Darksiders: Warmastered, Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-tered, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning and SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated. I have no idea who at THQ Nordic is in charge of giving these titles to remastered versions of their games but if anyone from there is reading this right now…..give them a raise! It’s not easy to be creative with these names but someone did it and did it well. Also, that Spongebob game from the list (no way in hell that I’m typing the full title every single time) is slightly different. It is the only game from the list where I haven’t played the original version. It is not a big issue since THQ Nordic has made a name for itself doing some excellent work in remastering older games, so let’s see how this one fares.
The city of Bikini Bottom is in grave danger. Various mechanical robots are wreaking havoc all over it, scaring its resident, and just generally making the whole place pretty undesirable as a tourist destination. All signs point to evil Plankton being behind it (although he vehemently denies it). It’s up to Spongebob, Patrick, and Sandy to save Bikini Bottom and the surrounding areas and maybe treat themselves with some nice Krabby Patty burgers once this is all over.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated (jeez, what a long title) is a platformer that veers heavily into a class of collectathons. Besides doing some usual quest for the residents of Bikini Bottom (collect a number of these, save a bunch of that), you’ll spend most of your time traversing huge levels and destroying robots. But what is there to collect? A better question would be what isn’t. You have seaweed that you get from destroying enemies and it’s sometimes used to open a new part of a level (remember gems from Spyro 2?), golden underwear, Patrick’s socks, and golden spatulas. Some of those are easy to find, some aren’t, some are given after a boss fight, some after revisiting previous levels with new abilities…….all in all – lots of work to be done here. What’s great about collectibles in this game is that it doesn’t pressure you in finding everything and yet you will still feel the need to do so. It doesn’t throw 10,000 things at you all at once (cough Assassins Creed II cough) and it is accessible to all with a plethora of content, whether we’re talking about collectibles or side quests. Now let’s talk about characters. Spongebob and his buddies have their own unique set of skills and some section of levels can only be completed with Patrick or Sandy. Luckily, there is always a bus stop or two (used for character change) planted through levels.
As far as remastering goes, I’m looking at some fine work here. Everything is polished to perfection, upscaled, upgraded, and reworked. Unfortunately, in all that endeavor devs got a little carried away and upgraded some visuals a bit more than it was necessary. I’m not gonna say that the color saturation is off the charts but it will definitely take some time to get used to. Yellow has been remastered to too yellow, green is upgraded to insanely green, and so on. It’s far from obnoxious but you can feel the occasional strain for your eyes, especially after you start the game just after you were playing something else. Other than that, everything else is perfect. No glitchy textures, no popups, no fps drops. The game is as firm and stable as Patrick’s house.
The game’s voice work is absolutely phenomenal and translates the atmosphere of the show very well. In fact, often you’ll get the feeling you’re watching one, with an added bonus of controlling a few characters. Also, some things will never stop being funny. Hearing Gary saying “meow” for the 100th time will never fail to crack me up. The soundtrack has also received some facelift, but since I’m hearing it for the first time, I can’t compare anything to the original. However, what I can say is that the music complements the setting and atmosphere of the game very well so what you will be listening while you trash robots are some damn jolly tunes – remaster or not.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a game that doesn’t go all-in for the nostalgia. It tries to create its own identity and it succeeds. While there are some setbacks to be found, such as cranked up colors and occasional labyrinth-like levels, it is a well polished and fun game. What really sold me on the game is the emphasis on exploration over combat. Sure, the game might be seen as easy as most enemies go down in one or two hits and they rarely pose any threat to you. And yet, kicking them apart never stops being fun. You see, you can’t really remaster fun, no matter how good of a developer you are. It’s either there or it isn’t. And the feeling of fun and awe is something I got to enjoy often while playing SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated. In the end, isn’t that all that matters, and isn’t that the foundation of what every good game should be built on? The last time I had had so much fun with a platformer was during my Spyro Reignited Trilogy plays. And that was three games in one! There is just one here and it’s well worth the fun and enjoyment for three.
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