During the PS2 era and other early 2000s game consoles, there were quite a few licensed titles based on popular movies and shows at the time.

One of the games I distinctly remember playing on my PS2 was SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle of Bikini Bottom. Unlike some other licenced games, this game actually had an original story instead of just being a video game version of a specific episode.

So when THQ Nordic announced last year that they would be bringing back Battle of Bikini Bottom for current-gen consoles, I was really excited because it was one of those games that were apart of my childhood.

The basic storyline for SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle of Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is that Plankton has created some robots to help him steal the Krabby Patty formula. In typical Plankton fashion, things don’t go according to plan since he forgot to set the robots to obey mode and then they go running amok and terrorizing Bikini Bottom.

Gameplay

If you’ve played the original game, then you’ll know what to expect. The game is a 3D platformer and consists of defeating different enemies and obtaining different collectibles.

While the look of the game has changed since the original, the actual gameplay hasn’t and at this point kind of feeling dated. There are points in the game that seem more difficult than it should be, such as landing perfectly on a ledge to collect a Golden Spatula after a slide jump or even just getting through a level and just narrowly missing a platform because the timing was off.

One thing to point out is that sometimes the game doesn’t indicate what you’re supposed to do next. Like there was one section of Goo Lagoon, where you’re playing as Patrick in a cave and in order to get one of the Golden Spatulas, you need to throw something at a button to bring down a gate to then get the Spatula.

The game does feature there question mark signs throughout levels to help introduce new abilities but they don’t go much further than that. There’s not even that many arrows or anything to help indicate if you’re travelling on the right path in the game.

To progress through the game, you’ll be collecting Golden Spatulas and there’s around 8 in each of the main 10 levels. You’ll be able to get more Golden Spatulas by finding Patrick’s socks and returning them to him for a Golden Spatula or giving Mr. Krabs Shiny Object for a Golden Spatula.

To unlock each of the levels of the game, you’ll need a certain number of Golden Spatulas, like 10 for Goo Lagoon, 15 of them to unlock the Poseidome to face off against Robot Sandy. You’ll need around 75 Golden Spatulas to unlock the final level in the Chum Bucket. There are around 100 Golden Spatulas in total including ones you get from Patrick and Mr. Krabs.

A thing to note is that sometimes you won’t see all the Golden Spatulas, so keep your eyes peeled around the level. Some Golden Spatulas might just be lying around or underneath certain parts of the level.

Through the levels, you’ll be collecting objects literally called Shiny Objects, think of these like the Lego studs you collect in Lego games. These Shiny Objects can be used to purchase a number of things like different areas of a level or trading with Mr. Krabs for a Golden Spatula.

Each of the levels in the game comes with a new robot type, like one will hit you with a ham-mer (a hammer made of ham), one that shoots oil at you etc. And to defeat each type of robot, you’ll need to use one of the characters’ abilities like SpongeBob’s bubble powers or Sandy’s lasso.

Speaking of characters, SpongeBob isn’t the only one you’ll be playing as, depending on the level, you’ll switch between Sandy and Patrick. Each character has their own abilities like SpongeBob’s are bubble-based like his Buble Bowl or bubble rocket power.

Patrick’s abilities boil down to using his stomach to hit enemies or faceplant on them. Sandy on the other hand can use her lasso to pull robots and make them explode or use her lasso as a helicopter to glide between parts of the level.

Some of the levels in the game include Jellyfish Fields, Downtown Bikini Bottom, Goo Lagoon, the Poseidome, Sandy’s Tree Dome, Sand Mountain and countless others. With each level, there’s usually an overall mission at hand whether it’s getting the King Jellyfish’s Jelly in Jellyfish Fields, collecting Steering Wheels in Downtown or launching Canon’s at a robot ship.

Some of the levels in the game do have a boss fight such as King Jellyfish in Jellyfish Fields, Robot Sandy at the Poseidome or the Flying Dutchman. The boss fights aren’t overly difficult but some of them like the Robot Patrick fight can be frustrating because of the controls.

With SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle of Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, THQ Nordic has actually included some content from the original game that was cut including a multiplayer mode.

The multiplayer mode is available locally and online and basically, has you facing off against waves of robots and also a Robot version of Squidward. There are 26 islands in the mode and 7 playable characters including Gary, Robo Plankton, Squidward and Mr. Krabs.

Presentation

One of the highlights of SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle of Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is the updated visuals. The game has been brought to life in 4K resolution on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro.

I played SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle of Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated on the Xbox One X and it looks great running in 4K.

Everything in the game just looks super vibrant with a lot of colour that pops and reminds me of the Spyro Trilogy remaster from 2018. That’s partially thanks to THQ Nordic and developer Purple Lamp Studios using the Unreal Engine 4.

The remaster feels like you’re in an episode of SpongeBob or more so like the upcoming CG-animated SpongeBob film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.

All the characters’ animations look really good, especially some of the idle animations. One thing that became annoying quick was all the catchphrases that the character says.

The sound is also great in the game, the music in Rehydrated feels like it’s straight from the show and you’ll feel like you’re in Bikini Bottom. The music was actually remastered from the one featured in the original game.

And with each level, the soundtrack for game changes to fit the mood and theme of that level. For example, Goo Lagoon as a surfer style to it and the Mermalair is more action/superhero-esque.

One thing you’ll probably notice in the game is that most of the voice actors from the show did reprise their roles. I saw most because, for some odd reason, the voice of Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) didn’t reprise his role (in the original or the remaster) as well as Mermaid Man.

Final Thoughts

SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle of Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a great game for those who are a fan of the original or those looking to pick up a new platformer.

The game is available now for Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC for $29.99 CAD (for some reason the PS4 version is $39.99 CAD).

An Xbox One review code of the game was provided by the game’s publisher, THQ Nordic.

Pros

  • Great and colourful visuals
  • Catchy soundtrack
  • Good variety of levels
  • Simple gameplay
  • Fun for all ages
  • Multiplayer is a cool addition

Cons

  • Can be slightly challenging at times
  • The gameplay is feeling dated
  • Slightly glitchy

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