Turning back the clock is never easy, especially with video games, where remastered and fan-favorite titles from days past return reasonably regularly. Not every game needs to return, though, and some are better left as distant memories for our younger selves to enjoy forever. And while Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated feels like it’s on the cusp of that group, there are still oodles of exciting platforming puzzles and unlockable secrets for both new and repeat players.
Battle for Bikini Bottom is a basic platformer originally released in 2003, where the television’s consistent villain Plankton accidentally unleashes an army of robots upon Bikini Bottom. It’s up to SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy to work together to take them out using a variety of unique abilities, collecting various shiny pieces and golden spatulas, and fighting robot versions of notable Bikini Bottom characters in boss battles.
Bikini Bottom remains a better title than some may remember, and it continues to shine in the remastered version, with everyone’s favorite friends from the show looking better than ever. The graphics are updated, the entire experience feels seamless, and, other than a few hiccups from the original game, nothing is getting in the way of jumping back in for a good time.
Everything’s clearer under the sea
When you first return to the Battle of Bikini Bottom, everything feels similar to the original. You won’t load up the game to find your graphics card screaming at you, since it’s all been tuned slightly toward a modern interpretation of what things were like in the 2003 release.
The upgraded graphics are a big highlight, and everything definitely feels like it has a brand new coat of paint. The colors are more vibrant, the set pieces are more engaging, and the memorable locations of Bikini Bottom feel refreshed. It’s precisely what you’d expect from a new game, making you almost forget it’s all a bit familiar.
Some of the cutscenes are a little off, though. The graphics are distinctly different from the television show, and it makes for some rough currents when the voice acting talents speak but their body doesn’t quite line-up. It can be a little funny, but it feels like someone dubbed the actual actors over a video someone else made.
No secret in the secret formula
The gameplay experience is nothing groundbreaking, and after a few hours, you understand the steady amount of content offered in the game. Collect shiny coral and golden spatulas to unlock new abilities, venture into a new region, and then repeat the entire process. You can play as three characters—Spongebob, Sandy, and Patrick—and each is a bit different, but the routine never changes.
You won’t find yourself stuck in a location for 15 minutes attempting to solve a complicated puzzle in this one. It may take you a bit of problem-solving time and some creative thinking, but Battle for Bikini Bottom won’t have you scratching your head for too long. It’s a simple, enjoyable experience for you to bounce in and out of, and overall a joy to pick back up.
The simple gameplay mechanics and collection processes are fun. You explore several notable locations from the Spongebob Squarepants show, and you can spend a few hours traveling around and never feel a driving need to keep going or pushing your head into a wall with the challenges. And the boss battles are the same way.
Rehydrated also features a new multiplayer horde mode that you and a friend can play online or offline. You can play alongside or against your friend them to see who comes out with the highest points and survives the most waves. It’s fairly basic, and it could be a fun thing to jump into after you’ve beaten the campaign by yourself, but it won’t be something you actively engage in with your friends for more than a few hours.
Do you return to the pineapple under the sea?
The Rehydrated version of Battle for Bikini Bottom does not change up the formula of the original game, but that wasn’t its intent. You won’t load into it feeling like you’re about to unearth a brand new experience. But it’s in the simplicity of the game where Rehydrated actually shines, and the updated graphics make it all feel new.
If you were a fan of the original game and want to return to it, having the Rehydrated version is an excellent time machine for you to return to early the 2000s and engage in an uncomplicated experience. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s worth a look, especially for those who miss tuning in on Saturday mornings to see what your problems your friends at Bikini Bottom need to solve today.
Disclosure: This review was written with a code provided by THQ