A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SpongeBob Moves In is a city-building simulation game that is based on the popular cartoon. Players complete an endless stream of tasks and build out their towns, using in-game cash. This is easily earned, but the time to build projects increases exponentially as the game progresses, which makes paying real money for these upgrades more tempting. There's no objectionable content or rude jokes, which are common in SpongeBob products, but the push for in-app purchases is noteworthy. Players on iOS devices can share scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
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What's it about?
Players are regularly tasked with challenges -- whether it's collecting rent or making five Krabby Patties -- and must tap on the appropriate building to do so. Each building has only a limited number of open slots for cooking or building items. To use other slots, players must pay to unlock them. Feeding characters what they want at just the right time results in bonuses, which range from more cash or starfish (which help you level up) to secret recipes. As the game moves into higher levels, players attempt to expand Bikini Bottom from a tiny town to one with a thriving population that is seen in the show.
Is it any good?
SPONGEBOB MOVES IN doesn't break any new ground as a city-building app, but overall gameplay is solid. Unfortunately, the game also is plagued with an in-app purchase model that borders on greedy, especially since players must pay $3.99 to download the app in the first place. Once you've sunk an hour or two into the game, the build times for anything of note become significant. That might be fine for players who only check in once or twice a day, but those players won't build a city anytime soon. To succeed otherwise, you'll almost have to spend money.
SpongeBob fans may appreciate the animated shorts as well as the use of the show's voice actors -- but there are only a few small vocal phrases repeated again and again. There are plenty of free city-builder games that follow this same formula, so, unless you're a die-hard SpongeBob fan, you're better off with one of those.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Price: $3.99 (with in-app purchases)
- Pricing structure: Paid (In-app purchases range from $1 to $100.)
- Release date: June 11, 2013
- Category: Simulation Games
- Size: 333.00 MB
- Publisher: Nickelodeon
- Version: 2.00
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love simulation games and Nickelodeon
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.