SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated brings the 2003 classic to life in spectacular fashion. Read on to see our thoughts on this stellar remake.
The lovely platformer from 2003 is back on the big screen with a shiny new coat, thanks to the seriously impressive efforts of THQ Nordic and Purple Lamp Studios. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is a gorgeous remake of the fan-favourite classic that takes players on a sweet nostalgia trip right from the get-go.
The story of the game sees the evil-plotting Plankton build a machine that gives birth to an army of robots programmed to complete his ever-elusive goal: steal the renowned Krabby Patty Secret Formula.
However, as it is of course a natural occurrence in the SpongeBob universe, the plan goes awry and Plankton ends up creating far too many robots than he can handle, who immediately take over the entirety of Bikini Bottom.
It is then up to SpongeBob and his friends to restore peace in Bikini Bottom by neutralizing as many robots as they can throughout multiple different areas, before finally heading to the Chum Bucket to solve the problem at its core.
Overall, the story is presented in a matter very authentic to the show, with witty jokes and over-the-top writing that is sure to evoke not only feelings of nostalgia, but those of genuine, silly, childlike happiness as well.
Being a 3D platformer, the game's core mechanics are kept relatively simple with emphasis on the puzzle solving aspect of the game - one that isn't too nerve-racking at that. You play the story mode with three characters: SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy - each with their own unique moves and skills.
The main lobby of the game functions as a hub that allows you to visit different areas where you have to collect numerous items in order to advance the story, the most important of which are Golden Spatulas.
On your journey, you will also come across many other collectibles, such as thousands of Shiny Objects that you can trade with Mr. Krabs for a Golden Spatula.
The controls are very straightforward and although they may feel a bit dated and a tad too simplistic at times, they still manage to complement the overall tone of the game quite well.
I played the game on the PlayStation 4 Pro and the performance - as expected - was buttery smooth with an occasional frame drop in tight areas where multiple destruction animations tend to take place.
Loading times aren't ideal, but they are not too bad either, though I did feel that camera angles were sometimes a bit hard to work with, especially given the fact that the instant you fall down in the water means game over.
But nevertheless, the way the remake feels and plays strikingly similar to the original is very much deserving of all the praise.
SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated offers two modes of play, one of those being the aforementioned single player story mode.
The second is a multiplayer mode that sees two players take part in a horde mode where they have to fend off waves of enemies who come crashing down through a number of different levels.
This mode can be played either offline with two players, or in an online co-op session. It's worth noting that, as opposed to the single player adventure, this mode allows players to choose from several other characters, such as Squidward, Gary, Mr. Krabs and so on.
Graphics and sounds
The graphics and audio department is where Rehydrated truly shines. Powered by the Unreal Engine, the game is a gorgeous eye-candy with vivid colours and very smooth animations.
All well-known areas from the SpongeBob SquarePants world are beautifully recreated, and despite being rendered in 3D, the overall look of the game is still very much representative of the iconic TV show.
The game's voice-over work is absolutely phenomenal, with perfect delivery from the voice actors we all know and love. Add to this the jolly soundtrack accompanying said voices, and you have yourself a complete SpongeBob SquarePants package.
From a relatively simple gameplay style with intriguing puzzles and free roam in multiple Bikini Bottom areas, to an authentic presentation both video and audio wise, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated has plenty to offer to fans of the hit TV series and newcomers alike.
Despite some minor flaws such as somewhat clunky and outdated controls, and at times annoying camera angles, I can still truly recommend the game to anyone looking to just kick back and enjoy a very innocent platformer that's all about pure, unadulterated fun.
A massive thank you to THQ Nordic for providing us with a PlayStation 4 copy of the game for this review.