The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

Jak II may have thrown the platforming rulebook out of the window, but many games still walk that well trodden route of unoriginality. Some may pass games like SpongeBob off as just another generic platformer and then avoid it like a deadly contagious disease. Innovation is always a nice thing for a game to showcase, but going back to the platform barebones still provides us with some enjoyable gaming moments, as evident in SpongeBob’s latest.

Unsurprisingly this SpongeBob title is based on the movie, which spawned from the mega popularity of the cartoon series. Bob, the leading character also strangely happens to be a yellow sponge and as a platform character he has oodles of personality and is rather refreshing at the same time. The story follows that of the movie and will obviously make much more sense to the large population of fans.

Platform games don’t come any more generic then Bob’s, this is a title that literally has nothing to identify it in the ocean of conventional platformers. Platform games are driven by their characters though and as basic and uninspired as he may sound to the uninitiated, SpongeBob does shockingly work as a part of interactive entertainment.

It may be based on a kid’s franchise but we definitely can see that the personality of the show has rubbed off on this game in abundance; this is clear in everything from the characters to the controllable Patty Wagon vehicle. Taking control of SpongeBob and his faithful companion, Patrick the Pink Starfish, both characters have their own exclusive moves, making each an individual. The odd duo can even be upgraded in various ways.

Gathering weights littered around the levels will eventually result in earning an upgrade point, which can then be used to present one of the two characters with a boost in health or improve one of their moves. It’s a nice additional layer to all the jumping around and collecting and is kept to a simplistic minimum, assuring that it never becomes too interfering.

Returning to the subject of collecting, at the heart of the game are the Goofy Goober tokens. These major items are sometimes needed to learn a particular move, which you can’t progress onwards without. You’ll often find yourself having to backtrack to complete challenges you may have skipped or tasks that you couldn’t access previously for one reason or another. Switching between characters at certain points is also an option during levels, enabling you to undertake character-tailored tasks. Then there are the treasure chests, which unlock new stuff in the extras menu when found, providing you with extra incentive to go off the linear path and do some exploring.

Levels are inspired by scenes from the movie and offer some interest beyond the by numbers jumping around. The Patty Wagon isn’t exactly a Porsche, but it’s a vehicle that fits nicely into the SpongeBob universe. Sliding down a hill in a bathtub is another means of travel in this surreal underwater cartoon world. It’s all naturally enjoyable stuff.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is all about traditional platforming and the lack of any attempt of innovation may not sit well with many people. This is a shame as Bob and Patrick’s jaunt is an unoffending title bursting with character, which has very little wrong with it and is also rather easygoing for the kiddie target audience as well as the unseasoned player.

7/10

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