SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge Review
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants! For those unfamiliar with the animated television series, the programme follows the exploits and adventures of the overly-optimistic sponge and friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom.
Spongebob Squarepants has had a number of outings on the Xbox 360, with Truth or Square and Surf and Skate Roadtrip in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
In the gang’s latest outing, Plankton’s Robotic Revenge, Plankton (the main antagonist) has stolen the Krabby Patty formula with the use of his giant robot. It’s up to Spongebob and friends to retrieve the formula.
Players are able to progress through the campaign with Spongebob, Sandy, Patrick, Squidward or Mr. Krabs. While there are no differences in the gameplay between each of the characters, having the option to choose between them is an implementation that will go down well with fans of the television programme.
Enemies in the game come in the form of robots, sent by Plankton to prevent the protagonist from progressing. There are a number of enemy types, which players fend off using Gizmos (better known as weapons). The Gizmos include a Pickle Blaster, an Exploding Pie Launcher, Portable Tartar Sauce, Neptuning Fork and more, each of which has slightly different features. As you can tell by their names, these are the type of weapons you would expect to see in the world of Spongebob Squarepants – a nice touch to the game.
Defeated enemies drop sprockets, which can be used to upgrade Gizmos through the in-game computer. Each Gizmo has three upgrades, which range from an increased rate of fire to damage or stronger ammunition. While it’s not a new or innovative feature in video games, it’s a welcome implementation.
In terms of multiplayer, Plankton’s Robotic Revenge contains support for up to four players locally. Gamers share the same screen (similarly to how the LEGO game series works) and can drop in and drop out as they please. With the exception of being able to revive allies, there are no differences between the single player and multiplayer campaigns. Nevertheless, the multiplayer system works well and is another welcome inclusion.
From a development point of view, the opening and closing cutscenes are to a very high standard, almost to the same level as the television programme. To further blur the lines between the programme and the video game, the same voice actors have been used, including Tom Kenny as Spongebob and Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick.
One of the game’s biggest problems is the length of the campaign, which can be completed within a few hours. To make matters worse, there are no difficulty settings to make the gameplay easier or harder and the puzzles are far too easy, even for younger players.
Plankton’s Robotic Revenge doesn’t provide any rewards for fully upgrading Gizmos, with the exception of achievements… but even achievement junkies may pass on this one. Obtaining the full GamerScore on offer requires the campaign to be completed with every character. Whereas it wouldn’t take too long, the campaign is extremely tedious and the storyline has no depth (which comes as a surprise for a game based underwater).
It gets worse. One of the most-loved features of the television programme is its humour, something which the game fails to incorporate. The lack of laugh out loud moments is disappointing and their exclusion is very noticeable throughout.
Despite the opening and closing cutscenes being to a very high standard, the graphics are fairly poor overall. The poor lip-syncing, bland texturing, looping soundtrack and repetitive sayings from the characters make it hard for gamers to fall in love with Spongebob’s latest video game outing.
Overall, Spongebob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge is somewhat average. The game shows a lot of promise with the real voice actors and two cutscenes, which are to a very high standard – almost identical to the cartoon. However, the developers have failed to truly capture the world portrayed in the television programme.
While younger gamers may be more forgiving, the very repetitive nature of Plankton’s Robotic Revenge will fail to grab their attention for long. This is one for massive fans of the show and, even then, they may have to think twice.