A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SpongeBob HeroPants is an action game based on Nickelodeon's iconic TV series and movies. This game is closely tied to the release of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. It has some mild cartoon violence, such as characters punching and slapping enemies with an oven mitt or throwing burgers. The enemies are fantastic in nature, such as walking spatulas and robots.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Loosely based on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, SPONGEBOB HEROPANTS follows everyone's favorite underwater hero (sorry, Aquaman), who must save Bikini Bottom -- and the entire world -- from a mysterious menace bent on mass destruction. The simple yet lovable fry cook must team up with his buddies (and even nemeses) -- Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, Mr. Krabs and Plankton -- to find lost pages of a magical book so they can turn the tables and save the day. Players will navigate various levels, jump on platforms, unlock superpowers, fight enemies, and solve some puzzles. Xbox 360 players can take advantage of four-player drop-in/out cooperative ("co-op") multiplayer on the same TV.
Is it any good?
Unless you're a huge SpongeBob SquarePants fan who can't wait for this game to appear in the bargain bin of your favorite game store, there isn't anything too exciting here. It's fun to change among characters and unleash each one's superhero transformation, but this action-adventure hybrid doesn't offer anything new to the genre. In fact, even the familiar game mechanics -- such as collecting items (coins/keys/pages/lightning bolts and so on), platform jumping, and combat -- are boring. Some levels are too short and repetitive, and for some reason you can't jump and attack at the same. Plus, there are some graphical issues, such as characters who lose half their bodies inside an object, and character comments grow tiring quickly.
The game isn't a complete fail. It's hard not to fall for SpongeBob's infectious charm, and there's some variety in levels and characters, but overall this game feels more like a plug for the movie it's tied to than a competent standalone game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the consumerism of SpongeBob HeroPants. Is the well-timed release of this game (with the new SpongeBob movie in theaters) a move to capitalize on the brand? Or is it smart business?
Talk about what makes SpongeBob so engaging for kids. Is it his optimistic outlook on life? His willingness to help out his friends? What's appealing about him?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360
- Price: $29.99 to $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: February 11, 2015
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Ocean Creatures, Robots
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
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