Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated)
Developer: Purple Lamp
Genre: Platformer, Action, Adventure
Platform: Xbox, PS4, PC, Switch
Age Rating: 7 Pegi
Release Date: 23/06/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Normally, licensed video games have a hard time being good, however, Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom hit it out of the park and the game gained a following for being so good. So when Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated was announced, you can understand the excitement that fans of that title must have felt. For me, someone who loves the original, my expectations and hype were sky-rocketed, and I couldn’t wait to play this title. Now that I have played it, did the game hit those expectations? The simple answer is… No. No, it didn’t. Keep reading to find out why.
Rehydrated not Rebooted
The story of Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated) is exactly the same story as the original. Plankton makes a machine that spawns a lot of robots. However, he forgets to set the machine to “obey” and as such the robots kick him out of the Chum Bucket, and set about destroying Bikini Bottom. Meanwhile, Spongebob and Patrick are playing robots and race-horses, however, over time they become bored with it.
So Patrick decides to bring out his magic wishing shell, and they decide to wish for real robots to play with. After a good night sleep, Spongebob sees his house in a mess and soon learns that it was robots that not only wrecked his house but also destroyed Bikini Bottom. Feeling like he and Patrick were the reason for the chaos Spongebob sets out to end the battle for Bikini Bottom.
In truth, the story of Battle for Bikini Bottom is completely fine. It is SpongeBob for crying out loud, it doesn’t need an overly complicated story. The writing, outside of one joke I really didn’t like, is fine and I enjoy it. However, the story comes to life with the vocal work. The voice acting is very good for the most part. It re-uses the original voice lines so you aren’t getting anything new here. Which means the voices for Mr Krabs and Mermaid Man are still not their originals. Here is something, I don’t mind Mr Krabs voice in this game I think he does an okay job. My real issue here is Mermaid Man. Other than him, I think the voice cast does a fantastic job.
Good Voice Work Alone is not Enough
The presentation of Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated) starts great but sadly falls apart. There are new animations for the characters which were a great surprise to see. I like the new colours and lighting in this game, it looks so much cleaner and dark areas like Kelp Forest and Rock Bottom look better here than in the original. I always thought they were way too dark and hard to see in the original. Sadly, not every area of the game goes off without a hitch. Sand Mountain is worst here and that is because of the fog covering the level. First off, it isn’t good to look at, and you can’t see very well. I do like the new map that they gave to the players, it is nice and detailed, and I appreciate the effort.
However, this applies to the Switch version only, while the look is better in this remaster, the resolution itself is choppy and hurts the eyes. Bubbles are especially noticeable, as they look pixilated from either far away or close. Pop-in is basically around every corner of the levels and main hub, from shadows to parts of the land you travel on. Plus to make thing worse, the frame rate also chugs. Not all the time but when it goes down, you’ll notice.
Gameplay that just Doesn’t Hit the Mark
The gameplay of Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated) is honestly worse than the original game. For starters, the movement and weight of the characters feel all wrong. The characters are far too heavy and not as light as in the original. Likewise, the movement is a bit slower here than the original as well. Also, I am not sure if it is the Switch version or not, but I counted several instances where Spongebob would just do his tippy-toe walk without my hitting the button or changing how am holding the control stick.
Too Many Unnecessary Character Changes
Plus I am not done with talking about Spongebob. The Bubble Bowl’s animation takes Spongebob out too far and that can mess up hitting something while needing to stay on a switch with it. It is something you can get accustomed to, I did, but it is very much changed from the original. Bungee jumping is no doubt worse here than in the original. I am not sure what happened but the bungee jumping is very glitchy. Diving to destroying Tiki’s is WAY too fast, the camera glitches as well. Honestly, it is something that needs to be re-done from scratch.
That said, it’s not all doom and gloom and there is at least one good new thing about Spongebob. Now he can use the Bubble-Bush move after a jump.
As for Sandy, they gave her more aerial options other than her kicks. Giving Sandy the ability to lasso enemies in the air is OP, but I love it. However, they took away the control of lasso swinging and now Sandy just swings back and forth with no momentum and it just looks weird and is distracting. Plus, in the original, all you have to do is press the button and Sandy will hold on until you jump (or after some time of not doing anything), here you MUST hold the button otherwise she will let go. Or if she hits a wall during her back and forth animation. Thankfully, Sandy is pretty much the same as she was in the original, just heavier.
Patrick the Unsung Hero of Bikini Bottom
Now for Patrick, he only got buffs. I swear it, Patrick is better here than in the original. He got an air attack move now which really helps, plus there are more pointing fingers for exact throwing while in the original there was more guesswork. As for the throwable fruit, the watermelon lasts for a shorter time but I don’t mind it, and the enhancement to the freeze fruit is fantastic. In the original, if you throw a freezing fruit on the water when already icy it will either break or sit on the ice. Here the timer will re-set. That is a fantastic change!
Overall 2 of the 3 characters received the worst changes. Not only was their movement changed but the fundamentals of how their moves work as well. Meanwhile Patrick got way better, however… that isn’t really a good thing. Patrick is the least used character of the game and because of that you really won’t tapped into his new strengths.
While I am done talking about the characters, let’s talk about the bosses. They received an upgrade they are much harder now, and it isn’t just because of the downgrades that the characters received. They got some more attacks and their old moves got a little bit of a change. For those wondering, yes this is an good thing. It definitely kept me more on my toes.
Multiplayer Mode Just Doesn’t Work
As for the new multiplayer mode, it is one of the most basic and boring things ever created. All it is is just going from island to island and beating enemies and occasionally blowing up a tentacle of Robot Squidward. I never beat it, because I was in the middle of a run, bored out of my mind but then the game completely crashed on me. I never played the mode since, and honestly I wish there was a single-player option. Sure I don’t like the mode, but I do believe that there should be more options. As for the quality of the online, it was fine and felt like the main game.
Those were my thoughts on Spongebob Squarepants Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated. This remake really isn’t good. It takes the original’s gameplay and completely changes most things I like about it, the presentation would have been great but on the Switch it is weak, and the multiplayer is bad. However, Patrick is better, the bosses are harder and better, and the map is a great new change.
Bikini Bottom Should Remain Dehydrated
That being said, sadly none of those positives negates the negatives. The Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated) was rushed and not that well polished and those things I mention are little compared to the higher negatives. I am sorry, but I CAN’T recommend this game for Switch owners. Personally, I felt really disappointed with this title. I will update this review if the upcoming future updates fix many of my problems with this game. As for now, I am sticking with my score.
You can buy your copy of Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated) from the Nintendo eShop today.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.