Leading up to the launch of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, I was very concerned that this remake might just be a simple cash grab designed to pull at our collective nostalgia and love for the show. I was also concerned that the cult classic might not hold up after so many years.
But after jumping into the Remake well over a decade after I played the original release on my PlayStation 2, I am very happy to report that it is a faithful adaption that still has all the heart of the original.
Straight off the bat, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a fantastic looking game, and not just when compared to the original release either. It’s bright and colourful, and everything from the character models to the landscapes themselves have this unique vibrant look and feel to them that just fits so well into the world of SpongeBob SquarePants. Bikini Bottom as a place has never looked this fantastic.
The audio has also been remastered, and the soundtrack sounds fantastic as well this time around. Voice acting also sounds noticeably better, but longtime fans will still be annoyed to know that Mr. Krabs still doesn’t sound quite right.
Clancy Brown, the voice actor for Mr. Krabs, was not the one who provided the voice for the character in the original game, and since this remake uses remastered audio, it still sounds pretty off.
The core gameplay is the same as what we saw in the original, and revolves around fairly simplistic combat and a whole lot of really fun platforming. You have access to three different playable characters, Spongebob, Patrick, and Sandy, and each has access to their own unique abilities.
Spongebob can make use of a few different bubble based abilities like launching projectiles, Patrick can both throw items to hit switches and pick up and throw stunned enemies and Sandy can make use of her lasso to swing from ledges and glide.
You mainly play as Spongebob for most of the game, but specific levels allow you to switch to either of the other two depending on whose ability the level was designed around.
Each of the locations you visit in the game are large and filled with different collectibles for you to find. The most important of these are the Golden Spatulas that allow you to travel to new areas, but then there are also Patrick’s Socks and other area specific collectibles like Security Switches in the Mermalair and Cannons in the Flying Dutchman’s Graveyard.
All of these are incredibly fun to collect, and the game also allows you to freely travel back and forth between different locations to be able to acquire collectibles that players might have missed on their first try, or are only accessible after getting access to specific abilities.
A new addition to SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a multiplayer mode in which two players fight progressively harder waves of enemies, while making their way across a series of islands and platforms. I’m sad to say however that this mode just doesn’t work in this game, and it’s no big secret as to why.
This multiplayer mode is primarily combat focused, whereas the real magic of this game lies in it’s fantastic world and great platforming. This mode has neither, and it comes across as a hastily tacked of mess. The only real plus side is perhaps that you can choose to play as either Gary or Squidward here.
In conclusion, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a faithful remake of one the most beloved platformers of the PlayStation 2 era. It’s updated audio, and stunning visuals bring the charming world of SpongeBob SquarePants alive like never before, and it’s still as fun to play as ever.
It should be noted though that nostalgia plays a large part in making this game great, and some aspects of the level design and gameplay definitely show their age. The multiplayer mode is also quite bad, and should be ignored unless absolutely necessary.
All in all though, this is a great way to jump back into SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, and it should appeal to both older and younger fans of the TV show alike.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is out now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and the PC. It was developed by Purple Lamp Studios and published by THQ Nordic. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
The review code was provided by the publisher.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated Review
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a fantastic remake of a cult classic, and it should appeal to SpongeBob fans of all ages.