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Spongebob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a remake of the 2003 game with the same name. The animated comedy television series on Nickelodeon is a cult classic. Developed by animator Stephen Hillenburg in 1999, it ran for twelve seasons, and has recently been renewed for a thirteenth. Two spinoff series and two movies have been made along with appearances in a whole range of media which includes comic books, music, a stage musical, a freemium mobile game, and even a gosh dang theme park.

The weight of rising up to the occasion has never been heavier, with 21 years worth of fan nostalgia and expectations tied to it. When licensed games are seldom good, will this game with an incredibly long name be able to escape that curse? Let’s dive in – to Bikini Atoll at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Bikini Atoll
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Story & Narrative

If you are looking for logic and reason – let me get this straight for you: look elsewhere. If you are looking for a fun time or are a big fan of the absurd humor of the television series, jump in right now!

The game starts right off the bat when Plankton creates an army of robots but fails to control them. You can switch between three characters – the likable Spongebob, the dimwitted Patrick, and the smart Sandy, in your quest to defeat the robotic enemies running amok in Bikini Bottom.


You come across well-known and beloved characters such as the ill-tempered Squidward, the owner of the famous fast food joint Krusty Krab – Mr. Krabs, the paranoid teacher Mrs. Puff, sentient soap bubble Bubble Buddy, the geriatric superhero duo – the amnesiac Mr. Mermaid Man and the irritable Barnacle Boy, muscular lifeguard Larry the Lobster, pirate specter Flying Dutchman and the God of the Sea – King Neptune. Throughout the game’s colorful levels, these characters hand out tasks for you to complete.

The childish charm of the cartoon shines through the narrative of the game – witty one-liners, silly comebacks, and slapstick comedy are some of the main highlights of the story. With countless nods to its source material, this game is a must-play for the fans!

Gameplay and Mechanics

This game can be touted as the textbook definition of pure platformer gameplay. You start off in the hub area of Bikini Bottom, with levels gated off depending on their difficulty. You embark on a marathon for collectibles – golden spatulas, shiny objects, and Patrick’s socks – which in turn opens up more levels thus creating an enjoyable gameplay loop.

Spongebob’s bubble-blowing attacks, Patrick’s brute force and throwing capabilities, and Sandy’s aerial lasso skills can be used to your advantage while battling 15 types of enemies with varied attack patterns. If you fall down into the goo, the void, or fail to move away before an enemy attack, you pick up underpants and regain life. Every few levels, you will encounter boss battles. All of them are neatly designed with unique ways to defeat them.

Jellyfish King
You shouldn’t have interrupted his shower – Jellyfish King Boss Battle

You cannot switch willy-nilly – every level has Spongebob and another character – either Patrick or Sandy, depending on the design. Many levels require Patrick to use Throw Fruits or Freezy Fruits, while others need Sandy’s aerial maneuvers to get to hard-to-reach places. This frequently changes the pace of the gameplay and keeps it interesting.

One of the unique challenges in the game are the races – where you tongue-slide on narrow precipices across convoluted tracks to reach the finish line before a timer ends. Finding the shortcuts and using muscle memory to win these races were a blast!

The game is quite user friendly, with fast travel boxes and generous saves and checkpoints. There is no point where you might rage or throw your controller at the wall, as the gameplay is forgiving and there is no need to recollect items if you die right after.

A lot of cut content from the original game has also been restored. Some of them being the fight against Robot Squidward, Patrick’s dream, and the second phase of the Robot Spongebob fight. There is also a secret ending if you collect all the spatulas! The wave-based co-op was a little disappointing though – it could have been fleshed out better.

Visuals, Performance & Sound

Each game level in SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is bright and vibrant, peppered with loving recreations of iconic locations, complete with immaculate attention to detail. High-quality textures, support for higher resolutions, lighting with enhanced specular and bloom effects, underwater skyboxes, the absurd amount of particle effects in the form of bubbles, and the effective use of draw distance elevate the game’s graphics to another level!

Jellyfish Fields
Prancing around in the Jellyfish Fields

The graphics have seen significant improvement from its original – characters, tikis and even the robots have been redesigned to fit the current colorful art direction of the television series. Animations are fluid and the controls are snappy – I played on a controller and it was a hoot!

There are hilarious references to popular memes – starting from the surprised face of Patrick, the idle clucking animation of SpongeBob, the hidden easter eggs, and the numerous fan-service artwork scattered everywhere, and they’re reminders of the love with which the developers have crafted this game.

Some minor problems that I encountered only twice were glitches that could get you stuck in the environment geometry – reloading the checkpoint immediately fixed it. Advanced real-time character shadows were missing – a feature sorely expected in a modern game. The game boundary is also not well defined for certain stages – violating them will result in being pulled in by the captain’s hand!

Level Boundary
Don’t venture there!

The audio tracks are like ear-worms – very difficult to get rid of even when you are not playing the game. The cheer and happiness bursting from every beat of the game is downright infectious! Almost all of the major voice actors return for this game and help immerse you in the story. Characters often spew parody dialogues which are references to movies like Terminator, Scarface, Apocalypse Now and Star Trek 2. The springy sound of SpongeBob’s jump, the ground pound of Patrick’s belly slam and many more do justice to the frenetic platforming of the game.


SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated draws inspiration from the best of the SpongeBob TV series and manages to recreate a fun and challenging platformer suitable for all ages. Strategic combat and tough boss battles along with casual puzzle elements and crazy racing levels, make this game a remake worthy of your attention!

Disclaimer: PC (Steam) review copy provided by the developers with no riders.

Looking for something more?

Still hanging around, checking for more information? Check out our previous reports on the trailer and collector’s editions!


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