SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
Reviewed by Michelle Brenner
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-02-03 Wii Action/Adventure E (Everyone) THQ / Blitz Games

The recent phenomenon known as SpongeBob SquarePants has reached all aspects of kid life. You can get SpongeBob pajamas, SpongeBob bandaids, SpongeBob pencils and an infinite array of other SpongeBob products available to make every child whine in a department store. The newest item in SpongeBob-mania is the video game entitled SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab. This creative take on the SpongeBob world falls slightly short of its expectations. Let's just say I would prefer the pajamas...

The story starts with Sponge Bob sleep-driving. When he awakes, he discovers he has won a race and earned his license to drive! The game then turns into a platformer where you learn how to turn winches, pound the ground and speed run to get the license back from the water current that has taken it away.

Once you complete the training level you are taken back into the races. These basic moves are the same throughout the game, even as you play as different characters. This first section of the game rotates between racer and platformer numerous times before SpongeBob falls ominously off of a cliff and the next character is introduced. Much of the rest of the story line eludes me, so I won't try to explain it. The world is much like that of the cartoon, as it is strange and very hard to follow the jumpy plot line. One moment you are racing and the next you are playing as a new character with no connection between the two. The purpose of the game seems to be waking up the characters from these dreams.

The game box notes that there are eight special worlds in the game, and by the time I got through the first two, I knew that it was going to be a little painful. The game has various game styles: from racing to side scrolling, flying to platforming with a few interesting twists on each. The problem is that each type of gameplay is drawn out and fairly uninteresting after the first few minutes. One of the more interesting sections was when SpongeBob had to escape from the inside of a worm. There are a few simple levels inside the worm and as soon as you find the plane to escape with, you are given the task to collect items to make the plane fly. Why not just let us fly the plane already? Even then, the flying of the plane is enjoyable but long and drawn out.

The graphics in the game vary with each new level. The initial racing level had a unique cel-shaded feel that I enjoyed, and the characters were generally very cute and well done. SpongeBob actually starts out kind of cute and squishy looking and as he becomes a racecar driver he gets this scary evil SpongeBob face, which is a great little detail. On the flip side, the backgrounds in the game are very simplistic and not thought out well enough. Most of the game does not even seem like it is underwater, which is one of the things that could have made it most fun and unique for the Wii controller.

The simplistic gameplay and basic graphics could have made for a very good kids game, however the kids that I played with said that it did not seem like the SpongeBob world. They said, "I didn't think it was all that SpongeBob-ish." They were also annoyed by the repetitive sayings throughout much of the game. We must have heard "Bikini Bottom sure looks good today", "Fast as lightning", and "My goodness, you're becoming one of my best pupils!" a hundred times during the first hour of gameplay.

One other thing that kind of bothered me throughout the game was the massive amounts of miscellaneous and seemingly pointless collectibles. For instance, there are these circular Z's to be collected throughout the racing and platform parts of the game that didn't really do anything except count how many yousve collected. Even the things that are collected to upgrade throughout the game are really never explained or understood.

Overall, the concept of SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab is excellent. The idea of a game based in the SpongeBob world with various game styles to be played throughout has a lot of potential. Even the concept of making it simplistic for kids to enjoy would be a good idea. The problem comes in the execution. The graphics are not matched well to the world of the cartoon, and the gameplay becomes too repetitive to be enjoyable. Unfortunately, this game is the one disappointment in THQ's fantastic new lineup for the Wii.

Special thanks to Karen Fujimoto and THQ for providing a copy of this title.