Review – SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated
Are ya ready, kids? SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated from THQ Nordic is a remake of the greatest SpongeBob game ever made. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was originally released in 2003, and despite its performance issues, it was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike. Now almost two decades later, it has received a full graphical facelift and includes new content that was cut from the original game. It seems like every Goofy Goober’s dream!
Being a remake, the premise is still the same as before. SpongeBob wakes up to find robots going haywire and attacking everything in sight. Before long you discover that their presence is due to yet another dubious plot by Plankton in an attempt to steal the coveted Krabby Patty secret formula. Now it’s up to SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy to stop Plankton and put an end to the robotic threat.
This game can be best described as an action/adventure 3D platformer. You’ll be able to take control of either SpongeBob, Patrick, or Sandy in order to complete tasks and collect golden spatulas. The more golden spatulas you collect, the more areas around Bikini Bottom will unlock. It’s a basic, yet fun approach to the platforming/collectathon style of genre, but it does the job well. Even though the grind to collect enough shiny objects for Mr. Krabs can be a bit of a chore.
Each character has different moves and abilities that make them suitable for certain obstacles. SpongeBob has a bubble wand that he can use to hit enemies, as well being able to sneak past them. Patrick uses his protruding belly to bust nearby foes and he can also pick up specific objects and throw them. Sandy has a lasso that both doubles as a weapon and as a means to glide to farther platforms. These are just their starting abilities, but they do unlock more later on as you progress.
I have to applaud the game for having a lot of diversity with its level designs. There are lots of areas to explore, each with their own distinct theme. Aside from that, there are many different types of challenges you’ll encounter along the way. Levels feature standard platforming sections, but there are also puzzles, timed sliding events, hidden objects for you to find, and unique boss battles. It’s a surprisingly well-rounded game.
The controls for the most part feel responsive and handle well, but there is definitely a bit a jankiness throughout. Some of it has been smoothed out, but quite a few of the issues from the original are still present in here. Like with most 3D platformers, the camera can be a headache at times and there are occasional glitches that will have you getting stuck behind a wall or within the environment. There are also bugs that will either not recognize you collecting a golden spatula or give you credit for one you haven’t collected yet. Hey, I mean at least it balances itself out, right?
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated also boasts a new multiplayer mode and additional “never before seen” content. To be honest, this could easily have been left out of the game. These only consist of one additional level in which you and another player can go up against a robotic Squidward; a boss battle cut from the original game. There’s no other opportunity for you and another person to play together throughout the rest of the game. This new feature and bonus content is underwhelming to say the least.
The biggest improvement made to SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is its graphics. Since the original was made for the systems two generations ago, it hasn’t aged well. But Purple Lamp Studios gave it a complete visual overhaul and the result is fantastic. The textures are more defined and each character looks like they’ve leapt out of the cartoon and into a 3D environment. Yes, the framerate issues and environmental glitches are still present, but nowhere near as much as before.
The sound design is largely untouched, but that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. The soundtrack has all of the same tunes and zany sound effects you’ve come to know and love. Even better, is that almost every voice actor has returned to reprise their roles, save two. And that’s what leads me to one of my bigger gripes; the actor providing the voices for Mr. Krabs and Mermaid Man completely misses the mark.
They had to recast those roles because of scheduling conflicts with Clancy Brown and Ernest Borgnine’s passing. While Mr. Krabs sounds a bit off, Mermaid Man sounds nothing like what we’ve come to expect. I was surprised to learn that they didn’t at least have Clancy Brown come back for this remake to re-record the lines of Mr. Krabs or even hire someone who sounded a bit closer to the characters. The developers said they wanted to honor the work of the original actors with this remake, but due to the numerous complaints from fans, I think that might have been the wrong call.
I’m thrilled that THQ Nordic decided to revisit the best SpongeBob game out there. Not only does it make it more accessible to a whole new generation, but it gives us long time fans an excuse to explore Bikini Bottom once more. Yes, it does still have its fair share of issues, but SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is so fun that you really won’t even care. Hopefully, new interest in the game will warrant another installment in the SpongeBob gaming franchise. That would be the best day ever!
The graphics have been heavily updated, making Bikini Bottom even more dynamic. There are some framerate issues and environment glitches still present in this version, though.
An action/adventure 3D platformer that is well rounded in its variety of gameplay options. While it does still suffer from the issues of the original, none of them are game-breaking.
The sound design is fantastic, with all of the songs and zany sound effects you’ve come to know and love. The voice actor playing Mr. Krabs and Mermaid Man completely misses the mark though.
Even though this game does have its technical issues and the voices of Mr. Krabs and Mermaid Man can be distracting, this game is so much fun that you won’t even care.
Final Verdict: 8.0
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is available now on Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and PC.
Reviewed on Xbox One X.
A copy of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated was provided by the publisher.