour Squidward and Sandy the kick-ass squirrel from Texas. While playing with Patrick one day, Humanoids created by the villainous goofball Plankton, invade Bikini Bottom and start to run wild. It’s up to Spongebob, Patrick and Sandy to gather as many golden spatulas as feasible, to enter the Chum Bucket lair and stop the robot invasion. It looks like how you retained the primary looking’. Comparing the two games shows how much has evolved from a visual viewpoint with a great focus on making all the tones pop, modernising the visual style to make levels seem more interconnected and adding features around every corner. Even if you haven’t played the original game, Rehydrated oozes the Spongebob-style from every angle in the level and villain design. The voice tapes from the original game have been reused and their delivery is still excellent. Thankfully some of the music mixings has been improved. The kinks from the first have been ironed out and the play looks and feels like a Spongebob cartoon come to life in video game design.
From a gameplay perspective, very little has changed on the surface. You still run and jump, gather shiny things and take on enemies by hitting them with your bubble attacks. While Spongebob’s moveset is updated during your adventure, many of the succeeding levels will still require you to use all your essential tools. But at some points, you are also able to swap to the two other playable personalities with their different moves. Patrick can throw items like watermelons and freezing fruit, which enables him to freeze water while Sandy straight up breaks the game. She has both a quick ranged strike with her lasso and can also use this lasso to float in the air after every jump, making her the best character in the game and a joy to play. There are 100 Golden Spatulas to collect and these are your keys to opening new levels. Some are found in the overworld, but others can be received by completing quests for other characters like Mrs Puff, Larry and Mr Krabs. You can also collect Patrick’s missing socks and trade-in shiny objects for more Spatulas with Mr Krabs. Each level brings something new to the table. Being it Downtown Bikini Bottom, which introduces you to the Spongeball and Sandy’s unbelievable moveset, Rock Bottom, which is based around stealth and action or Sand Mountain which uses the fun sliding mechanic in a set of three diverse courses.
The original game had some cut content that the remake has tried to ambitiously restore. Sadly, it is not worth the trouble. The robot-Squidward boss fight has been added to the new multiplayer mode. Honestly, this mode is of much lower quality than it’s obvious from the start that it isn’t part of the original game. The multiplayer mode lets players choose from a lot more characters to play with like Gary the Snail, Mr Krabs and even a robot version of Plankton. You and one other player traverse 26 islands and fight hordes of robots while slowly taking down the robotic Squidward. The experience was horrendous. The game changes to an overhead perspective and reduces a lot of the moves the characters have at their disposal. The hordes of enemies are annoying, and the repetition of the gameplay started sinking in at the fifth island. Also, there is a terrible song that plays and does not change, and glitches are plentiful. This was paired with an abysmal online connection, where the other player experienced lag, broken animations and a camera that always focuses on the host of the game. You are not missing out on anything if you will never touch the multiplayer mode, but it’s a shame that this is where the developers clearly tried to do their own thing and failed miserably.