Though I played many, many games as a child, there's one that represents my early gaming experience more than any other: 2003's SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. Not only was this the first video game I ever played, but it was also an excellent game. It won audiences over with its awesome platforming, its simple, yet fun combat with robots, and its hilarious focus on silly SpongeBob charm. When I saw that Purple Lamp Studios was remaking the game on modern hardware, my hype levels were through the roof — as were my expectations.
After playing through the remake, I can say with confidence that the developers have managed to bring Battle for Bikini Bottom into the modern age faithfully while also adding in some new content to augment the already-amazing experience. There are some issues, but most of them are minor, and Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated as a whole is phenomenal.
What you'll love about this remake
|Title||SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated|
|Developer||Purple Lamp Studios|
|Genre||Family / Platformer|
|PlayStation Version||PlayStation 4|
|Players||Single / Multiplayer|
More than anything else, fans will appreciate just how accurately Rehydrated recreates everything fans loved about Battle for Bikini Bottom. The graphics maintain the style of the original, but the new models, textures, lighting, and more make it feel fully modern. The world of Battle for Bikini Bottom in the remake is vibrant and rich with cartoony detail, and the gameplay feels incredibly similar to the original game as well.
This is impressive when you consider that it was built from the ground up on an entirely different engine. There are a few odd quirks, such as how some animations feel too "snappy" and instantaneous, but by and large the game looks and feels fantastic.
I also love how the developers made small, yet impactful changes in this remake that are beneficial. For example, many of the game's levels have recieved some visual additions to make it clearer where players need to go, and there are more heads-up display elements in place to make certain mechanics like throwing objects in the right place less difficult to execute precisely. Not only does this streamline the gameplay experience without sacrificing what made it fun, but it also makes the game more approachable for younger audiences than it already was — and this fun-for-all-ages approach is perfect for a game about SpongeBob.
Lastly, the new cooperative multiplayer horde mode is surprisingly robust. There are nearly 30 different stages for you and a friend to take on, and each one gets progressively more difficult. Battle for Bikini Bottom may feature simple combat, but this mode will test your mastery of it, and it's a lot deeper than I think anyone was expecting it to be.
The fact you take on giant Robo-Squidward in it is awesome, too, and I love that you can play as Mr. Krabs, Squidward, Robo-Plankton, and even Gary in it as well as SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy from the base game. Each of these characters has their own unique moveset, and all of them reference iconic moments from the TV show. This shows just how much love and passion the developers have for SpongeBob.
What you'll love less about this remake
The game has a few technical problems that will annoy some.
The only real issue I have with Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated is that there are a handful of noticable technical problems with the game. Primarily, players will notice that the framerate tends to drop when there's a lot going on on-screen in the campaign. Most of the time the game isn't too "busy," but when it is, this issue will annoy some players.
Additionally, in areas with long sightlines, some textures and objects will only pop into sight when you get close. Lastly, some visual effects can break and appear out-of-sync with the actions that cause them, which looks pretty weird when it happens. Ultimately, these issues are annoying, but they don't take much out of the overall experience.
Should you buy this remake?
The occasional technical mishap aside, there's no reason for old fans and newcomers alike to not get Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated. It's a phenomenal remake of a phenomenal game, and you'd be missing out on a ton of fun by not picking it up.
Between the superb new visuals, the faithfully-recreated gameplay, the beneficial changes made to the experience, and the surprisingly impressive multiplayer mode, Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated is everything fans have been hoping for and then some.
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