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Review

SpongeBob SquigglePants 3D (3DS) Review

by August 1, 2011

I’m admittedly not a huge fan of SpongeBob SquarePants and every single person I speak to makes me feel like I’m less of a human being for it. It’s a bit weird, but for some reason the series just doesn’t appeal to me. However, it appears to have lasted this long on TV for a reason and just like any good franchise, there’s bound to be the odd adaptation of it in video game form. SpongeBob SquigglePants 3D is the first SpongeBob game for the Nintendo 3DS, and unfortunately it’s not anywhere near as great as the (in my opinion) last great SpongeBob game, Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition, but SquigglePants does borrow heavily from another certain Nintendo game and adds its own signature charm to it.

SpongeBob SquigglePants is essentially a WarioWare clone developed by the now revered developer WayForward. Players will seek to complete “nanogames” in order to join the SpongeBob SquarePants Fan Club, which is run by Patchy the Pirate. Players will see themselves immersed in all different kinds of stylistic depictions from that point on. Each “set” of the mini-games are illustrated in a unique and very appealing artistic style which is something we’ve definitely come to expect from WayForward, and they don’t falter here.

Due to these varying levels of artistic direction, however, there simply isn’t a well implemented 3D effect in sight. Players will easily wade through hundreds upon hundreds of mini-games without actually seeing more than ten or so games that utilise a decent 3D effect. During some levels, the 3D slider being up to full won’t even seem to make a difference and the levels will still feel really flat and drab. Some levels don’t even use the 3D effect, though this is due to the gyroscopic feature, which can be excused.

Those of you who have played the WarioWare games will have a pretty good idea of what to expect from SpongeBob SquigglePants. Players have to “survive” their way through a whole bunch of mini-games that don’t really give you too many instructions on what to do outside of random one-word instructions. The games themselves are incredibly simple, however most of the difficulty will arise from the pressure the game puts on the player, with many games lasting no more than five seconds; they’re over pretty damn quickly. Controls themselves are varied between the different sets, and having to switch between different methods can be a bit daunting for younger users, and maybe some more mature players too.

Generally speaking, the game doesn’t put up much of a fight once the player gets acquainted with the main mechanics, and most of the difficulty will arise from the ambiguity of the instructions given to the player. Although this kind of ambiguity feels like a bit of a downfall, there are times when the ambiguity combined with the show’s now-trademark humour lead to some pretty hilarious moments, which I do have to give the game credit for as a piece of entertainment.

Still, the game is by no means difficult and when it’s all over within around about an hour (or two at the absolute most), there is absolutely nothing to do with the game besides working to beat your previous high scores. You can mix up the game outside of their usual sets with the “Remix” mode or even play them through at an almost breakneck pace in “Hyper Remix” mode but generally speaking these aren’t extra modes that will have you clamouring for more.

On top of the hundred or so mini-games, there’s also an art studio kind of function that allows players to use character stamps and brush effects to create custom made drawings with SpongeBob assets. It’s a nice addition to the overall package but ultimately a bit of a perplexing and, dare I say it, pointless inclusion. SpongeBob SquigglePants essentially falls victim to the same problem Super Monkey Ball 3D did, in that the content provided is great but there simply isn’t enough to make it a worthwhile package.

The soundtrack for SpongeBob SquigglePants is composed of classic tunes that any fan will instantly recognise from the TV series, as well as some newer fast-paced tunes designed to amp up the pace of the game and help keep the player under pressure, which is also a nice touch. Most of the voice actors seem recognisable, with a standout performance from Tom Kenny as Patchy the Pirate.

SpongeBob SquigglePants is a decent WarioWare clone that makes good use of the SpongeBob license, although there’s unfortunately not enough content to keep the player’s interest for too long.

Graphics 8.0

A nice mix of varying art styles that really hammers home WayForwards artistic finesse. The lack of a decent 3D effect really brings this down though.

Gameplay 7.0

A nice and competent clone of WarioWare that feels just right with this franchise, however the ambiguous instructions may prove to be a bit confusing for first-time players. Multiple control schemes may be confusing for younger players.

Sound 7.0

A good collection of classic tunes from the SpongeBob franchise as well as some fast-paced tracks that will add to the pressure of this fast-paced game.

Tilt 4.5

Theres barely enough here to last the player past an hour, although some younger players may find a bit more of a challenge and stretch this to two hours (but this really is a stretch). An art studio is included but doesnt feel that necessary or substantial.

Value 6.0

Despite my lack of interest in the series, I did enjoy SpongeBob SquigglePants although it was all over way too soon for my liking.

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Final Thoughts

SpongeBob SquigglePants is a decent puzzler designed in similar vein to WarioWare, although the significant lack of content and debilitating lack of replay value really bring down the value of the overall package. Those diehard fans of the series (I know you definitely exist) should have no hesitation in picking this up, but be warned its definitely not worth the full price tag.

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About The Author
James Mitchell
Avid gamer since I was as young as three years old when I received my first NES. Currently studying full time and consider myself a balanced gamer. Enjoy games on all systems, from all genres, on all platforms. Sometimes feels like he's too optimistic for this industry.

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