Even though it is coming within a week of The Last of Us Part II's launch, you simply cannot ignore SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated when it is released on June 23. This remake of a classic 2003 3D platformer featuring a sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea looks better than ever before, and for any gamer who even remotely appreciates the SpongeBob show, Battle for Bikini Bottom is a must-play.
On Thursday, a brand new trailer for SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated was released, showcasing several different boss fights from the game, which all look accurate to the original game. After seeing this remake once more, we can tell that the game has the potential to be the sleeper hit of the summer, even when it's up against the likes of The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, and Paper Mario: The Origami King.
Reason #1: The original was a glorious nostalgia bomb!
Heavy Iron Studios and THQ first released SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom for GameCube, PS2, and Xbox in 2003. Licensed games based on TV shows typically have a stigma because they're often sub-par cash grabs, and that sentiment was even stronger in the early 2000s. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was able to buck that trend though as a well-designed 3D platformer that captured the humor and charm of the show while also delivering engaging gameplay.
While it wasn't as polished as the likes of Banjo-Kazooie or Super Mario 64, it still had a lot of heart, decent controls, and open-ended levels that realized parts of Bikini Bottom in ways that even the show hadn't done before. As a kid, it was awesome for me to see locations from the show come to life, and the game's chock-full of charm.
Even though the critical reception at release wasn't fantastic, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom has been able to stand the test of time as a cult classic that has an avid fanbase to this day. Battle for Bikini Bottom is worth playing regardless of what platform it's on, so it made sense for THQ Nordic and Purple Lamp to remake the game after striking a deal with Nickelodeon.
Reason #2: This remaster's visuals look even better than the show!
Remasters sometimes risk losing a bit of the charm of the games they are recreating, but that doesn't appear to be the case with SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. As the boss battle trailer above and other gameplay trailers show, Purple Lamp is going through great lengths to ensure that this is the game you remember, only better looking.
If you were a fan of the original, everything from the level design to the soundtrack seems to be intact and enhanced for modern platforms. If you haven't played the original, this is a solid 3D platformer that can tide you over until the 3D Mario remasters land on Nintendo Switch later this year.
Reason #3: This remaster adds more to the package!
If this game just recreated everything we remembered from the originals, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy style, that would be fine. The developers are going beyond that by adding in more content. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is getting a new multiplayer horde mode where players must try to survive together as waves of enemies approach.
GameSpot has also confirmed that some cut content from the original is making a comeback, including a fight against a robot Squidward. Even if you weren't impressed by the simple visual overhaul, this new content makes it enticing to both old and new fans and families looking for something to play together.
If The Last of Us Part II's serious and brutal nature is just a bit too much for you to handle during quarantine, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is a more lighthearted game to play with friends and family that should elicit nostalgia from fans of SpongeBob and 3D platformers alike. As such, this could end up becoming the sleeper hit of summer 2020.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated will be released for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on June 23, 2020.