SpongeBob Squrepants is ready to take on Bikini Bottom in his very own physics-based puzzle game. Are you ready? (Proper response: “I’m ready! I’m ready!”)
SpongeBob Squarepants has been on the air for over 12 years, which is remarkable longevity for a kids’ show. The little sponge who’s best known for living in a pineapple under the sea still manages to thrill his young audience by frying up random adventures alongside dozens of Krabby Patties. In other words, you never know what you’re going to get when you sit down with Mr. Squarepants.
SpongeBob’s Super Bouncy Fun Time (hereafter referred to as “SSBFT” for the sake of the writer’s sanity) will likewise knock you for a loop. Oh, sure, you think you’re merely downloading an Angry Birds-type game that features SpongeBob and his friends instead of a bunch of irritated fowl, but as soon as you clap your eyes on the SSBFT’s title screen, you will think, “Oh dear. What have I gotten myself into?”
That’s because the graphics in SSBFT are rendered in a chibi anime style. On his own, SpongeBob is kind of cute, or about as cute as a slimy, brainless undersea creature is capable of being. When outfitted with an anime aesthetic, though, SpongeBob will give you cavities. And then he’ll give those cavities diabetes. In other words, SSBFT will make you go “Squee!”
Happily, SSBFT has some solid mechanics to back up its cutesy visuals, since it plays like a combination of Angry Birds and the arcade classic Breakout. SpongeBob sets out to catch jellyfish in dozens of levels scattered across five different locales. Curiously, to “catch” the jellyfish, he shoots them down with a gun-like object (hmmm).
Spongebob, meet Peggle.
Either way, your goal is to shoot every jellyfish in a each level using a pre-set number of balls. Several obstacles get in your way, including breakaway walls, barrels and bowling balls (which can be tipped over to smack the jellyfish), and wildlife (Sea Bears!). Offing jellyfish will net you coins, which you can use to buy power-ups if you’re having a particularly rough time in a level. The better you do at clearing a level, the more stars you earn. Standard stuff, but setting off a chain of destruction is still enormously satisfying.
SSBFT’s adorable visuals and relatively easy-going gameplay make it an obvious choice for younger players (which are presumably still the core of SpongeBob’s fanbase), though older players will still enjoy themselves no matter how many times they tell themselves that happiness and sunshine are stupid. In fact, older players may want to help out the tykes at times, because SSBFT has one big flaw: slinging a ball at the jellyfish requires you to pull your finger out rather than in (as is the case with Angry Birds) which, in turn, can make it difficult to lob a good, strong shot at the top of the screen.
Otherwise, SSBFT isn’t an especially original game, but it’s fun, it’s cute, and it’s full of jelly. If you’re at all affectionate about SpongeBob Squarepants, make sure you pick it up. Just don’t turn your back on anime Patrick. He will swallow your soul.