SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated Review(PS4)
Time to get hydrated!
Spongebob Squarepants Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated is remake of the classic title from the days of ps2/xbox/gamecube. Developed by Purple Lamp and published by THQ Nordic,Rehydrated promises to deliver the fans the definitive way to relive their fond memories or give new comers a chance to experience one of the more memorable 3D platformers of generations past. Armed with a brand new multiplayer mode, will this title quench your thirst or leave you with a case of dry mouth,let's find out!
Rehydrated begins as any normal day in Bikini Bottom with Plankton plotting another evil scheme to eliminate anyone in his way. This time Plankton knows he's going to win by creating an army of evil robots that will do his bidding and do exactly as he commands them to do. However one mess up sends his whole plan into a spiral of failure as he accidentally flips the ''do not obey'' switch.
Now having lost his precious Chum Bucket to the evil robots, he needs help with getting back his property while also trying to hide his evil plans from the rest of the inhabitants. Using the kindness and naive nature of Spongebob,Plankton sends him on a series of chores to get golden spatulas and take back Chum Bucket.
Rehydrated is a collectathon 3D platformer in the vein of games like Mario 64,Banjo,etc. Throughout the game you will collect several items that will either grant you access to new areas or give you access to items needed to progress. The goal of the game is collect golden spatulas, these are used like Stars from Mario 64, the more you get, the more areas you're able to enter that require a set amount of spatulas. Your hub world starts you out in bikini bottom and this is where you can pick between the first few levels that you wish to play, as well as meet some familiar faces.
The game starts you off really soft by only telling you to collect 5 spatulas at first to begin your adventure. Each golden spatula has a different requirement for acquiring them, some are as easy as seeing it on the explorable open areas of each level and some require you to use some brain power to find them by completing puzzle side quests for characters that require your help,such a Mr Krabs or Squidward. But not all of them will be able to be reached directly at the beginning, because you will need to utilize the other two playable characters,Patrick and Sandy and each with their own abilities.
In order to get by certain puzzles or find essential collectibles you need, sometimes you'll be required to switch to Patrick or Sandy,depending on your situation. Like Spongebob himself,Sandy and Patrick also utilize their own special attacks that only they can use,such as Patrick being able to lift objects and toss them at levers,switches or other enemies,as well as a belly slam attack that sends shockwaves on the ground to paralyze enemies for a short period of time. Sandy meanwhile can double jump and spin a lasso in the air and glide for a short distance to reach areas that normally wouldn't be reachable with Spongebob or Patrick,she also is able to swing across grapples using her lasso for improved mobility.
But the most diverse character of them all has to be Spongebob due to the arsenal at his disposal. Spongebob's main form of attack include a spinning melee attack, but other abilities include a thrust up attack that can send him straight in the air for a short distance, bubble attack that is used to spin levers or hit switches,form a bubble ball that can be used as a bowling ball to throw up or down ramps, and my favorite of all, the bubble homing missile which allows you to aim at any object and then switch to first person view for a short period of time,then guide the missile to wherever you want it to go. This makes hitting enemies in the distance very easy.
Once you got the hang of everyone's different skills and abilities you are now ready to tackle the levels themselves,which I found had a good amount of variety,not only in terms of style, such as art and design, but also in the way that they're handled. Each level you unlock is like an open hub design with multiple layers and directional paths to push your way through, but not every single one plays exactly the same as the last one.
Some levels you will have your basic running around,climbing platforms,hopping here and there ,but then the game breaks off into flipping switches to unlock doors,hitting buttons and standing on platforms to twist pillars and mechanical structures. This allows them to connect to other sections of the stage so a rolling ball can make it all the way to the end of the level to unlock your reward or passageway,and there's a ton of puzzle solving. The experience never feels dragged on and that's always a great thing in a genre like this one.
A more direct example of what I am referring to is when you're playing a specific level that happens to be all about platforming,but immediately afterwards you are thrust into speed races down slides and slopes,only to then go into a brain twister of different puzzles that utilize each characters special abilities. It's all just kept very fresh and never feels like a cumbersome task to do. My only gripe happens to be with Sandy, I personally feel she just wasn't utilized enough,just like the original game. I would've preferred her to be used more than she was because there were certain times where I felt Patrick or Spongebob could've been pushed aside and the lasso ability of Sandy could've been taken advantage of. But then again that's a minor gripe as this is a remake,not a brand new title. So you got me there.
After getting a set amount of golden spatulas, you are able to move the story forward to other areas and in each area that lets you progress the story, you will run into a boss fight,because who are we kidding, no 3D platformer collectathon would be complete without a series of boss fights. The boss fights aren't very hard, like at all, most of them will take anywhere from 3 hits to maybe 5 or 6. Their attack rotations do tend to change after a set amount of hits, but they do not change enough to warrant death after death after death,this isn't SpongeSouls. However, what they lack in difficulty, they make up with humor and charm,I caught myself laughing several times at these boss fights due to the character over exaggeration and dialogue. Whether its a giant robot of patrick with a kick me logo or a singing in the shower jellyfish, it definitely gave me some chuckles.
I do have to say though even with all the praise I've been giving the game, there is a definite lack of enemy variety, like the original, there really isn't that many different enemies to face in the game and that part of it can feel extremely tedious. Going across 3 or 4 levels you'll encounter most of the same enemies you did in the previous level but this time maybe with just one more new enemy type to get in your way. Even though this is just a remake of the original classic, I feel they should've at least just added a few new enemy types to keep it a little more fresh.
As a collectathon, the game can be lengthy if you want it to be,but if you go just for the spatulas you need to complete the game,then you're looking at a 11-12 hour experience maximum. However, if you're a collection freak and want to collect everything in the game then you will most likely be able to squeak a good 15-16 hours out of the game if you work fast enough. With the way the game is structured, the 11-16 hour play time is more than enough to satisfy people without feeling like the game is padded.
Multiplayer: *Co-Reviewed with another person*
One of the new additions to this game is the multiplayer horde mode, where two people can team up local or online to take on and waves and waves of enemies that you faced in the main game. In this mode you get a choice to play as one of 7 characters: Spongeob,Patrick,Sandy,Gary,Mr Krabs,Plankton,Squidward. Each character offers a different way to play due to each one having their own attacks,in which they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Robo Plankton can shoot fire balls at a quick pace and hit enemies at long distances,however his mobility is severely limited. Meanwhile spongebob can use a spinning attack and has the best overall control for jumping and double jumping around obstacles.
The mode will not run you very long at all,its short,sweet and to the point. You and your buddy will push through 26 different islands that are filled with tons of enemies for you to take down. The whole ordeal will take you roughly 30 minutes depending on how proficient you are, 40 minutes tops if you're slow. Its definitely one of the weaker aspects of the game and it's something the game didn't really need. Even though it is really short, it can still offer a small amount of fun if you just want to hang out with a friend such as like what I did.
Myself and my special guest GotAhLotMore on PSN attempted several days to beat the horde mode,but we kept running into disconnection issues in specific parts of the game, such as Island 21 then Island 24. But stability after the day one patch improved enough to the point where we were finally able to conquer it in roughly 25-30 minutes of pure domination. On another criticism of the multiplayer I have,its the dang camera,for real, please fix the camera issue that myself and GotAhLotMore ran into that we both have complaints about. The camera doesn't zoom out or pan out when both characters move away from each other, instead it let's players go off screen and nearly always results in everyone's death. You literally can not see anything or tell what is going on.
After playing the original years ago, never actually finishing it,but finally beating the full game in this remake, I can say that the developers at Purple Lamp showed a lot of respect to this IP and this classic game by judging everything that I've played. From the graphics,sound design,frame rate, game play, everything that you loved about the original is here but enhanced and better than before. Sure there are downsides like lack of enemy variety or a multiplayer mode that feels like it doesn't belong, but if you like a good 3D platformer collectathon, you will enjoy this game a lot,even if you aren't a huge fan of yellow square boy with no fashion sense.
Spongebob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom- Rehydrated is out now on Playstation 4,Xbox One,Nintendo Switch,PC
*Review code provided by THQ Nordic