So this might be a little out of place for a review since it is a licensed game based on a popular cartoon. This usually spells disaster for a game as seen many times in the past but SpongeBob: Battle for Bikini Bottom was a big game in my childhood and I hold it very dear to my heart. But I am not a child anymore so is Battle for Bikini Bottom still a great game or has the 16 years really brought down its quality? Get your jellyfishing nets and lets find out!
The story begins with the villainous Plankton creating his latest scheme to take over the world, a robot production machine! The machine works and creates many malicious robots but Plankton is unaware that he set the machine to the “Don’t Obey” setting thus giving the robots a rebellious mentality. They quickly kick Plankton out of his restaurant and set their own plans in motion to conquer Bikini Bottom. This is occurring at the same time as SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick are playing with their toys.
SpongeBob, bored with his toys, wishes they could play with real robots. Patrick then uses his “magic wishing shell” to make a wish for real robots. The two then go to bed and wake up to find that their wish has come true and the robots from Plankton’s machine are now creating chaos all over Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob, along with his friends, choose to fight back against the robots and get back their peaceful town. The plot feels just like an episode out of the series which as a kid I really enjoyed. It is simple yet very effective.
BfBB plays like your typical 3D platformer similar to a Super Mario 64 or Jak and Daxter. You control SpongeBob or his friends Patrick and Sandy. Each control about the same with differences in their jumps and abilities. SpongeBob uses his jellyfishing net to attack, Patrick uses his belly to bump enemies, and Sandy uses KungFu skills to give foes a thrashing. Players will traverse many different environments straight out of the TV show. From the lush grasses of Jellyfish Fields to the advanced darkness of Rock Bottom. Each are provides their own challenges through their design like how Jellyfish field is an upward ascent to King Jellyfish who has the jelly that Squidward needs for his terrible jellyfish stings. The areas allow for the first goal as the main one but then allows the player to venture forward and uncover other objectives that provide goodies.
Those goodies are the Golden Spatulas, which are the main collectible of the game, shiny items which are used to purchase spatulas from some sources and access other areas, and finally and oddest of all…socks. Yeah, you collect socks in this game. By collecting certain amounts of Patrick’s socks grants you a Golden Spatula. These spatulas are important as they allow for these main areas to be unlocked. You want to go to Downtown Bikini Bottom well you need Golden Spatulas in order to get there. Collecting these is all sorts of fun as they are barred from the player through fun platforming and combat sections. All brought together by that SpongeBob comedic tone and charm. Gameplay preview below from xTimelessGaming.
While I love that platforming of this game, there are some additions to gameplay that I feel do not work as well. SpongeBob is able to get certain power ups as you progress in the game. One is the ball power-up which transforms SpongeBob into a small ball which you would use for a mini-game where you have to take the ball to certain location. While at first this does not seem bad but when you get to Rock Bottom where the the platforms are very narrow and you have to venture across this long string of platforms. This will show the problems with the control of the ball when placed into an environment. The control of the ball has such weird physics behind it its hard to stay on a straight path and turning is no good. You will shoot right off of a platform easily. If the controls were a little more refined I would have no issue with this.
Another problem I have with the game is one certain area…Kelp Forest. Kelp Forest is a late game area taking place in the shady forest. My problem with this area is the design and how the collectibles are placed. This place is so troublesome to traverse. The placement of Spatulas feel off compared to other areas. Like I have to jump in a certain way in a certain area in order to reach it. Other areas or not like this in my opinion, objectives are clear and concise in the placement of the collectibles but here it just seems unfinished. An area where I need a guide to understand where to go is not okay especially if the other areas are not like that.
SpongeBob: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a game that plays well of the platforming genre. The characters are fun to control and many of the areas provide great enjoyment and even challenge. Though some areas can get very aggravating with layouts and challenges. A solid platformer that should be remembered as a a gem among licensed games. Battle for Bikini Bottom is available for PS2, Gamecube, Xbox. There are portable versions that are not this game but a 2D platformer and a PC version that is all mini-games instead. Have you played this game before? What are your opinions on licensed games? Comment down below and keep the conversation going.
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