…is a deceptively dark game that will take you on an experience from charming to devastating.
PlayStation VR2 is really beginning to feel natural the more and more I use it. The motion sickness I would find with every session of the original PlayStation VR is not present here. Now without any sickness VR experiences are immersive, and the distractions of the outside world fade out. Before Your Eyes will take you on an immersive and emotional experience using only my eyes.
The game starts off with you as a soul on a ferry. The ferryman of the boat is a wolf who is taking you to be judged on the life you lived. On the way the ferryman wants to hear your story, all of it, from birth to death. Starting from a baby you experience some monumental moments, maybe too many, at first they are of birthdays, your first pet, learning the piano. As you age the weight of the world gets deeper, and more sorrowful. The ferryman brings you back from time to time and it’s here that you understand some unexpected events that reinterprets the whole story you’ve experienced. To say more would spoil a story that is one of the best narrative experiences I’ve played in a game.
Before Your Eyes is just that, every moment passes with the blink of your eye. The eye tracking never misses a beat, showing how well it works when the whole game is reliant on using it to function. When the narrative ramps up into adulthood I was blinking much more as my eyes tired and I would have scenes skipped faster than I wanted. Sometimes you blink forgetting that you shouldn’t and you are onto the next scene. When I was blinking more I enjoyed the pacing of the story better. Personally a downfall of the game is there is too much context to the story at times. One of my favourite games is Virginia and it cuts to the next scene before you are given all the context allowing for me to fill in the blanks and give my own interpretation to the story.
There was a bug that crashed the game for me when I was three-quarters through. When I booted it back up I had to start again, so I waited till the next day and finished it without any problems in one sitting. The game is so good that it didn’t even annoy me that I had to replay most of the game again. The second time I sat in a chair more relaxed and didn’t hold the Sense controllers. Towards the visuals, I think the screenshots in this post reflect an accurate look of how good the game looks in PlayStation VR2.
Before Your Eyes is a beautifully woven narrative that will leave you feeling very empathic by the end. This game is worth getting a PlayStation VR2 for.
The promise of VR to me is having the chance to explore new worlds. Kayak VR: Mirage lets you do just that with real places, from Antartica to Australia. This was the first game I fired up on the PlayStation VR2, not to Kayak, but to relax in.
I’ve never gone kayaking, however I do believe this title lets you experience a glimpse of what it feels like. If you paddle like you’re meant to your arms will experience the burning pain from using those muscles. Originally I was using the oar right until I found I could twirl my wrists in circular motions to give the same feedback as if I was kayaking properly. I didn’t purchase the game to race against others, which is I’m glad it feels secondary to exploring the wonderful sights.
There is an optional quest that can be found in each area that has you take an inflatable toy to another area. To do so you need to manoeuvre it with your Kayak and Oar. This sort of thing is fun. You also find areas that seem to be a trick on the eyes from afar until you paddle up to them and find it was real. This could be where the title Mirage comes into the game. You can choose to experience each map by day, night, and even stormy weather. The variety is great and keeps the maps feeling new and unique.
My favourite thing I did was chased a whale that I saw from one side of the map going above water. It was gone by the time I got there. So I stuck my head underwater and sure enough was able to see the whale still under the water moving. Every time I thought I was catching up to him I would stick my head back under the water and course correct. If you are right above him you can see him from above your Kayak too. Whenever I was close I was met with a bit of fear in sticking my head underwater in fear I would meet him face on. The beauty of VR in a game like this is sensing the size of things. After chasing the whale for some time I ended up feeling like Ahab. Ironically once the whale came up from the water at the front of my Kayak I achieved the trophy Moby Dick for spotting a whale.
If Kayaking is not your thing and you would just like to float about in open water on different maps this game will still be a treat for you. The price point is good and I feel like I have had my money’s worth without even pursuing the racing components of the game. Kayak VR: Mirage is a great title to show the family and friends. It may even work for some as a gym workout for the arms. Or just a game to warmup with before jumping into some VR games. Overall, Kayak VR: Mirage is a lovely experience.
From the outside, this game was a laugh when it came out last year. Are people seriously playing a power washing simulator? It’s popularity was in no small part due to it dropping on Xbox GamePass. The head scratcher wasn’t necessarily that people were playing it, but that they were saying it was great.
PowerWash Simulator is indeed just that, a cleaning simulator. Why not? Every simulator feels as though it has covered the rudimentary going ons of life. Simulators are popular and few stand out at the top like Farming Simulator and Train Simulator World. You approach every map with the goal to clean. Things are dirty like they’ve been sitting at the bottom of a lake. Starting with the simple power washer you can approach the dirt however you like from one side to the other or start in the middle. You can choose between different power wash models that offer stronger power, and attachments that allow for you to get into those hard to reach high spots.
One of the high points of the game is how beautiful looking it is. When you wash an area you don’t always know what exactly the colours are beneath the dirt, It wasn’t until the Playground level that I went from liking the game to loving it. In this level you when you wash the foam ground you get to see the colours come forth as if the playground was brand new again. Like an archaeologist discovering the past I was taping into my nostalgia and remembering playing on playgrounds similar to those. One of the down points is also in the game’s beauty because if you miss any specks of dirt it’s hard to complete some sections when it all looks clean to you.
This game has the most on point “ding” in gaming. Every time you complete one piece in a map to one hundred percent you are met with a “ding” chime similarly to the sound when you get a playstation trophy. Each time it gives you a slight endorphin rush for the next one, so you may think you are ready to call it quits for the session and instead find yourself finishing the map instead. Some of the bigger levels do feel daunting as they could take hours to finish, but I would suggest to split those up into smaller sessions because you do feel a bit of fatigue on the levels that span hours.
The Tomb Raider DLC is great. You get to go over Lara Croft’s Manor, her obstacle course, the Manor’s Maze, and finally the Manor’s Treasure Room. As you clean these maps you get messages from Lara’s butler Winston and Lara herself, making it feel a bit more engaging with the world. I did notice after every five minutes or so on these maps there would be a brief pause before the game continues playing again. Perhaps something that will be ironed out in the next update, or simply an isolated incident only I’m encountering. The quality of the Tomb Raider DLC is much better than I expected and seeing what’s to come with the Final Fantasy 7 DLC has me excited. I would love to see more of these post Final Fantasy 7, and I’m more than willing to purchase them because I don’t know how they could be just giving this content away for free.
This is a game I’ve spent the last couple of weeks engaging with as a relaxing game between other games. There is something to PowerWash Simulator that is hard to identify as fun, and maybe it’s not fun as much as it is a form of relaxation. What is the difference to something like this as there is to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle? PowerWash Simulator is a game to unwind with after a stressful day. I love that this game exists and will continue to be enamoured with it as they continue to support the game with further DLC. Give PowerWash Simulator a shot. Play it with some music, a podcast, or perhaps an audiobook. This is the universal simulator for everybody and with simple controls it’s made for everybody.
Available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
The spiritual sequel to Five Dates is bigger, and better.
Five Dates saw you take the role of a guy and choose from five video dates with women during the Covid lockdown. It was small in scope with a lot of charm and emotion. Ten Dates leaves the Covid lockdown setting behind for the fast and fun world of speed dating.
In Ten Dates you choose to play as Ryan or Misha. Both characters are friends with Misha being the one that cons Ryan into jumping onto the speed dating circuit. Both characters will each have four dates, with a fifth potential date should you wish for your character to have a same sex date. After doing the rounds, you choose two dates for a second date (if you were successful enough), and then one of those two for a final date.
Choices are selected with no real gameplay. When you see the relationships in the menu you can see how many different options there were with each date. It’s an easily replayable game to see the many alternatives. When replaying you can go through the scenes very quickly by skipping the scenes you have seen to get to the new stuff. The game is quick enough for you to pass the controller to someone else to try their luck. My partner played through as Misha so I had another perspective to the choices I wouldn’t have personally made.
It was clear from the trailer there was potential for same sex dating. The way they input that potential was creative for the male as his fifth speed date had to leave so the male host fills the spot. It’s not a date, just casual conversation at first and then it becomes clear that the opening is there if you want to pursue that host. There is only one same sex date, which would be considered a downside for those after that. Having this choice alongside being able to date as a woman is a huge increase in the scope from Five Dates.
I would say there is room for more of these dating simulators from Wales Interactive. They can spread their reach further to a more diverse selection of dates, or could invest in an entire game just for the LGBT community. There is something here that may find a huge audience outside of gaming and on Netflix in the future.
Overall, Ten Dates is almost better in every way to its predecessor Five Dates. The dates themselves are downgrades in terms of personality. Each personality feels very stereotypical as soon as you see them you can tell who they are. In Five Dates with a smaller dating pool there were many deeper qualities to the women and they were not typical of most stereotypes. I enjoyed Ten Dates, and for now I will be interested in Wales Interactive on a game by game basis if I find the narrative interesting.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
The selection of FMV games seem to have increased substantially in recent years. Now with Netflix exploring the gaming space and experimenting with choose your own adventure style films we might see these games act as a gateway to gaming for non-gamers. FMV games no longer require long loading screens or jarring gameplay, as the choices you make can seamlessly flow during the videos as they play. Five Dates feels less like a game and more like a movie you are in control of.
Five Dates is a game where you take control of Vinny’s choices as he signs up for digital dating during the pandemic. The first choice is Vinny’s profession, and then you choose three activities you like, with the final choice being Vinny’s star sign. Next you choose three of five women to go on a date with. Each woman has their own quirks, profession, and star signs that will affect the selections you gave Vinny. They will all accept the first date, but you will have to work harder for the second and third final date. After you’ve gone on the first three dates, you choose which two girls you would like to see again. If those two dates go successful you may choose one of those two for the finale.
Playing through the game twice I saw two hundred of the nearly eight hundred scenes. On my first playthrough I didn’t get accepted for a third date with my choices. So I played through again and this time had each woman accept the next date. I also chose the two women I hadn’t selected to see the variety in the characters. Pleasantly, all the characters were not at all stereotypical and the ones that seemed to be at first glance were deeper the more you got to know them. The second dates reveal many details about your dates as you play games like “Truth or Dare” with them. The third date is a dinner date where you both lay everything out. Vinny as your conduit though every choice plays the part well whether he is agreeable, or argumentative. At the end of each date Vinny debriefs with his best friend about how the date went. These interactions sell Vinny’s character depth to the player because you are seeing the side of him that is unabashedly truthful because he can’t hide it from his friend.
The pandemic is a brilliant device for keeping the characters from meeting up in real life, and plays a major part in the game. It’s amazing how well produced the game feels considering it was released during the pandemic too. It feels like they actually had the actors shoot their scenes from their own home. They are all wearing the same headphones, and I imagine they were just sent a camera, a microphone, and a light source as well. The actors are all unknowns, yet they make the scenes flow and bring the right emotion with the right level of volume as if they recorded the scenes together. All these things make the scenes string together better than any FMV game I’ve ever played making every choice feel real.
In the FMV space Five Dates is great. The developer Wales Interactive has figured out the formula for making memorable choose your own adventure games. This is a fun one to play with your friends or significant other and choose the choices together. If you want more gameplay than selecting a choice this game won’t be for you. You can finish this within an hour, and when replaying you can skip the scenes you’ve already completed allowing you to see what could have been. Ten Dates, the spiritual sequel is out tomorrow and promises a bigger budget, with characters dating in person. If it’s anything like this it’ll be another enjoyable experience.
Available on PS4, XboxOne, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac.
Dungeon-crawling RPG’s are becoming an ideal genre to relax to. It’s a genre that is slipping into the mainstream, just like the soulsborne genre before that. There’s something special to furthering the depths of a dungeon not knowing what’s coming and slowly exploring every inch of the map. Some are more action orientated like Hades, while games like Slay the Spire require intellect. Most use randomised elements that make every match feel different, although you never get a true sense of accomplishment like you do when conquering a level completely. Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society lets you learn the entire map over subsequent delves into the dungeons with so many layers combined in a unique and gratifying story.
The story begins with Eureka, a young noble woman who travels to Galleria Mansion after finding a job posting. After the witch, Madame Marta takes the chance on Eureka she gives her the job as her assistant. The two both answer to the Count of the manor who is seeking rare artefacts hidden underneath the grounds. Madame Marta sends Eureka along with her lantern Fantie to explore the labyrinth underneath the manor left behind by a previous owner years ago. She’s not sure how far it goes, but after finding the catalogue of Curios d’art the Count of the manor sends them out to collect them all. Every time Eureka hits an obstacle stopping her progress Madame Marta will find a solution for her to further her exploration efforts. Between each delve you meet new characters that become allies and a story that is seemingly much darker than the cheery disposition each character is conveying. In the later half of the game things are upturned in an unexpected and shocking way that will keep you hooked.
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society has a lot of content and game mechanics that are revealed with each map allowing you to go deeper into the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a massive puzzle that you must uncover step by step as the map is completely blank. In the beginning the path you carve out is very linear, and then you learn the spell Wall Break which lets you break down walls. After learning this skill your fundamental thinking of how to play this game changes. You find key items behind walls that are only accessible by breaking them down. Eventually you will have more obstacles that will require new skills and open up new ways to explore. From jumping over big crevices, to being able to hold your breath for longer under water. In the labyrinth you fight by using puppet soldiers. These puppets are given souls to come to life and you can customise their name and stats. You then allocate them to covens which allow for special move-sets and bonuses. You start off with a maximum of five puppets on you, until you unlock more covens allowing for you to hold up to forty.
The systems in combat can be overwhelming to learn, and I’ll say I’m still learning things I didn’t know. The more understanding of the combat you have the more you appreciate every battle, especially ones during boss battles that can wipe you out quickly if you are not well prepared. That leads to the difficulty, the game is not a cake walk or a sprint. You need to take your time and level yourself up sometimes before continuing. Each area has a helpful guide of what level you should be before taking it on. Even if you choose to go to an easier world, being the easier difficulty you still need to be careful of being overwhelmed by the difficulty spikes.
The art style is beautiful and juxtaposes the cutesy cutscenes with the gritty dangers of the labyrinth gameplay spectacularly. The character animation is great and something that is always a trademark of NIS games, as well as their deep RPG systems that let you level up your stats to intense heights. Considering the absurd amount of puppets you can have at your disposal it would have been ideal to have more choices in character portraits, as you will have multiple of the same character and can only change their portrait colour. The music is fittingly reminiscent of Disgaea games and goes well with the darker tone the game possess.
The game is being marketed as having fifty hours of gameplay, however I would say if you do finish it that quickly you are very skilled and have left a lot of areas unturned. There is a ton of content in this game that could have you even double the marketed time. The game was originally released in Japan over two years ago and in that time they have given the game a full English voice cast. The voice over is very well done and brings life to the characters. It would be great to see these localisation efforts have a quicker turn around time in the west.
Overall, Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society has a wonderful story with the deepest DRPG systems I’ve encountered. There is strong competition in gaming this year and this game may not find itself in the hands of everyone, but will be a surprise hit for gamers that do take the plunge. Hopefully the series continues and acts like a sister series to NIS’s mainstream hit Disgaea. This game is great up on the big screen, and feels at home on the handheld. I played much of it on the Backbone through remote play and hours would fly by laying on the sofa. Of all the NIS games I’ve played this is one of my favourites, and one of the best. May it leave its hooks in you too.
Review copy provided by NIS America.
Available from February 14th on PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
In all the years I’ve played Wolfenstein 3D, and Doom I never considered that this would be a game. Sure those games were reskinned by modders, and one was sold as Super 3D Noah’s Ark, which was officially licensed by id Software too. Fashion Police Squad in some ways is a successor to games like id Software’s original first person shooters. It’s a blast that feels like it’s from the past.
Fashion Police Squad is a retro first person shooter comedy. You play as Sergeant Des and you target crimes against fashion. Your targets range from grey dull suits, to socks with sandals, and even baggy jeans. To deal with these targets you use your arsenal of weapons dependent on the crime like shooting colour at dull suits, to shooting gnomes at socks with sandals, and using a whip on baggy jeans. Weapons will only work against the right crime, so you will be switching on the fly. A lot of the comedy is in the form of corny dad jokes. It’s humorous at the end of a firefight when each enemy has turned fashionable and there are words above them like “SEXY”. There are thirteen missions and each will take around fifteen to twenty minutes.
The first level is hilarious as you jump into a fresh feeling retro game with a comedy gimmick. This goes away quickly for the next few missions as the level design feels bland and repetitive. The early missions look the same, and you are just learning new enemy types. These missions act like a lengthy tutorial. Once you get halfway through the game every level is well designed and looks dramatically different from the rest, the story grabs you and you feel compelled to do the next mission. The second half of the game is so much fun it’s as if they had gone back to the first level and padded the beginning to extend the playtime. The bosses are innovative and spoof other popular games. The whip is the saving grace for this game feeling different and exciting. You use the whip as a grapple hook and traverse sections like that. This could be the difficulty spike that makes it harder for some players, but there are difficulty settings you can change to lower it.
There is nothing groundbreaking about Fashion Police Squad. I liked it. The best thing about the game is how much it feels like an old school first person shooter. If you like the retro pixel art aesthetic from the game and FPS’s you should like this game. The main annoyance of the game comes to certain sections where you are forced to swap your weapons constantly to defeat waves of enemies. By the end of the game I would be interested to see the developers make a sequel that plays with the following generation of game technology. Prices are all over the place with games these days on the PlayStation Network, however this one gets it’s price point right.
Available now on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
We’ve all played walking simulators, but have you ever played a riding simulator?
Season: A Letter to the Future is a serene game with moments of profound sadness. You start your journey as Estelle, a young woman with a passion for recording stories. She leaves her local village near the end of the season by bicycle to make records of the world around for posterity’s sake. Seasons in this fictional world are catastrophic and biblical in their transition. Estelle’s journey leads her to Tieng Valley, a place that resembles a small village from South East Asia. Here she learns of the Grey Hand society that are leading an evacuation effort on the village as a flood will wipe out the place at the season’s end. On the last day for evacuating the village, Estelle explores the land and its remaining people by recording their stories, taking photos, and recording sounds. The end goal of Estelle’s journal is to take it to the museum, like the Smithsonian, that can keep the records for the future generations.
The gameplay is very simple as you have a journal, a camera, a microphone, and a bicycle. By using the journal you create your own little narrative by the way you align the photos you’ve taken. Five photos will usually complete the location, not that you need any, but they do make for an enjoyable looking journal at the end. The camera was great, and if anything extended my gameplay by hours as I was trying to align the best shots. I want to say I took probably three hundred photos throughout the game, most of them having no relevancy towards the story. Two-thirds into the game I found I was not taking as many photos so I could get through the story faster. The microphone is an element I rarely used, even though I appreciated how good it felt to use. For a game that wants you to primarily utilise a bicycle, it was fine. You would press L2 and R2 to move the bicycle and would feel the tension in the Dual Sense Controller’s adaptive triggers when doing so. The problem with the bicycle was the camera angle when using the bicycle, it would easily steer off or not keep up when turning the bike on tight corners, and that would detract from the beautiful vistas you pass.
The mission structure was mostly up to you once you explored Tieng Valley, you could choose to uncover all the clues by taking corresponding photos of each area to learn more about the place. You could effectively skip most of it and just be riding a bicycle ignorant to the place and its people. I’m not usually into these fantastical stories in alternate worlds however it seemed grounded enough by talking to the villagers and learning their very human struggles. Most of the villages are dealing with loss, whether that be of a loved one, memories, or time. It’s interacting with the villagers where I enjoyed this game the most because the writing is always profound, and the voice acting is excellent. If the writing was sub par I would probably enjoy just riding around the bicycle in a meditative state.
I went into the game not expecting much story, I was frankly surprised how much story there was. When it was over I wanted there to have been tons more of the narrative. I would have liked for there to have been more villagers spread across the map, while there isn’t, it did make the weight of the situation feel more real. Riding around in the village I was thinking about how this will all be gone once the flood came. Everyone had to uproot their lives to and leave their memories to be washed away. I played it for the most part in one sitting making the game feel parallel to Estelle experiencing the village for one day. I think the game works better like that. You would lose something if you played this game over a week or two.
Season: A Letter to the Future may very well be a beautiful looking game, but for me it’s like a series of depressing poems and I revelled in that. This game will appeal to those who enjoy walking simulators, great writing, and meditative backdrops.
When THQ was brought back from the dead as THQ Nordic they started by remastering classic titles in their catalogues. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was among those titles. Most of these titles resembled the original content to a fault, and felt of their generation with modern graphics. Since then THQ Nordic has faithfully remastered most of these games and now they are onto making brand new sequels. What is yet to be determined is the quality of the new games, so far we got a middling Saint’s Row, a lack lustre Destroy All Humans multiplayer game. So how does SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake fair?
SpongeBob SquarePants is back with another grand adventure. This time after buying wish-granting mermaid’s tears SpongeBob grants the town wishes. Of course SpongeBob’s do good attitude goes wrong and Bikini Bottom is sent into peril as a cosmic shake pulls the place apart, sending them throughout different universes. To repair Bikini Bottom and bring back together the universe SpongeBob must jump into each of these cosmic breaks and set things right. There are seven worlds to explore throughout these cosmic breaks from the popular Jellyfish Fields (with a Wild West theme), to Rock Bottom (with a Halloween theme).
The Cosmic Shake starts off as a slog. Those first couple of hours including the first world you visit are mediocre at best. SpongeBob can only jump in the first section of the game, and is only given a simple attack in the first world. This piecemeal approach works great from the second world, but the beginning needed more thrills. Once you get the Karate Kick in the second world the gameplay becomes a joy, and with every world after your move-sets just get even better. The story is fun and brings the platforming altogether more than most platformers do.
There is effectively twenty years between The Cosmic Shake and Battle for Bikini Bottom, however there is not twenty years of refinement in the gameplay. The Cosmic Shake is a much more enjoyable experience than Battle for Bikini Bottom partly due to the refinements. Battle for Bikini Bottom was a PlayStation 2 game and is as you would imagine a PlayStation 2 game to be. You are never lost in The Cosmic Shake as the main path is always clearly shown, whereas Battle for Bikini Bottom would have me back and forth looking for my objective. The combat feels great and flows well in The Cosmic Shake, yet the hitboxes felt unfair in Battle for Bikini Bottom. The results are all positive and as a AA feeling platform it sits well amongst it’s comparable competitors and above Battle for Bikini Bottom.
Overall, The Cosmic Shake has a nice constant progression that fails in the beginning and triumphs in the end. Each world feels well designed with replay value to find all the collectables. As far as games that are made with children in mind this one is near the top. A lot of care is given to creating an authentic SpongeBob SquarePants story that fans will appreciate. If we get more of these every couple of years I’ll be there enjoying my platforming fill.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows.
SpongeBob SquarePants is pretty great. It’s like a modern-day Ren and Stimpy that looks more kid friendly. There are so many jokes that will go over a child’s head, which is what you want so you can watch it too. In my opinion it’s the show closest to the popularity of Looney Tunes back in its day. Children love it and adults enjoy it too. There have been three feature films with a fourth in development. SpongeBob is reaching it’s twenty-fifth anniversary next year and shows no signs of slowing down. This year will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. What better way than to play this game and celebrate the release of the spiritual successor SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake.
Licensed games these days are really terrible as there is not enough time to simultaneously release them alongside the media, especially when it comes to movies where developers need those production assets. The PlayStation 2 had much smaller development cycles due to the simplistic nature of the graphics and level designs so they were able to make quality products in time. Battle for Bikini Bottom didn’t align with any tie-in to the show, however it did come out within five years of the show’s launch and it would have been a few years in before the show’s success warranted a game. The following year saw the The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie game release with the same developers. These quick turn around times were astounding for a game that when remastered still feels fresh amongst modern games twenty years later.
Battle for Bikini Bottom sees Plankton once again trying to steal the recipe for the Krabby Patty. This time he builds a machine that creates robots, armies of robots to do his bidding and take the recipe. These robots before long go against Plankton and wreck havoc to Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy must defend Bikini Bottom by ridding the robots that have managed to spread throughout every location. Explore fan favourite areas from Jellyfish Fields, Rock Bottom, to even the Flying Dutchman’s Graveyard, and many more. You will battle mini-bosses like King Jellyfish and the Flying Dutchman. Big bosses include Robo-Sandy, Robo-Patrick, SpongeBob SteelPants, with Robo-Squidward exclusive to this Rehydrated edition.
As someone who never played the original game, I find this game to be fun and nostalgic for classic SpongeBob episodes. The game is segmented into levels and each level is fairly big, like the Ratchet and Clank games from the PlayStation 2 era. To access levels you will need to collect Golden Spatulas, you don’t need every one in each level to move onto the next, but you will want to collect as many as you can as you progress. The original voice actors are used and really sell the immersion of feeling like you are playing an episode of the show.
The surprising thing about this game is how difficult the second half of it is. There is a dreamworld level that’s difficulty is exponential to the rest of the game. It seems designed to be more of a challenge level than anything else, even still the second half of the game will see you dying a lot. This did take away from the fun I was having when I was replaying the same areas over and over again. The combat is not great, where I feel I’m not connecting to the enemies as well as I should.
Overall, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a fun trip down memory lane to PlayStation 2 platforming and exploring classic SpongeBob locations. It’s not as child friendly as you would think as the difficulty spikes take away from the enjoyment. That said I still think this is a good game, and has a lot of room for improvement that could be rectified with the sequel SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake out this week.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.