SpongeBob HeroPants (3DS, 360, Vita)

SPONGE_BOXA new SpongeBob SquarePants movie was recently released in theaters, and features the cast of the Nickelodeon hit cartoon in the real world.  Fully computer animated in 3-D, SpongeBob and friends fight evil by turning into silly superhero versions of themselves.  Now you can continue their super adventures with SpongeBob HeroPants for 3DS, 360, and Vita (reviewed on 3DS here).

I was a little confused by the storyline.  The print media says that after the events of the movie, SpongeBob’s dreams accidentally appear in Bikini Bottom and he and his friends must use their super powers to stop them.  But in the game, a talking dolphin comes out of a portal and tells them to use their super powers to collect pages from a magic book.  Maybe all this would make sense if I went to see the movie (ain’t gonna happen), but I don’t think it really matters.  SpongeBob HeroPants is a 3-D platforming beat ‘em up, and plays very similarly to the last SpongeBob game I reviewed.

In the game, you can choose to play as SpongeBob, Patrick (the best character in the show, I think), Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Plankton.  Each character can jump, double jump, use melee attacks, and collect Krabby Patty bombs from crates to use to attack long distance enemies.  There is a meter on the top of the screen that, when full, you can press a button to activate each character’s super hero mode.  In this form, the characters have stronger attacks, high jumps, and unlimited long distance projectiles.  But they can’t stay in this form very long, so use this power wisely.

Coins are scattered about levels for you to collect to purchase upgrades at the end of each stage.  You can also pick up keys and pages to help you progress in the levels.  While this game isn’t terribly bad, it’s not very interesting either.  The 360 version lets four players play at the same time, so that may be fun for a group of young SpongeBob fans, but the portable versions are solo only.  I also wish you could go back and play previous levels, but that doesn’t seem to be an option at first.  Only young, die-hard SpongeBob fans will get the most out of this title.


Kid Factor:

SpongeBob HeroPants is rated E with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Cartoon Violence.  SpongeBob and friends attack bubbles, robots, and spatulas with punches and kicks, exploding hamburgers, and other silly attacks.  Defeated enemies just disappear in a puff of smoke, and if the heroes lose all their energy, they just fall over on their backs.  Reading skill isn’t needed, as most of the instructions have spoken voice.  Some younger players may have trouble with the tougher enemies, like the swatting spatulas that pack quite a wallop.  But if you’re OK with your kids watching the TV show and movies, they’ll be OK with the game, too.

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