Here’s some preemptive, full disclosure for all of you people. I am a huge Spongebob fan. I am a grown man, I have a job, a wife, and three kids, and I own all the episodes of Spongebob Square pants on DVD. I am not ashamed of this even in the least because I can appreciate good television when I see it. You can keep ‘The Voice’ and ‘Duck Dynasty’ or whatever other terrible junk that’s on television….I’ll take Spongebob, thank you very much. I tell you this so that you might be aware that there may be a modicum of partiality in the preceding review. I have the tendency to like anything that has to do with my porous hero and although this game is nowhere near game of the year status, I still had a lot of fun with it.
Spongebob hasn’t enjoyed the prolific exposure in video games this generation as he did in the glory days of the PS2. Battle for Bikini Bottom and The Spongebob Squarepants Movie the Video Game are still highly regarded among some platform fans but Spongebob has been conspicuously absent this go-round. Plankton’s Robotic Revenge is an attempt to bring him back to video game relevance at the tail end of the console cycle and it’s not as terrible a swan song as some might fear. Story-wise, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before: Plankton is trying to steal the Krabby Patty formula and Spongebob, Squidward, Patrick, Mr. Krabbs, and Sandy must team up to take him down. It’s a storyline that we’ve all seen a million times, but it somehow doesn’t get old with these characters and I hope it doesn’t for a long time.
The important thing to be aware of when going into this game is that this is most certainly a game tailor made for the younger sector of the video gaming audience, and on that front, it succeeds. It has very simple gameplay mechanics which consist of little more than keeping your finger on the fire button and jumping around on enemies. You can double jump and butt stomp most enemies and an overly generous lock-on system makes sure that you don’t even have to pay attention to what you’re aiming at as the screen progressively fills up with more and more robotic enemies. Drop-in drop-out gameplay is as easy as pressing “start” on another controller and the game supports up to four players at once. Besides the game being pretty easy (I died twice the entire game) it’s also pretty short. You could easily finish this game in one afternoon. Actually in half an afternoon. Heck, you can finish this game during a football game. It’s pretty short. There are only three different zones. Each zone is split up into several levels and at the end of each zone there is a boss fight. The gameplay, during the levels and the boss fights, do not progress in terms of mechanics much at all, but it stays consistently solid and fun throughout.
The high point of the game (especially for fans like me) is that the entire voice cast from the show provides voices for the game. This may seem like an obvious inclusion, but if you’ve played other Spongebob games in the past then you’d know how jarring and out of place it is to hear impersonators doing the voices of these characters that we’ve come to love over the years. Every voice actor gives it all the gusto that you’re used to from the show and the short length of the game help to ensure that the jokes and quips don’t get too old or annoying. The music is also classic Spongebob and it fits in perfectly.
It’s also the best looking Spongebob game we’ve ever gotten. That may not sound like much, considering it’s a game based on a 2D animated show, but Spongebob titles in the past have had the unfortunate tendency to render these characters with soulless, disturbing looks in their eyes. It’s almost as if they couldn’t decide between 3D animation and 2D, which left us with something in-between. Here though, everybody looks great and although quite simple and lacking in detail, the environments are colorful and pretty.
Although not anything that many gamers will pay attention to, Plankton’s Robotic Revenge wears it “kid friendly” aesthetic proudly on its sleeve and I can’t fault it for that. I played through the game with my two sons and they both really enjoyed it. If a kid’s game is ultimately enjoyed by kids, then I say kudos to the game developers.
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