What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that SpongeBob SquigglePants is a collection of wacky and weird micro-games (most only a few seconds long) that feature characters from the SpongeBob SquarePants TV show. A few of the micro-games feature cartoonish violence (the kind in which characters may have "dizzy stars" around their heads), but most are just strange, absurd, and wacky. Note that the Wii version of the game (which is what we reviewed) can only be played with the special uDraw tablet controller, which is sold separately.
What's it about?
A live-action pirate is your emcee for the varied collection of micro-games in SPONGEBOB SQUIGGLEPANTS. For each set of micro-games you complete, the pirate will unveil a new painting in SpongeBob's art gallery. Each painting -- and the micro-games associated with it -- features a different art style (abstract, Noir, comic book, '60s mod, and even pixilated retro-game style, to name a few). The games only last a few seconds each and you need to figure out the goal of each game within those few seconds. You may have to toss burgers to restaurant customers, pop balloons, erase a drawing, clean a statue, strum a guitar, or any number of other unrelated tasks. The game also features an art studio for coloring and drawing your own SpongeBob pictures.
Is it any good?
SpongeBob SquigglePants obviously owes a lot to the style and vibe of the WarioWare micro-game collections, but that fast-paced style and wacky, absurdist vibe fit perfectly with SpongeBob SquarePants, so it all feels very right. Many of the micro-games can be tougher to figure out than to actually play, but that's a big part of the fun. You get hints, of course, about the type of movement you need to perform ("tap," "shake," "draw," etc.), but it's still always a frantic rush of "What do I do?!" as soon as each micro-game starts. And once you've figured them all out, the game can keep your interest by speeding things up a lot. There are a few games that require a bit more precision than the uDraw tablet allows, which can be frustrating, but there are so many of these micro-games that you'll probably be willing to allow for a handful of clunkers in the bunch.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the violence in the game. Does cartoony violence have less of an impact on kids than realistic violence? At what point does the definition of violence change from cartoony to realistic?
Since you will inevitably fail at several of these micro-games, how do you deal with that failure? Do you think this game would be better if the micro-games came with instructions before each was introduced?