SpongeBob SquigglePants (Nintendo 3DS) - Review by Andrew



There're two things that both amaze and baffle me regarding SpongeBob SquarePants. Firstly, at a time when most TV programs struggle to get past the first season, SpongeBob has managed to stay on our screens for over twelve years now. The other is the incredible amount of games that have been developed in his honor and even Nintendo platforms have seen around a dozen such outings. Now, I'm in no way implying that I'm not partial to spending a little time at Bikini Bottom and the loveable characters mixed with the bizarre storylines are always entertaining. SquigglePants is the first title for SpongeBob on the 3DS but the handful of initial screenshots, we received, did little to explain what the game was actually about. Like the other DS, GBA and Wii SpongeBob titles, you know it's going to be a little 'off the wall' but what's going on this time around?


If you've ever played Wario-Ware before then you're going to be instantly at home with this game and the objet here is to 'survive' a collection of frenetic nano-games. The term nano (as opposed to mini) is probably a more apt way to describe these challenges with each one lasting around 5 seconds or so. Every nano-games is proceeded with a single instruction such as Tap, Drag, Draw and even Tilt. It's then up to you to work out what to do and you'll occasionally be completely baffled by what's on the screen. Others are far more obvious but it's the constant bombardment, mixed with the increasing speed, which really builds up the pressure. There're a hundred challenges to tackle in total with a few bonus mini-games unlocked should you be successful. After all this is over you can opt to beat your high scores but this does little to help the games replay value. The developers have also included a rather simple Art Studio featuring a variety of character stamps, effects and brushes. We're not entirely sure why this is here other than to fill space but don't expect to spend too much time with it.


Unlike most other mini-game (or nano-game) collections the inputs are not just based around the touch-screen and there's a whole section here that relies on the circle pad. We do have to point out though that this makes some of the games a lot more challenging but it's a nice addition anyway.


SquigglePants features an impressive collection of visual styles and if you can imagine the SpongeBob character given to a collection of cutting edge artists: this would be the result. This includes a wonderful tribute to Punk, a Psychedelic section, a charming Hand-drawn world and even a selection of pixel heavy 8-Bit games. It's refreshing to see this type of artistic freedom, especially given just how established SpongeBob is. There's also a fair bit of FMV featuring Patchy the Pirate, who introduces the various sections, although you will find yourself skipping these very quickly indeed.


While you wont be able to sing along to the classic theme tune there are a few tracks included which at least fit the games overall theme. The soundtracks most important job here is to speed up the gameplay whilst also applying extra pressure to you, and in that respect, it does an incredible job.

Special features

Probably due to the huge amount of visual styles, the 3D effect isn't always apparent and while some games have an obvious depth to them, others remain a little flat, even with the 3D slider on full. To be fair this isn't essential to the majority of the games and most of them are over so quickly there's little time to actually enjoy the graphics anyway. There're also a handful of games here, which feature the Gyroscope challenging you to 'slide' objects into various parts of the screen. This is one of the simpler uses for the Gyroscope we've seen but it will still keep you on your toes, which is the whole point of the game really.

Final comments

SpongeBob SquigglePants is a welcome addition to the growing 3DS library perfectly filling the 'mini-game collection' gap: something the DS a huge amount of. Ok, so it's not terribly original and the whole structure of the game is simply copied from the blueprint left by the excellent WarioWare games. Repetition is a problems and you're likely to unlock all the various games in only a few hours and don't even get us on to the pointless Art Studio which really doesn't belong here at all. It's still all very enjoyable and in keeping with the manic, fun-loving SpongeBob ethos and definitely comes recommended for all those games that have a few minutes (or nano-seconds) to fill.

Pro: Some Great Nano-Games and Art Styles.
Con: Pointless Art Studio, Not Enough Replay Value.
Final score: 7.7


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Boxart of SpongeBob SquigglePants (Nintendo 3DS)
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Action / Adventure
Publisher: THQ