I never got SpongeBob Squarepants. When he was in his pomp, I was in that awkward pre-teen phase where I thought I was too old to just enjoy it as a cartoon, but not quite old enough to be part of the older folk that watched. Because of that, I never played Battle For Bikini Bottom when it first launched in 2003. I have a vague memory of it coming out, but it just looked like your bog-standard, middle-of-the-road, collect-a-thon 3D platformer to me. And, for the most part, it is.
But, fans of the little yellow fella celebrated a mediocre licensed platformer, because it was a step above all the putrid Nickelodeon-branded rubbish that had come before it. It was Banjo-Kazooie, just not as good. And for anyone who loved the TV show, that was enough.
Over the last decade, a community has formed around this game, and have refused to let it die: speedrunners. They breathed new life into something that many of us forgot even existed. On a daily basis, people were finding glitches and exploits, as they looked to record the fastest completion time. Terms like hand-disabling, sponge-gliding and cruise-boosting were coined by diehards, as they continued to crack open BFBB. Without this lot, it’s safe to assume SpongeBob’s finest video gaming hour would’ve never got the remake treatment with SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated.
But, it’s not all about those who want to get through it as quickly as possible. BFBB’s following is full of adults that have a soft spot for the game, because it reminds them of simpler times. And, even though I’ve zero attachment to the bipedal cleaning tool, I can still appreciate that. Nostalgia gets all of us. Despite its flaws, I was beaming while I played the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, for example. So, if the original Battle For Bikini Bottom was an important game for you, chances are you’ll quite enjoy this shinier version.
Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated is out on Steam now.