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 SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated is an action game for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Windows PCs. It's an updated remake of a 2003 game of the same name, and is obviously inspired by the titular cartoon, which has inspired numerous toys, movies, other games, and a mountain of merchandise. Like the cartoon, it has a couple of cheeky jokes, including one line about a character "having fudge in their pants" and another getting "a frozen wedge." There's also a truck full of manure, and SpongeBob's lives are measured in how many pairs of underwear he owns. Players also use their fists or stomachs to bop enemies, and can shoot them with bubble missiles, but the game's cartoony approach means there's no blood or gore.
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What's it about?
In SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: BATTLE FOR BIKINI BOTTOM: REHYDRATED -- a remake of 2003's SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom -- Plankton goes full supervillain when he unleashes an army of robots in yet another attempt to steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula. So, of course, it's up to SpongeBob and his friends to stop them. This, for the most part, requires you to smack robots and other enemies, solve puzzles so you can get to new areas full of those enemies, and run and jump your way through obstacle course-like worlds. All of that action will lead you to more areas so you can get to more enemies in need of a smackin'.
Is it any good?
In his never-ending quest to steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula, Plankton has unleashed an army of robots, and it's up to SpongeBob and his friends to save the town and the secret recipe. In SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated -- a remake of the 2003 game of the same name -- players get to be the titular sea creature and long-time Krabby Patty employee as he battles these enemy robots. Spongebob will also solve puzzles, and make his way to the next robot fight or puzzle by running and jumping through some crazy obstacle course-like levels. There's even times when you can opt to change characters, like when you need to be Patrick so he can toss a watermelon and hit a gate-opening switch.
As for this Rehydrated remake, not only does it dramatically upgrade the game's two-generation old visuals and musical score, it also adds a new two-player co-op multiplayer mode that's fun if you work together. It even restores some small bits that were cut from the original. But as fun as this remake may be, especially if you enjoyed these kinds of games seventeen years ago, it does crib hard from games of the platforming genre (SpongeBob Bandicoot anyone?), and feels less evolved than more recent games of this type. But if you can accept SpongeBob for who he is, or what this game is, you'll find that SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated is as clever, goofy, and ultimately as much fun as the cartoon that inspired it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated affected by the cartoonish violence that's showcased? Does having combat in this game seem necessary? Does it fit with what we know and love about SpongeBob?
In SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated, Plankton has made evil robots so he can steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula, but how would you feel if someone took something of yours without asking?
Clearly, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated was made for fans of the cartoon, but do you think they also made it to get gamers to watch the cartoon? Does it make you want to watch the cartoon?
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