PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH, XBOX ONE | RELEASE DATE: 23RD JUNE
Originally released in 2003, Battle for Bikini Bottom was never really known for being one of the classics but it's gained some notoriety in recent years thanks to its slightly baffling involvement in the speedrunning community. The subsequent re-appraisal of the game itself has resulted in it being deemed a “cult classic” by many, which possibly explains how, in 2020, we find ourselves playing a 17-year-old SpongeBob Squarepants game that most people had forgotten even existed.
When Plankton decides to take over Bikini Bottom with help from an army of robots, it's down to SpongeBob and his friends to save the day. Playing as SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy, your job is to explore several areas of the underwater city and collect tons of “shiny objects,” golden spatulas and... Patrick's socks, while simultaneously laying the smack down on tons of mechanical menaces. Each character has a couple of unique abilities which give access to areas that others can't reach, but the main differences between them pretty much come down to how far/high the characters can jump, and which voice you're going to hear repeating the same handful of soundbites...
Rehydrated polishes things up nicely in the visual department, adds a few bits of content that had been cut from the original release, and includes an all-new horde mode where two players take on waves of enemies. The gameplay hasn't been altered in any noticeable way, remaining the same as it was back in 2003, which could either be a blessing or a curse depending on your affinity with the original game.
There are some genuinely excellent moments tucked away here and there, but the simplistic nature of BfBB doesn't translate too well to the modern day (although, in its defence, not too many games from the early 2000s have stood the test of time). Throw in the relentless quips, silly voices, seriously repetitive music and high level of general wackiness, and it seems that playing Battle for Bikini Bottom should probably be reserved for those with fond memories of the original or younger players who are already on board with the source material.