I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably asking yourself right now, “WTF, why’s this wiener reviewing some crappy SpongeBob game?” A couple weeks ago, I might actually have agreed with you; licensed games usually are mediocre at best, and when it comes to handheld licensed games, you’re pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality.
However, SpongeBob SquigglePants 3D has a couple things going for it. For one, it’s developed by WayForward, who has a habit of making immensely enjoyable games, regardless of the subject matter. Two, SquigglePants is a collection of microgames, which can be pretty difficult to screw up, especially if you’re like WayForward and you know what you’re doing. Add those together, and you get a surprisingly enjoyable game that I would recommend to anyone who owns a 3DS.
There’s not much to SpongeBob SquigglePants 3D; if you’ve played any of the games in the superb WarioWare series, you know what to expect. The only difference is the setting; the quirks and straight-up weird subject matter of the SpongeBob universe is definitely present here in full force. If you’re any sort of fan of the show, you’ll enjoy the nods to the charm and appeal of the cartoon. If you’ve no idea what SpongeBob is all about, this may even entice you to go look up a few episodes.
Microgames are grouped by various clever “genres” that really highlight the creativity WayForward pumped into SquigglePants. You of course have the pixilated retro games, but you also have “punk rock” games, along with B-movie games and other goodies. Each grouping of games is stark in their aesthetic, resulting in a microgame collection that’s just as varied as the WarioWare series, if not moreso. All of them look wonderful too, as the art style of each is surprisingly vivid and definitely easy on the eyes.
Most of the microgames are equally creative as well, thanks to the 3DS’s multiple selection of inputs. Players will tap, drag, or draw with the stylus in most games, while some games employ the 3DS’s gyroscopic capabilities to tilt and shake their way to victory. A few of the games may seem finicky, and the lack of any “boss fights” and captivating bonus games is a bummer, but ultimately the collection is solid, and almost certainly replayable.
If you’re wondering about the 3D, it’s subtle, and not something that’s too intrusive. It works well with all the microgames, which don’t rely on the 3D for any gameplay gimmicks, thankfully. In terms of eyeball-melting, it probably only lightly scalded my corneas. WayForward knew that SpongeBob SquigglePants 3D would appeal mostly to kids, so they’ve done the smart thing and made only the games 3D. Meaning, when you boot up the game or are in the main menu, there’s no 3D of which to speak.
So that raises the question: if you’re a “core” gamer, would you enjoy SpongeBob SquigglePants 3D? The answer to that is a hardy, confident YES. Even though WayForward knew they were making a children’s game, they didn’t make the gameplay brain-numbingly easy or lazy in any way. While other studios advertise their children’s games as being “fun for all ages”, SpongeBob SquigglePants 3D truly lives up to that; if you’re a fan of microgame collections like WarioWare and Rhythm Heaven, you will most certainly have a good time with this one.
Then again, I’m an immature, childish manchild, so what do I know?